Single In The Suburbs, Installment 39

Her new guy says he’s going to make a clean break from his ex for real this time…Can he be trusted to do so?

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n our last installment, our writer learned that her new guy, Kevin, hadn’t fully severed ties to his last girlfriend. He says he’s going to do so…now. Will he make good on that promise? Find out here.

Thursday, 8:13 p.m.
It’s movie night with Molly and another example of how reality doesn’t quite stack up to my fantasy. The way I’d envisioned it, we’d be cuddled up together on the couch, watching The Princess Bride, sharing a big bowl of popcorn. In reality, I’m alone on the couch and my
Still no word from Kevin. Nothing. I’m going home.
daughter is in the wingback chair, one eye on the TV, the other eye on her Sidekick, a kind of BlackBerry for the younger generation. I’m watching the movie while she’s chatting with friends. I hear doors creaking open and slamming shut, signals that my daughter’s chat buddies are logging on and logging off. It’s distracting. And not a lot of fun for me.

I ask Molly if she’d rather we save the movie for another time. She says, “Of course not. I love our special time together. I hardly ever get to do this with you.”

I want to say, “Do what? IM your friends while I sit alone on the couch when I could be out on a date?” but I resist the temptation. I decide to take a cultural-relativist approach. In my daughter’s culture, IM is simply a given, like air, or light. In her world, we are sharing special time together. I try to see it her way.

I smile at Molly and offer her the bowl of popcorn.

“I love this movie,” she says, taking a handful.

“Me, too.”

Friday, 9 a.m.
I’m still home, ironing a shirt and enjoying a second cup of coffee. Yes, I realize I’ll be late. But what are they going to do? Fire me?

Friday, 10:15 a.m.
There’s not much to do now that I’ve submitted my resignation. Brenda McAleer has taken the lead on a couple of projects that would have been mine. As I write this, she and the marketing committee are meeting in the conference room to plan the next newsletter. I saw her as I walked in this morning, her stupid little blond head bobbing frantically as she talked. God, how I hate her.

I really hope I stop hating Brenda McAleer once I’m officially away from her. My resentment toward her is poisonous. I can almost feel it eroding my intestines.

Friday, 2 p.m.
By my calculations, Miss Seattle is at Kevin’s house. I wonder if he has told her yet. I
Am I paranoid? Is he washing her scent off in the shower?
know it’s hard to be dumped, but it’s also hard to do the dumping. If there was ever a time to be a fly on the wall, this is it. I am dying to know what’s going on.

Maybe he’ll call. Or text me.

I turn up the volume on my cell phone and slide it into my pocket. Just in case.

Friday, 2:15 p.m.
I think my cell phone is ringing but it turns out I’ve imagined it. It’s just the jangly guitar music on the radio in Brenda’s office.

Friday, 3 p.m.
Still no word from Kevin.

Friday, 4:20 p.m.
Still nothing. I’m going home.

Friday, 5:50 p.m.
I’m home now. The house is empty. Molly is with Craig for the weekend, and Kevin is (hopefully) breaking up with his girlfriend. What am I going to do with myself? Here’s where it would be handy to have a few single friends but, for all their complaining about their rotten husbands, my friends remain married. I find this irritating.

Friday, 5:55 p.m.
I glance out the living room window and see my neighbor, Karen, walking down the street with her dog, a scruffy little terrier named Wally. I’ve always liked Karen, even though I barely know her. She once told me that she’s been “happily divorced” for three years and feels no compulsion to date, let alone remarry. I’m mystified and slightly in awe of her.

I decide to do something completely out of character. I hitch one of my dogs to his leash, step outside, and call out to Karen. I suggest we walk together. She accepts the offer and we circle our sterile neighborhood three times, long enough to share a few dating horror stories. I tell her about Kevin. We’re bonding. I think I may have finally made friends with another single woman. Yay.

Friday, 7 p.m.
Still haven’t heard from Kevin. How long does it take to break up with someone? I’m beginning to worry.

Friday, 11 p.m.
I awaken from a deep sleep to the cell phone, buzzing under my pillow. (I didn’t want to miss any calls). It’s Kevin.

“The deed is done,” he says.

“You broke up with her?”

“It was awful. I feel like a real bastard.”

“I’m sorry,” I tell him. I’m dying to ask whether they had break-up sex. Instead, I ask him whether he told her about us. He says he didn’t see any point in it, that it would be like adding insult to injury. I guess I understand.

I invite him to spend the night.

“Give me twenty minutes,” he says. “I just need to shower.”

Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I can’t help but wonder whether he’s washing away the scent of sex with Miss Seattle. I force myself to focus on the positive. He’s mine, now.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 40

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Would you buy someone a holiday gift that you've been dating for less than 6 months?

Yes, if I want the relationship to continue

Maybe, but only to avoid seeming rude

No, that's too early to exchange gifts

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