How To Get The Girl
Once upon a time, in an enchanted kingdom called the City of Angels, or what is more predominantly known as Los Angeles, there lived a fair, loving, and generous young woman who we will call Kristin.
Today, Kristin was doing laundry in her building. T-shirt after t-shirt went into the washing machine. Then jeans, underwear, and finally, buried beneath it all, she pulled up a black dress. The sight of it made her cringe and cry, so she quickly threw it in with the rest of the filth and slammed the door shut.
You see, not too long ago, she wore that black dress for a very special occasion. It took her over an hour to decide what to wear, because he was picking her up. THE DUDE. Well not The Dude from The Big Lebowski, but the male lead in this adult fairy tale. The one she had been waiting for.
It had been a year (almost to date) that she hung up on him and erased him from her life, which ended their two year “on again and off again,” “boyfriend and girlfriend,” “friends with benefits,” “not even friends”…relationship. It had been a year since they had moved out to California from New York. They had gone their separate ways back in the land of the Big Apple, but life ran its course and placed them exactly an hour away from each other out west.
In that year, they had dated other people and pursued their own goals. Life was just grand. Then two months ago this email appeared in her inbox. It wasn’t so much a surprise as he had left her a voicemail a few days before, but what he wrote completely threw Kristin off guard. He must have watched every one of her favorite romantic comedies and knew just what to say.
I became the person I didn't want to become, and hurt the person who was the best thing to ever happen to me but I was too blind to realize it.
Her interest peaked. Okay, Mr. Darcy, what else you got in there?
I just wanted you to know that I have never stopped thinking about you since that last phone call, and I've never stopped missing you, our friendship, and our connection. And I will never fully forgive myself for hurting you. And I will always regret not telling you I love you - the real "I Love You" - when I knew deep down I did, and do, but was too afraid of what that might mean at the time. Every day that has gone by, that has eaten away at me.
Of course there were more words and they all got her attention. Her guard was securely up but she responded, hoping that they could finally mend this broken bridge once and for all.
Her interest peaked.
Okay, Mr. Darcy, what else you got in there?
Kristin suggested that they meet at a park, thinking it would allow a quiet atmosphere to hear each other. Also, if he wanted to continue this romantic streak with a musical rendition number accompanied by cartoonish birds, it would be the perfect place. They sat there and it felt like nothing had changed (even though everything had). They laughed and joked and opened up about their feelings. They talked about a hypothetical relationship that they would like to pursue, no rush. No stroke of midnight to break this spell.
A week later, Kristin woke up knowing he would be arriving at her apartment at 2pm. He had planned a date at the illustrious Getty Villa. After hours of trying on clothes, she finally picked out a simple black dress and threw a belt around the waist. She did her hair and makeup, boosting up her confidence with every move. He texted her, “Hey I’m here a little early,” but she didn’t see it until 1:59pm as she was running out the door. “Could this really be happening?” she thought. She almost didn’t go. “Is this really my happily ever after?”
As she stepped outside, she saw him standing there by his car, iPhone over his head with Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” playing. She blinked. John Cusack was in her driveway. Well, John Cusack as Lloyd Dobler, in modern times, with an iPhone instead of a boom box. Either way, her John Hughes movie was taking place.
She stepped towards him. He looked straight in her eyes and said, “I love you” and kissed her. Then he grabbed her by the shoulders and said, “let’s go be awesome together.”
Then he bought her a pastrami sandwich, sealing the deal.
Now, if this were a real John Hughes movie, it would have ended right there as the couple drove off into the sunset. Or it would have ended at the Getty Villa, where they discussed their future together; how he wanted her to go home for Thanksgiving to meet his family, how he wanted them to eventually live together, how he was all in and knowing full well what that meant (a.k.a. marriage/happily ever after/adult relationship/yada yada yada). He kept reiterating to her that it was real, that he was there. She told him that she loved him, but she was really scared. Of course she was scared! She explained how she was scared of getting hurt again. She was scared he was going to leave her again. She was scared he was still in love with someone else. But he remained honest and sincere. He reassured Kristin that everything was fine, “This is important. You’re important.” Then he bought her a pastrami sandwich, sealing the deal.
Seven days passed. Apparently the world was created in seven days, and in the same amount of time, the world around our heroine collapsed.
