After leaving Brad’s house, I drove in circles until I pulled into McDonald’s and ordered a large fries, two cheeseburgers, and a Coke. I found a spot under a tree in the corner of the parking lot and turned off the car. I kept the radio on and spent the next ten minutes eating away my sorrow and pretending that the girl singing the latest song of heartbreak was belting out those lyrics just for me. After finishing the Coke, I felt sick. The food didn’t sit well with me, and judging by the tightness of my shorts, I knew I should stop my bad habit of getting fast food almost every day. Nana’s meals weren’t keeping me full.
I wondered about texting Kelly from work to see if she was still out with some of the other girls. Maybe a few drinks with “the girls,” even though they weren’t my girls, would be the escape I needed–from thinking about Brad, my parents, my dead-end job, my supposed beauty career.
I pulled my phone out of my purse. My finger hovered over the screen in indecision. Biting my lip, I glanced at the fence in front of me. My eyes locked onto a sign there.
“Looking to make big money? No experience needed. Call 216-555-7634.”
I wrestled a pen out of my overstuffed purse and wrote the number down on an unused napkin. Why I was doing this, I wasn’t entirely sure. It was probably a scam. Something too good to be true. All I knew was that I needed a change.
I turned for home. When I entered, Nana was sitting in the armchair in the small living room, reading her evening Bible verses.
“You’re back sooner than expected,” she said as she set her materials aside and removed her reading glasses.
I dropped onto the couch. “Yeah, um, things didn’t exactly go as planned.” My voice gave way at the end. Damn it.
Nana left her seat and joined me. “Ari, what’s the matter?”
“Brad and I, we br-broke up. I mean, I broke it off with him.”
“Oh, Ari, honey, I’m so sorry.” Nana drew me into a hug.
“I don’t know why I’m crying. I should be glad to be rid of that– that–”
Nana released me and gazed at me with a small smile. “It won’t be the first time a young lady had her heart broken, even if it was your choice to end things. It sounds like things must have been going south for sometime if you weren’t happy with him.”
“Isn’t there anyone you want to call, Ari? A friend?”
I shook my head. “It’s pathetic, but I don’t really have any friends, Nana.”
“Really? There’s no one?”
“Not really. I kinda pushed the few friends I had away since Mom and Dad died. I’m not really close with anyone at the salon or at school. I mean, sure, there are some girls I talk to at work or school, but we’d never do anything social together.”
“What about that one girl you were close with back in high school? What was her name?”
“That’s the one.”
“Lori and I haven’t talked since the summer after high school, Nana. She went away to college, somewhere on the west coast, I think. I never heard from her again.” That wasn’t completely true. We were Facebook friends, but I didn’t think that counted. We never interacted on there, and Nana understood social media about as well as I understood how a car worked.
“Maybe when you go to beauty school tomorrow, you should consider getting to know someone there better. You have something in common, after all.”
“Yeah, we’ll see. I think I’m just gonna turn in for the night if it’s all the same to you, Nana.”
“Well, good night, then, Ari.” Nana kissed my cheek.
I offered what I hoped looked like a smile and not a grimace and went to my room. Pulling out my phone and plopping down on my bed, I went onto Facebook and pulled up Lori Hensen’s profile. She was still single and was now in a master’s program. She had a ridiculously big grin on her pretty face in her profile pic. As I clicked through her photos, she was almost always surrounded by friends. My finger hovered over the message button. Oh, what the hell? Why not try?
Hi Lori, sorry we sorta lost touch. How’s life? I didn’t say anything on here but I lost my parents last month. Plane crash. Sorry if that’s tmi. I just thought I’d check in and say hey. If you got a sec I’d love to talk sometime. Miss you. X
I sent the message, but it didn’t look like she was on. Deciding that maybe Nana had a point, I tapped on Kelly’s number. I’d never actually texted her before. We’d exchanged numbers early on, just because Kelly was the type of person who was nice to everyone.
Hi Kelly, its Arianna from work. Hope ur havin fun 2nite.
I was surprised when the phone pinged. Up popped a message from Kelly: Hey arianna!! Whats up girlie? Ur missin a fun time. U sure u dont wanna come out w/ us?
If I were the partying type, I would’ve jumped at the prospect. I walked to the vanity and glared at myself. My eyes shifted to the journal and black binder, and my hand hovered over them. Stay home and write away my sorrows or go out on the town? You want change or not, Arianna? This is a chance to get out there and make that happen. As Nana would say, to take the bull by the horns.