They say that to fully recover from a breakup, you either need to replace your boyfriend, hang out with your friends, or get wasted on alcohol. Because I have a busy career and only a few pals, I chose to get sloshed on alcohol. Lots of alcohol. I would usually drink a bottle of scotch each night in my room, where I would either cry, puke, or pass out. Last night was a combination of the three.
I woke up this morning with a massive hangover. I was tempted to skip work but I had deadlines so I managed to get up, take a shower and put something on. I was so out of it that I didn’t even bother checking what I was wearing. And to think I work at a fashion magazine.
It’s been a week since Alvin left me but I am still wounded. I’m not sure if it’s something I would recover from – ever. I always thought this was The One. I’m ashamed to admit it, but we already planned for our future, including living together and raising a child. I know this is something I would laugh about when I move on, but until then, I spent my waking time drinking and trying to forget.
I entered the office and quickly made my way towards my desk, hoping no one would notice that I was wearing mismatched clothes. I sat down and I think I zoned out because the next thing I knew, Andy was staring at me over my monitor.
“What’s the story, morning glory?” he said cheerfully. Andy is the art director and I must say, my closest friend in the office. I smiled weakly but did not say anything.
“I heard about you and Alvin,” he whispered.
I’m not sure how he knew since I didn’t tell anyone, but it was probably because I was showing erratic behavior at work: I came in late, looked like a wreck, and zoned out frequently. A few days ago, a photographer found me spaced out on the restroom floor.
“Yeah, well, shit happens,” I muttered.
“Have dinner with me tonight,” he said and smiled. He gave me a small pat on my head and left.
I started writing a review on a play I watched that was supposed to be the next big thing. I wasn’t convinced because I spent half the time passed out and the other time wondering where the hell I was. I strung a few sentences together and I’m not sure where time went because Andy was back at my desk, looking at me expectantly. It was already 7PM.
“Hey, I’m sorry but I don’t think I can join you,” I said sheepishly. “I have to finish all these articles tonight.”
“Don’t be ridiculous. Since when have you cared what Kirsten thought?” he said as he dragged me to the elevator. Kirsten was my editor and was known as satan-in-heels. But everybody still loved her because she got things done.
To my surprise, Andy brought me to a Jollibee near the office. I was expecting him to bring me to one of the hip, new restaurants, but he just said “Hey, you need comfort. And nothing brings more comfort than a Chickenjoy.”
Over dinner, I told him everything. Because I was a loner, I had a lot of baggage to unload. We didn’t say much after. Andy knew everything. He knew how Alvin and I fought over our differences in taste, preferences, and careers. Alvin didn’t seem to understand that I loved working in publishing. He didn’t know the thrill of rushing deadlines, meeting celebrities, and writing compelling pieces that moved millions of readers. Our magazine is the result of hours of blood, sweat, and tears, and is just as fulfilling as being a banker. Alvin didn’t seem to grasp that not everyone had to lead convential 9-5 jobs. But Andy did.
Andy is one of the most charming and understanding people in the world. He only had to look at my miserable face to know that something was up, and he would take me out to dinner, to an exhibit, or a movie. He’s the kind of guy you’d easily feel comfortable with, and he managed to win me over despite my trust issues. I think he’s the type of guy I’d want to date if I weren’t with Alvin. Too bad he’s Kirsten’s boyfriend.
After dinner, Andy offered to drive me home. When we reached my apartment, we spent a few moments just looking at each other, in silence, appreciating the intimacy and the bond we shared. I felt a small tingle and I think he saw that because he smiled. I gave him a brief hug and got down.
That night, I thought about how strange my relationship was with Andy. I tried not to think about it but I remembered that tingle when he drove me home. Was I falling for him? I brushed the idea off, telling myself that Andy is straight and is happy with Kirsten.
Later, I realized what that tingle was. It was the happiness of having a friend when I needed one. It was the exhilarating experience of unloading my baggage to someone who cares, listens, and whose presence is comforting. And I’m glad it was Andy, who made me feel that I’m not alone, that everything will be better. I suddenly missed my family in Cebu.
It may sound corny, but friends are support groups who can listen and be there for you at your most trying of times. We all need those people we can fall back and tell us that what we’re wearing looks like shit, but that it doesn’t make you any less fabulous. And while I still feel lonely in a city of half a million, it’s still reassuring to know that I have Andy. And sometimes, one is all you really need.
After I showered, I was holding my half-finished bottle of Scotch. I was hanging out with it so much that I gave it a name, Scotty XII (I had already consumed the last 11 Scottys), and called it my best friend. I thought about what happened tonight, about how Andy showed me friendship.
“Looks like I’m not going to need you any more,” I said to Scotty as I threw him in the trash can.