He sent her a text that said he would be at her apartment around 2pm. They were going to cook dinner together. She made pumpkin pie and went out to buy his favorite ice cream, but by 4pm she still hadn’t heard anything. Then he called. He was freaking out. Something had happened within that three hour gap. Kristin assumed he was getting cold feet again, and that if he came down to see her, they could talk in person. She had been freaking out the day before as well. It seemed logical to her. Relationships are work, and they were getting too ahead of themselves. The freak out moment seemed inevitable at this point.
It took four phone calls for him to admit the truth. Four phone calls and for her to finally ask him if he did it. He had. He cheated on our loyal maiden even after he had sent a reaffirming email the night before.
But while my friendship with her both professionally and personally is important to me, it in no way supersedes what you and I have and are building. I love you.
“I love you too.” Kristin had responded, still unsure of his relationship with this other woman, who we’ll call Stefani for clarity sake.
Despite the utter disappointment, she was stubborn and determined to make it work. He came over. He took off his glasses as she opened the door because he was afraid she was going to slap him. She didn’t. She sat there beside him and held his hand (wishing she had punched him instead). They both looked like death. She lay in her bed, while he knelt beside her on the floor. If anyone had walked in, they would have assumed Kristin was either Snow White or dying.
Throughout the night they talked and almost threw up multiple times. It wasn’t until he sat in front of her the following morning and said, “No. I’m in it. I want this. I love you,” that she actually did throw up.
He swore that he was going to cut things off with Stefani. That it would be them, a team in it together.
Kristin gave him space, but texted words of encouragement sporadically.
He wrote her hours later.
Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I’m still here. Thank you for giving me the time to breathe; I know it’s hard.
She told him that she loved him and reiterated, “we got this” with an emoticon of thumbs up.
At 4am he called. She hadn’t heard from him since that last text, and at 4am he called her to say that he couldn’t go through with it. He couldn't cut this other woman out of his life.
She asked him if he wanted to be with Stevie. No wait, what was her name? Stefani. She asked him if he wanted to be with Stefani, and he said yes.
“So you don’t want to be with me?”
“No. I don’t.”
Okay, clearly he was under a spell. Was Stefani a witch? Had she hoodwinked him? Or maybe she had one of those mystical golden vaginas. Hmm. No, Kristin was pretty sure she had the golden vagina in this scenario.
Or maybe, just maybe, he never truly loved Kristin. Maybe it was all just a lie. A lie she wholeheartedly believed. But that’s the point of a lie, isn’t it?
Kristin had given him a second (probably fifth, but who’s counting?) chance and he said that he was okay not to have her in his life anymore. That he was sorry, she deserved better, and that he was just being honest. He was willing to cut her out, but not the one who had broken his heart so many times before.
She cried. Of course she cried. Memories came flooding back into her mind. How he said that he wanted to be her champion, and for her to be his. How he wanted them to grow old and fat together, and how he had thought about making a big gesture to her for the past year. She broke down and pleaded with him to stay with her. She reminded him that they never had a fair shot at being a couple. They never got to be awesome together.
He said nothing but empty words. Then she told him that she hated him. That he was cruel. That she didn’t know anyone who would behave in such a manner. Seriously? Who would go to such an effort to make someone fall in love with him or her, and then leave them in the blink of an eye? Every time someone does this, it’s by choice and it boggles the mind. She couldn’t even think of one fictional character to relate him to, with the exception of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. She struggled for air, as everything had been knocked out of her.
Finally, she stopped. She stopped fighting. How pathetic. How sad. What would Elizabeth Bennet, Tina Fey, or Molly Ringwald say to her? What would John Hughes tell her to do?
She took a breath and paused. Then she told THE DUDE that he was THE BIGGEST FUCKING IDIOT in the world for letting her go. That she would never talk to him again. Ever. And that she was indeed the best thing to ever happen to him (his words). That he was, well, just plain mean.
With that, she said “goodbye Brian” and hung up on him for the final time. For it was in that moment that she realized she had fallen for someone willing to play every part for her except himself. He had wanted to be her knight in shining armor (or John Cusack) and was looking for his damsel in distress. He needed someone in danger, someone to fix, and someone to save.
Kristin was never (ever!) going to play the part of the girl trapped in the tower. She wouldn’t wait for some dude to save her just so he’d have some excuse to stay. She was her own hero and needed to finally end this story so that she could go out and write a new one.
And that is just what she is going to do.
Kristin is done with her laundry.