By Vanessa Wong
It was one of those moments that, when you break up with someone in a city like Honolulu, you darkly suspect is coming. You hope it doesn’t, and with every passing month that you don’t run into your ex-whatever, the more you think that maybe you’ll get lucky.
But everyone is always talking about how it’s such a small world, and we live on an island.
After seven months of avoiding him — that’s also after seven months of late nights and too many drinks — there he was, practically, literally, running into me outside of a bar that used to be our bar as Friday night turned into Saturday morning.
I had tipsily stumbled away from my friends to go outside and light a cigarette on the sidewalk, and there he was.
I think there had been five whiskey shots. I think. Whatever it was, it dulled the heart-in-your-throat feeling enough for me to ask him how he is because that’s what you’re supposed to do.
If this were a movie, this would be the point where we cue the movie montage: We meet at a bar, begin a passionate, intense relationship; he tells me he loves me; I fall in love; he, not so much; things end, only it doesn’t just stop, it’s more like it comes to a rattling, slow-burn death as I gradually learn that he has been cheating on me for the better part of two years.
And then, later, four months into what my friends now cutely refer to as my “downward spiral,” they suggested that I “go see someone,” which is really the euphemistic way they told me they wanted me to see a shrink.
Did it help? I don’t know. I talked about things. She told me what she thought they meant.
The thing I remember most is that she told me to read this book — which I can’t remember the name of. I didn’t want to actually read it, so every time I went to go see her, I would just have her tell me about it. Like CliffNotes.
Anyway, in this book, she says, it talks about how we have a part in everything that happens in our lives. (I mean, I don’t think everything, because, hello, victim-blaming much?) And something about how to look at your life by seeing your own part in it rather than as something that just happens to you.
I liked that.
But then things got a little cloudy for me when she told me about this other theory — where maybe things happen because in some way, on some level, we have manifested it by throwing that energy out into the universe.
So basically, what I am saying is, maybe none of this is real.
Vanessa Wong makes art, and your coffee, and studies anthropology.
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