For any of you who have followed my sad tale from the beginning, you’ll agree with me—it was a complete impossibility that I would ever find myself canoodling with Brian in front of all of our friends on a beautifully sunny end-of-summer afternoon. Maybe because I’m prone to using words like “canoodling”…
As Mark promised, he gave me the entire day off to help Chlo get ready. Who knew turning 28 took such preparations. I arrived at , and by we had strung floral garland around the backyard’s fence, adorned dozens of cups with paper umbrellas, and frosted a pineapple and walnut cake. The guy with the pig arrived, and initiated what would be a lingering smell of bacon in the neighborhood for days to come. By the time the musicians arrived, at , we were on our second batch of punch, and eagerly awaiting the guests.
“You’re going to wimp out,” Chlo said, as we lounged in the backyard listening to the musicians warm up.
“Yeah, usually I’d agree with you, but Brian actually seems interested. He texts me almost every day. He puts his arm around me whenever we hang out. It’s not that I’m suddenly so self-confident, it’s just that I’m usually pretty good at detecting it when someone doesn’t like me.”
“Yeah, but what’s his problem then? It’s great that he’s put his arm around you, but what’s stopping him from making his move?”
“I don’t know. If you’re such a genius when it comes to guys, you tell me.”
“Hardly. Maybe you haven’t noticed, as you’ve been a little wrapped up in yourself, but lately I haven’t exactly been striking it rich when it comes to guys.”
The b-day fest was turning into a bitch fest. I had been totally self-involved lately, and Chlo hadn’t complained once. And here I was making it all about myself, again, on her birthday.
“Well, look out for a guy named Eric. He’s not a musician, an actor, or a lawyer, so that’s a good start.”
Mark and Joan walked into the backyard, and the musicians started playing. After that, it was a steady stream of arrivals.
Eric helped me track down the perfect present for Chlo—an original sketch from the first season of The Simpsons, signed by Matt Groening, a good friend of Eric’s. I asked him to bring it with him, giving me the perfect opportunity to introduce them. And, as predicted, Chlo kept Eric at her side the rest of the night, being funny, and inclusive, introducing him to everyone, making him feel like an instant part of the group—showing the warmth that makes it impossible not to love her.
I was happy watching my matchmaking in action, but starting to worry about Brian. It was three hours since the party had started and there was no sign of him. I texted him, “um, hello? M.I.A…”
He wrote right back, “sorry. on my way. will explain.”
Oh no…explain what? I quickly found Mark and Joan and showed the text to them. I was wondering, in the world of rational people, what does this mean?
“You need to stop idealizing Brian, and just talk to him. You’ve liked him since forever, so get it over what. You have nothing to lose,” Mark said.
Joan continued, “It seems like you’re torturing yourself, hanging out with him, but nothing ever happening. Now he’s late to your best friend’s birthday. It seems like you need to see if you can take things to the next level, or just move on.”
Funny how I had to start a blog to have you all tell me the exact same thing my brother and his girlfriend have been thinking all along.
By the time Brian finally arrived, the roasted pig was nothing but a spit turning over embers. He headed for Chlo, waiving at me from across the room, and handed her a present.
I headed to the cooler for another drink, and as I turned around Brian startled me.
“Cece, I’m really sorry I’m late. But there’s something I need to talk to you about.”
Brian spent the next half hour telling me about his ex-girlfriend. They’d been together for three years and then, seemingly out of nowhere, she picked up and moved across the country. She wanted to stay together, doing the long distance thing, but Brian was so put off by her impetuous departure that he officially ended things over the phone. Well, she moved back and wanted to start things up again. Brian had been spending time with her over the last few months, seeing if it was possible to pick things up where they left off. Of course, this was the same period of time in which he’d been spending time with me, cuddling, but never making a move.
“And the points of all this?” I asked, feeling like we were playing out Pretty in Pink gender reversals, me playing Duckie to his Andie.
“So, it took me a little longer than I thought. But I wanted to officially end things with her before I saw you again.”
And then he kissed me. With the sound of Mariachi and the smell of bacon permeating the yard, the boy I’d longest and most admired, kissed me. And it was better than I ever could have thought. We spent the rest of the night dancing, laughing, and, yes, canoodling.
Oh glee, perfection, and peace of mind—how shallow you are. It was a mere seven hours until I woke to a pit of dread in my stomach. Ex-girlfriend? Who was she? I was dying to know.