It wasn't the physical exhaustion I was avoiding; it was the emotional one. Don't get me wrong, I was beyond excited for my friends for taking this next step with their boyfriends, but it killed me to know that they were moving forward, and I was stuck standing still. I couldn't take that step with Cayden. Hell, I couldn't even live in the same country as him, much less the same bedroom. So I felt like leaving for the weekend would make it easier. If I didn't have to physically see them unpacking boxes, rearranging furniture or arguing about the price of blinds, I could pretend like it wasn't happening. And then when I got back from Austin I could just pretend like they'd always lived together. I just couldn't be there for the transition.
Also convenient for me, that weekend was the only weekend my best friend and old college roommate, Ann, had off work. She lived in Austin and I used to visit her all the time, until life got in the way. Weird how often that happens when you grow up. I shot a text message to our other old college roommate, Dawn, who lived in Edmond, Oklahoma:
Roomie reunion Aug. 12-14. Austin. You down?
You know it.
I knew I could count on my girls when I needed them. That Friday, Dawn drove down from Oklahoma and met me in Addison, where we switched to my car for the drive down to Austin. It was always good to see Dawn again. We rarely talked on the phone or emailed each other, so we always had a lot to catch up on. She was one of those friends who I didn't see very often, but when I did, it was like we hadn't spent a day apart, as cliche as that sounds. It was the same with Ann. You put the three of us together and suddenly we're in college again, only the hangovers are worse now.
We spent the three-hour drive to Austin talking about boys and work, and reminiscing on our college years (who was married, who was pregnant, and who was least likely to get married or pregnant). Dawn had just started dating a guy she'd met while volunteering at a church camp over the summer. He was a high school football coach. And from the picture she showed me, he was fun to look at, too.
"We're taking things slow," she said.
I laughed because "taking things slow" in my terms and "taking things slow" in Dawn's terms meant two different things. I was taking things "slow" the weekend I met Cayden by not having sex with him but doing everything else. It's funny the way we women justify things in our heads to make ourselves feel better. But when Dawn said "taking things slow," it meant they were safe on first base and hadn't slid into second yet.
"But he lives more than an hour away, so we can only see each other on weekends."
Well, at least I wouldn't have to worry about them moving in together any time soon.
When we got to Ann's house, we were welcomed with bottles of champagne and bowls of alcohol-soaked fruit. Such was tradition.
"So, how are things with Andy?" I asked after the first sip of champagne stopped burning my throat.
"Over," she said. "He broke up with me on our one-year anniversary. Cool, huh?"
I felt for her. I couldn't imaging how I'd feel if Cayden ended things with me after a year. I wanted to hug her and tell her tell her I was there for her if she needed anything, but we really weren't the hugging type. Sure, we hugged after not seeing each other for a while, and we hugged when we said goodbye, and I'm sure we did a lot of hugging when we were drunk, but beyond that, hugs were awkward. We were more of the what-an-asshole, he-doesn't-know-what-he's-missing type.
"What an ass," Dawn chimed in.
We all nodded and changed the subject. Two bottles of champagne and a bowl of alcohol-soaked fruit later, we were all caught up on each other's lives. And very drunk. And I didn't even think about the fact that Joey and Joyce and Rae and Chaz were spending their first night together as roommates.