Break-up Lo Mein

I went to 'our place' today. It's nothing special, just your typical upscale Chinese restaurant chain with fancy décor paid for with an overpriced menu. Although I'd been there twenty times before, this visit marked the first since my split from him.

It's been months since our relationship ended. During this time, I've stepped up my job performance, rediscovered forgotten hobbies, dated new people, and worked out even harder at the gym. Though my mind still occasionally drifts back to sweet memories of intimate moments with him, it only takes a few seconds to remember just how dearly I paid for those recollections. And his name, which once brought me such warm feelings, now leaves me cold. I told myself that these were signs that I have finally moved past him.

But, here I sit, staring at the menu items and realizing, like a slow boat to China, I haven't moved that far. I see his favorite items listed, Kung Pao chicken and lettuce wraps. I won't be ordering those today. Instead, I'll sample a Mai Tai, Kamikaze, or anything else that might help fade these memories.

I unroll my clothe napkin and set the utensils in front of me. He always used a fork, while I insisted on chopsticks. We were so different. At one time I believed that our differences made us better somehow, like the perfectly balanced sweet and sour pork. In reality, our differences only made the relationship difficult. As a result, I never really knew him. Understanding his feelings and thoughts was about as easy as reading Chinese characters.

Suddenly, the waiter appears.

"Will anyone be joining you today?" he asks.
"No, but thanks for asking," I say sarcastically.

He pretends not to notice my disdain and immediately launches into the daily specials. I'm not listening. Instead I wonder if a woman eating alone looks as pathetic as it feels. I always bring a book or magazine to occupy the moments when I won't be busy eating. But today I don't feel like reading. I want too see someone sitting across from me, smiling, happily chatting about nothing, like *we* use to do.

To lessen feelings of loneliness, I look over toward the crowded lobby--bad move. Just over there in the entranceway next to Happy Buddha, I'd sit on his lap and play with his hair while we waited for our name to be called. The wait time always seemed shorter than the hostess predicted, no matter how long the period or how hungry I was. I remember spending hours running my fingers over his smooth skin and muscular frame, never tiring of it. So, a 50-minute wait in a crowded restaurant lobby seemed more like an appetizer before the main course.

(Sigh) I smile, and then frown. I miss him. Why did I come here today? Too be honest, I don't like Chinese food all that much. It seems that no matter how much time passes or where I am in my life, there will always be something… a scent, a song, a restaurant that will bring me back to him. If only I could Mu Shu him from my heart and mind permanently. Why is getting over a break-up so hard? Does it ever get easier? Will I ever get over him?

The waiter brings me the check along with the perfunctory fortune cookie. I crack my cookie open and my lips curl upward as I read these words:


Thank you, Confucius! I just needed the reminder. Tomorrow is another day, and with it comes new opportunities and new relationships. Although I will always have memories of past relationships, there is no reason to relive those moments when I have present and future memories to make.

I look up from my cookie and notice the waiter is still smiling at me.

"Can I get you anything else today?" he asks.
"No," I think to myself, "but he is awfully cute." "Why, yes," I say smiling. "Can I see your dessert menu?"

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1 comment:

aka senior advisor said...

Post-breakup words of wisdom from Diane Mandy: "In reality, our differences only made the relationship difficult."

So true...why does it take hindsight to realize this truth, or to act on it?