Monday, October 15, 2012

The Crumbled Cookie

I had a future bride put her 40 custom cookie order on hold earlier today. They were for next weekend, along with a platter of bride and groom chocolate dipped strawberries. I know this woman. She isn't just a referral. I've worked with her the last 8 years. I watched her as she navigated the singles scenes, I watched her start dating this guy, and proceed to break up and get back together several times over these last several years. I guess he finally got around to asking her.

Let me just set this up for you. On a scale from 1-10, this woman is a 20. She's tall, thin, beautiful, with blonde hair and bright blue eyes. She's gorgeous. This guy is maybe a high 4.

Anyway, that was relevant, whether you think so or not. So, she called to tell me she had to cancel her engagement party. She didn't sound well on the phone. In fact, she could have just texted me. She then said she wanted to pay me for the ingredients or the cost of whatever I've already bought by giving me half the money. If the party was back on in the future, I could consider it a deposit.

That's not my style. I told her not to worry about it, and to just let me know if they went through with the party at a future date. She kept insisting I take the money and I kept insisting that I didn't want it. It's about 7pm at this point, and I was ready for my Sunday night lineup. She kept pushing, saying that she was in my neighborhood and maybe we could go to a diner and she could pay me. Again, I'm not in the business of holding people's deposits, and I really didn't want to get dressed again to go out.

She finally broke down and said she wanted someone to talk to, and I've always been a reasonable headed person in the office and she would really appreciate it if I could step up and be a friend this evening.


So, I found myself at the Omega Diner (whoop-de-doo) sipping a hot cocoa and nibbling an overpriced grilled cheese and bacon. Wow. Talk about de ja vu! She ordered a BLT that she wasn't touching and a hot tea, and then a Jameson's on the rocks. (I almost went for her BLT but it was smothered in mayo.)

Well, I assumed this was about why her engagement party was called off. She caught her fiance with another woman. Not sleeping with the other woman. It was one of those things where she's been spending a lot of time in Mineola at her parent's house, planning the wedding and engagement party. Her fiance has been left in the city at their apartment in the Upper West Side, left to his own devices. To make a long story short, he said he was home working on stuff, and she found out he was out with another woman. I don't need to get in on the nitty-gritty, like she did for nearly an hour. That was the gist of it.

"Are you going to be okay?" What else could I ask her? I don't know her very well.
"No. Yeah. I don't know. I mean...I've waited so long to be married and now it's going to happen. My parents are elderly. I want my mother to see me married before she dies. That's the crux of it."
"But, you don't want to get married to the wrong guy just for that you?"

To me, this answer would be obvious. But, looking at her face, I don't think my obvious answer was the same as her obvious answer.

"I can get over this. I can. I'm just in shock right now."
"I don't want to be the devil's advocate or anything, but if he does it and gets away with it the first time he's caught, what's to stop him from doing it again if there are no consequences for his actions?"
"I didn't catch him in bed with someone else. He was just out...."

That's when I realized I was dealing with a future Stepford Wife. My buddy certainly fits the role. She's the perfect image of a beautiful, smart society wife. And her Irish immigrant parents expect her to be married to a good man with a fruitful job and breed more gorgeous blonde-haired and blue-eyed babies. That is the route her life was supposed to take. And then this happened. Something tells me that if she caught him after the whole wedding thing, it wouldn't be so bad. But here she is, struggling with a trust issue but knowing she's going to marry this guy anyway.

"Okay. Well, it seems to me that you have your mind made up. So you don't really need to know what I think about it, and it shouldn't matter anyway. It's between you and him. Are you going to be alright with your decision?"

I think I hit the nerve. She just stared at me. She started tearing up again, and I've never seen a woman cry pretty before like she did. I mean, her big blue eyes watered up like large animation eyes, and perfectly clear, round tears started to roll down her cheeks, not messing up her make up and leaving the most flawless trail of tears. I was mesmerized, to be honest. And I was also irritated, because it felt like I was wasting time. I wanted to get home to watch the Season Premier of The Walking Dead. This woman already knows what she wants to do. So, what the hell was I doing there?

Admittedly, this could have gone very wrong.

"Look, S," I started with no empathy whatsoever in my tone. "I think you're going to marry him despite what happened this weekend. I don't know either one of you well enough to say if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I can see you're not done with him. All I have to tell you is that no matter what choice you make, just be sure you can live with it. And I don't mean that in any ominous way. I just mean that you need to be able to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and be okay with the person looking back at you."

She started picking at her BLT, much to my consternation. I had already finished my hot cocoa and grilled cheese, and I was still a little hungry, but not hungry enough to really order anything else. I opted to just steal her pickle instead and she seemed fine with it. Why let a perfectly good pickle go to waste, right?

"You think I can do that?"
"Do what?" I completely lost my train of thought. What did I tell her she needed to do?
"You know, get back together with him and be okay with myself for doing it?"
"I don't know. No one can answer that but you. But, let me just tell you from experience that you can't force a bagel into a pop-up toaster. Maybe you can mush it down and shove it in there, but you're not going to like what comes out IF it can even pop out when it's done. I've broken up and gotten back together with men all because it hurt too much to let them go, even if it was the right thing to do. And the story always ends the same way. I'm just saying that whatever decision you make, you need to be okay with it for yourself and your life. Whatever your priorities are, and I'm not judging, but you need to make sure your decision follows your priorities."
"Like, maybe crawl into my comforter for a couple of weeks and cry it out, then come out reborn like a butterfly?"

