Friday nights are the hardest.They always have been, I guess: Caught in limbo between the work week and weekend, I rarely have the energy to do much more than pass out in front of the TV with some cheap takeout and go to sleep early.
Since the breakup, I’ve flitted from place to place, event to event, friend to friend. Monday through Friday, I’m out of bed before the sun makes it over the high rises along the lakeshore, make the hour-long trek to the suburbs to be at my desk with a coffee by 8 a.m. I’m lucky if I accomplish much of anything as a drone in my 9 to 5, but I’m queen bee after hours. Earlier in the week, I found myself at theWit hotel in the Loop after work, snacking on handmade cupcakes and sipping champagne with 250 of my Twitter contacts. My idea of a quiet evening was rushing from the train station to therapy and back home in time to share Thai takeout on a friend’s patio, sipping white wine mixed with Pellegrino to stretch out the bottle and our tolerance, airing our respective grievances about the opposite sex.
If I’m not already nodding off on my final journey homeward, I fall into bed before my moisturizer can even sink into my face, blissfully dead to the world before my head hits the pillow. Then I get up and do it again.
Weekends are more of the same, a flurry of friends and food and signed credit card slips. More sleep but often less actual rest. It’s like I don’t remember how just to sit and…be.
It’s how I operate. I distract myself from the pain and the stress, try to trick my body and heart into thinking I’m fine.
And for the most part, I am. Fine. Better than fine, even. My tiny new apartment, my artsy neighbors, my busy, friend-filled life…they suit me. Being single again suits me.
There was a time, not too long ago, when I relished these Friday nights in. When I could sit and watch TV, make a batch of cookie dough and eat it out of the mixing bowl, run around in my pajama pants and listen from bed to the doors of my building opening and closing. The courtyard echoed with social chatter and, later, the stumbling whoops of my drunken fellow residents.
Not now. Not lately. Fridays are the worst.
Now, on Fridays, the interstitial not-finenesses — all the little things that irk me about being on my own, all the little things I miss about him — catch up with me. And I don’t have the energy to fight it, so I let it wash over me. Last week, I made myself a big dinner, plopped down in front of the Food Network — maybe the Cooking Channel, not that the two are any different — and shoveled pasta, Italian sausage and freshly sautéed spinach into my mouth, without thinking and mostly without tasting. I ate until I was stuffed, until I couldn't move.
I flipped through the channels listlessly. My usual channels of obsessive communication fall quiet on Fridays. I texted a friend looking for sympathy; she offered none. I burst into tears on the sofa and retreated to bed before 10.
Being single does suit me. Really. Being alone? That's another thing entirely.
"You can't play the hero and the victim," he told me, as things fell apart for the last time. Well, guess what: Here I am, doing just that. Look at me, being all human.