“Despite your mistakes and flaws, walk like you have a tiara on your head”, reads the note that she had written to herself on a pink sticky note. As she puts on her coat and turns the light off, she glances at the pink sticky note by the light switch. Holding her head high, and slightly cringing at the grey piles of snow on the sidewalks, she walks down the steps of her apartment building. It’s mid-February. Chilly wind and snow do not belong in her world after Christmas, but it’s snuck its way there.
A month and half of the therapy has done her well. She has started to feel the same way about him as she feels about snow after Christmas. Since he had told her the day before Christmas, the Christmas/snow analogy has been working well for her. He didn’t belong in her life after Christmas.She had received an invitation to a charity dinner organized by a non-profit that her organization shared office space with. She didn’t say anything to her colleagues about the date they had picked for their event, but the critique in her immediately thought, “Who’s going to attend a charity dinner on Valentine’s Day? Don’t people already have tables reserved at fancy restaurants?”
The Red Dress
Two days before Christmas, she had bought a red dress for herself. Though Christmas shopping always overwhelmed her, she had managed to find her way through uncountable racks of red, green and white sparkly dresses to find one she liked. She didn’t buy the dress to wear it to Ann’s Christmas dinner, but she thought it would make a good Valentine’s dinner outfit. She still had to get a nice coat that went with the dress because February would still be chilly despite her dislike for the after-Christmas cold.Little did she know what was coming her way on Christmas Eve. She called Ann on Christmas morning to tell her she would not be able to make it to dinner that evening. Her voice after a full night of crying made Ann believe that Kavya had actually come down with the flu.
After Christmas, Kavya never missed a day of work. She would occasionally meet her best friend for lunch, but she never attended social events. Being an introvert, parties were already hard, but the idea of running into him and seeing him happy made it harder. She usually stayed home and did laundry on Friday nights. She had started reading more books, cooking more and kept up with TV shows better. Not seeing him made it easier for her, but ever so often she wondered if she had really not seen it coming or had she been blind the whole time?
She got home from work today and took a quick shower. Everyone had left work early. They either had dates or had to make it to the charity dinner. Kavya took the tag off the red dress she had bought two days before Christmas and wore it. She did her hair and make-up and for the first time in months, she remembered how much she loved dressing up. She put her hair up in a bun and decided to wear earrings instead of the diamond studs which she’d been wearing a lot recently. Her mom insisted that she keep the studs when Kavya had only asked to borrow them.
She went to the charity dinner expecting to see very few people, but when she entered the hall, she saw that they had a good turnout. She looked for her table and spotted her colleagues. She walked up to her table and exchanged compliments with her colleagues about how amazing everyone looked.The joy of being in the same city and having a similar profession as your significant other is that you get invited to a lot of the same events. But once they are your exes, these events aren’t that fun because you always risk running into them. Kavya looked around and it didn’t take her a minute to spot him in a grey suit. He looked happy. She looked away. Later when dinner was being served, Neal saw her talking to one of the organizers, smiling and holding a glass of red wine. She looked happy. He looked away.
Kavya had three glasses of wine by the end of the night. As she walked home the cold wind that hit her from behind felt nice. Her hair blew covering her face and she pushed it back feeling like a glamorous diva in a movie. The earring from her left ear fell out. She didn’t notice her earring fall and kept walking with her head held high like she had a tiara on her head.When she got to her apartment, she took off the heels that had been killing her feet. She reached her left ear to take off the earring, but it wasn’t there.
She felt through her long brown hair to see if it had fallen off but luckily gotten tangled in her curls. She couldn’t find it. As she held the earring on her right ear, she realized that tonight was the last time she wore her favorite earrings. Luckily it wasn’t her grandma’s pearls or her mother’s diamond studs she had lost. She had got the earing for about two bucks in an alleyway somewhere she doesn’t even remember. But they were her favorite pair.
When she was dressing up earlier in the evening, she didn’t know that it would be her last time wearing those earrings. Just like she didn’t know so many of her last with him were lasts. When he left her the day before Christmas, she felt just like she felt as she touched the earring in her right ear. It was the same feeling of emptiness. It was the same power of uncertainty that hit her.
As she took off her makeup that night, she wondered if she would have done anything differently had she known she was going to lose her earrings. The answer was no. Those earrings went so well with her dress that she still would have worn them. Would she have done anything differently if she knew he was going to leave on Christmas Eve? The answer was no again. But she went on asking herself the same question to which she still didn’t have answers: How did she not see it coming? Was she too blind? Was he a great actor?
She’ll never have the answers to these questions. But reader, I hope you find yours.