I tried not to let the grimace on my face look too obvious because her example seemed to perk her up. I'm not big on butterfly metaphors and I don't get why women love them so much, but I wasn't going to argue. If that's what she felt like, then I wasn't going to search my mental references to find a simile for something I preferred.

"I don't think that's a good idea. If you're feeling strong now and you can make a choice you're happy with, then why purge yourself into the whole depression thing? If you can skip that, I suggest that you do. I'm gonna quote Finnick Odair right now and say 'It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together then it does to fall apart.'"

With that, I also slid her cole slaw towards me and started on that. I wasn't impressed with the cole slaw, but it was just what I needed to finish my meal. I looked up at her and she gave me a blank stare.

"Who's Finnick Odair? Does he work with us? Is he Irish?"
"No, dude. He's from District 4." I started cracking up. "The Hunger Games. He doesn't come in until Catching Fire. Anyway, if you need to clear your head, it's a good series to read. It's a fitting quote....for you, I mean. If you don't need to fall apart, then don't. Like a house of cards. It takes hours and hours to put one up, and it takes one second to send it crashing down, and it will take hours and hours to put it back up. If your house isn't demolished, then don't bring it down. Don't let yourself crash down to that ugly place. It's a hard pit to climb out of."
"Oh. I'll get it for my kindle. Thank you, Katherine. You're a lot wiser than you let on at work."

Well, hell! If that wasn't a backhanded compliment, I don't know what was! If I was such a non-wise person, why did she drag me out of my warm bedroom and fuzzy pj's to come out into the cold night, into a mediocre diner to sit there and tell her she should do what ever she wanted to?

Either way, she looked a hell of a lot better and she wolfed down her BLT, her tea, and then her Jamesons with melted iced. She made the waiter bring her another cole slaw and pickle since I ate hers. She was kind enough not to bitch about it. Since she's pretty, they brought it out for her in record time without any fuss.

I have a feeling she's going to tell me her party is back on. So much for crumbled cookies. I think her cookies are going to be just fine, and her dude will throw some extra frosting on there just to sweeten the deal. I think her fiance is a really lucky guy. She can do so much better than this douchebag, but who knows why women do the things they do?

Anyway, thank you to Suzanne Collins for writing such awesome words!

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together then it does to fall apart."
~Finnick Odair, Catching Fire


  1. Wow... I'm sorry for your friend. I think she's going to regret her decision. Did you get home in time to watch our show?

    1. I think she's going to turn a blind eye to all the things this man is going to do, and as long as she's married with a swanky apartment and beautiful children, then she won't care what he does as long as he doesn't make her look like a fool. If it were me, I couldn't live with that, but her priorities are a lot different.

      YES! I made it back just in time to see it and then I stayed up late watching all the stuff I dvr'd! OMG---I'm liking the new Ricktatorship!!

    2. I think that if that were my situation, as much as I love my fella, I'd have to end it. Not that my fella would do that to me, but if he did, I'd have to end it.

      I'm not proud of it, but I've been the "other woman" once. It felt horrible. It was wrong and terrible and i only did it because I was on some awful vengeful kick to get this awful coworker crush out of my head and my heart. Oh wow, that was six years ago now. I'm.sooo glad I stopped my situation as quickly as it began. I'm in a MUCH better place.

      YaY! I'm.glad you got home in time. I too, love the new Ricktatorship. :D

    3. It's not something I think I could live with, either. Turning a blind eye to something in exchange for the life I think I should theory sounds easy, but I don't think it really is.

      As far as being the other woman, it's not a trophy I'd put on my shelf or a plaque I'd hang on my wall or anything. It's just part of my past. It's how Joel and I started. I'm not going to lie and re-write that part just so I come out vanilla on the other end. And even though we made it through 5 years together, it was never something that went away. And at the end of it- he's STILL married to his wife (both of them now with other people) but she's going to go to her grave knowing that man will NEVER marry anyone else. It's not how I would want to end up- some common law bitch to a man who couldn't disentangle himself from his past. And even though he's with his new lady, he still tried to get back with me. So, sometimes that adage is true- Once a cheater, always a cheater.

      Some people just don't know how to stop stalking their exes. ;-)

  2. Uh...are YOU judging HER for taking back the cheater?

    1. Whoa, nice and snarky of you, Josh!

      To answer your question; NO. I'm not judging her for the decision she's making. The point I was trying to make was that this was something SHE wanted and not something she was doing to keep her social status and just to make her family happy.

      I'm coming from a place of doing and saying things that I necessarily didn't want to do in order to keep things status quo or to keep things familiar or normal for me. I wasn't looking down at her for her thought process. She obviously had reservations if she called me out to have a bite at a diner when the last time I went to happy hour with her is almost a year ago. I didn't even know she went to diners!

      My priorities now are not the same as my priorities 12 years ago when I was getting married or 8 years ago when I was getting divorced or even 4 years ago when I was speeding into my 30's. Our focus in life changes as life changes around us. I don't know what choices I would make 3 years from now when I'm her age. All I was trying to do was point out that whatever she decides, she should make sure it's what she wants and not what she THINKS she should want.

    2. I wasn't really trying to be nasty.