At only a few years old, Facebook isn’t a marketing powerhouse just yet. It’s mostly just filled with college kids and memes.
I wrinkle my nose at the thought of it, but intuition tells me I’m on to something. When I mention using Facebook to Eddie that afternoon, he insists that it’s a total waste of time.
I’m not all that surprised by his response. Nor am I offended by his ignorance. After all, he isn’t using social media. Then again, most companies aren’t. Not yet at least. From the outside looking in, his assumptions make a lot of sense.
Against my boss’s better judgment, I lean into my intuition and create a Facebook page anyway. The rebellious act makes me a little giddy.
Little did I know, that at the tender age of 23, just how very right I’d come to be about Facebook in the years that would follow.
Once I get the hang of Facebook, the excitement quickly fades. Shortly after it does, I start job hunting half-heartedly like the insatiable lunatic that I am. Part of me doesn’t even want to leave. After all, the job has brought me many positive things. Like Noel. She’s my assistant here. It’s where we met.
My phone dings on my desk, interrupting my thoughts. Ironically enough, it’s Noel texting me.
“Jessi. You have to help me.”
“What? Why? What’s going on?” I ask.
“It’s Jose. He’s driving me crazy. You’re good with people. You have to help me!”
Her statement confuses me. “I’m good with people? Since when?”
I can hear her eyes roll to the back of her head through the phone.
“Since always. Just help me! Please.”
“Okay! Okay! What is it exactly that you want me to do again?”
“I dunno. Just talk to him so he leaves me the fuck alone. He’s going through a breakup, and I don’t know what to fucking tell him anymore.”
I nod slowly, soaking this in.
“Ok, I can do that,” I reply.
“Thank you! I owe you one,” she promises.
“Yeah, you really do.” I quip back.
This is hands down the weirdest and most random favor she’s ever asked of me. Part of me wishes it was just another call from her, begging me to rescue her from some sketchy party instead. This favor seems far more complicated.
Next thing I know, Jose and I are spending an hour and a half on the phone. He has a lot to say. Mostly, everything he hates about his ex. I do my best to be a friend to him. In my head, I nailed it. In reality, I probably gave him the most awkward advice of his life.
The following day, though, a big bouquet of stunning flowers shows up at my office.
As the florist’s deliveryman enters the room, I immediately feel my coworker’s eyes on me. At first, I don’t even realize that they are for me. I turn to Glory and shrug.
She smiles, raises her eyebrows at me expectantly and waits for me to open the card. Curious and slightly confused, I open the envelope.
“From Jose?” I read aloud.
“Ohhh, really?” She asks with a teasing grin. She knows who he is because he’s a mechanic at the park. Despite this, we have barely crossed paths at work, and if we have, I haven’t really noticed it.
I can feel Glory’s eyes still on me.
Blushing and bothered, I rush to assure her that it isn’t what she thinks it is. “No, it isn’t like that,” I insist.
Glancing back at the bouquet, I momentarily admire the arrangement.
It is really pretty.
My eyebrows merge in confusion as the details of the bouquet sink in. Wait a minute.
Notably, my favorite flowers are throughout the arrangement. Lilies.
“How on earth?” I softly mutter.
Did we even talk about flowers at all?
I search my brain frantically for a memory of the conversation, but it must have been drowned out by last night’s dance with cheap champagne.
Suddenly defensive, I turn to Glory, “It isn’t like that,” I insist again. “It’s just a thank you. You know, for being a friend.“
She throws me a skeptical glance and a wink.
“Okay, whatever you say, chica,” she teases.
“It isn’t,” I insist one last time before tucking the card away in my desk drawer. I can tell by her face that she doesn’t believe me.
For whatever reason, Jose and I start keeping in touch sporadically after this. Maybe it was the burden of his gift or the fact that I could sense that he needs an empathetic friend. Either way, it turns into a delicate balance of avoidance and kindness on my end.
Terrified of giving off the wrong signals, I ignore most of his messages and go about my life as if he doesn’t exist. It sounds bitchier than it is.
He’s a good human. I’m just simply not interested. Not like that. Leading him on would be cruel and cruelty just isn’t my thing. Besides, my life is my kids and my friends. I care about little else and I’m not exactly shy about it. Dating for me, is for fun and maybe even a free meal. Not for long-term love or messy friendships. Life is messy enough all on its own.
When I wake up the next morning, the sun is shining, but my head feels cloudy. I noticeably no longer feel like me. It’s as if somebody has taken over my body, and not in a good way, either.
I ache from head to toe and I’m seemingly spontaneously miserable. My once bubbly personality has all but disappeared, overnight. I think along with it, went my will to live.
What is this?
For months now, this has been happening, over and over again, seemingly at random.
How do I keep ending up back here? What is this sense of impending doom and most importantly, why the fuck is it here, disturbing my peace?
As the months pass by, I become desperate to not feel like this. I then begin to try every distraction that I can possibly think of. First, I try to drown myself in sin. When that doesn’t work, I try to drown myself in religion.
When neither of those work, I try filling my late nights with copious amounts of alcohol.
Part of me knows that alcohol isn’t the answer, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to have it answer all of my questions. One gulp at a time. The only thing I know for certain at this point is that everything seems to be simultaneously falling apart.
Work. Home. Friendships. They all start to take a hit as I climb in and out of my depressive state. I start avoiding my old friends and begin making room for new ones, just so that no one knows me well enough to know that I’m lying when they ask me how I’m doing.
My phone dings. It’s Jose.
“How about letting me take you out on that date now?”