It’s Friday the 13th. There is a full moon in Pisces. I am not versed in astrology, but someone told me in hushed reverence this week to beware of this powerful full moon in Pisces. So I write it now like it is gospel.  

This is a powerful lunar cycle. I’ve been feeling it for days. Antsy during the day. Strange, hallucinatory dreams at nights where my spirit is drifting out of my body into other-worldly dimensions. 

I google search “full moon in Pisces.” The internet tells me that the Pisces zodiac element is water, the quality is mutable, and the symbol is a fish. The internet warns me, “Be very careful that old, unhealthy escapes don’t tempt you, especially in relationships. Your love life should not be the place you dive into to avoid the world, but the place you choose to wake up and grow.”

But what does the internet know? Stupid internet. This is such pop psychology hogwash, issuing a preemptive scolding. Ghhhaaaaa!!(guttural exclamation of annoyance). So. Lame.

I have just texted Alex a half hour ago. Nonchalantly. Truly, I kept it cool. He had messaged me earlier today that his computer had died, and he was worried that his files had been lost.

This text exchange transpired:

“Did your computer shenanigan get sorted, prof?”

“Yes, they just got it fixed, but I don’t have the patience to drive back out to the city, so I’m staying in town tonight. How are you?”

After the manifesto that I had presented him with exactly 6 days ago that I simply loved him too much to see him again in actual “person,” tonight I was feeling like the only thing in the world that would satisfy me would be resting my head on that place between his shoulder and his sternum…because, well, that place had a divot that fit my head perfectly. 

It was as if that divot were a papier-mâché imprint of my head. It was a pillow with my name on it. This was simply a fact, like any regular, ordinary fact. 

Gravity keeps earth in orbit around the sun. Air density decreases with increased altitude. My head fits perfectly on Alex’s chest. And my head was desperately missing it’s pillow. 

Like a viper stealthily uncoiling before sinking its venomous fangs into its unsuspecting pray, I wrote, “This town is not the worst place to spend the night.”

“Tonight I’m feeling ‘loonie,’ I continued to write.

“It’s a full moon in Pisces. And, I’m reading the most delicious book called A Feast of Love by Charles Baxter. His writing is pure genius. What are you up to?”

“Watching a DVD probably,” he wrote back.

“A foreign film,” he added with a winkie face. It was our inside joke. I hated foreign films and he loved them.

“Ha, have fun with that,” I wrote. 

He texted back a toothy grinning emoji.

“I miss you, but I don’t miss the foreign films,” I responded, knowing that was a bold semi-invitation. 

There was a pause. A dot dot dot appeared on WhatsApp indicating that he was responding. I bit my lower lip.

“You have made a decision, sweetie. Stick with it for at least a month. Fair enough?”

“Of course, A! I’m sticking with it. I’m still allowed to miss you though,” I quickly texted.

“A generous compliment,” he responded with two thank you emojis.

“Have a fun movie night,” I wrote. 

“I’m going to inundate my senses in the world of Baxter…via audible.”

This was another inside joke. Alex once likened listening to books via audible to injecting them into your ass via a syringe.

“Read it.”

“In subtitles,” he added. 

That was funny. Alex can be quite funny sometimes. I shot back a laughing face emoji, feeling a general sense of annoyance. Of course, he, being less emotionally effusive than me, was not going to take the bait of my capricious, underhanded serpentine invitation to reunite my head with his chest pillow. Damnit. 

I won’t lie, my self-esteem is feeling a general sense of malaise right now. In fact, my self-esteem is feeling like someone who has just adamantly given up carbs with the motto, “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels!” then the next day tries to fish a bunch of discarded brownies out of the trash can only to discover that they are now soggy and sour-smelling. My self-esteem is sulking. 

I recall the many times I had ended things with Sultry. Remember him? The Alex-surrogate. The one I would pull out of my back pocket when Alex would leave the country for half of the year and we would downgrade to “just pen-pals?”

Sultry. He was my other Achilles heal over the last year and a half. Only with him, it would be all fireworks and passion until his general lack of ability to embody basic human niceties – like listening to me when I talked – would become blindingly apparent, and I would end things with rock-hard resolve.

I would then, much to my chagrin, find myself missing him something dreadful a month later. With him it was easy to save face though. All I would have to do – literally – was “unblock” him on Instagram, and somehow, through the ether, Sultry would get the memo and message me within 5 minutes.

“How have you been? I’ve been worried about you!” he would frantically text. 

“Shall I come over right now?”

The last time I blocked and then reneged on it I had been on a hike with my friend Sara. It had been six weeks since I had spoken to Sultry, a record for me. I was bemoaning single-hood and she was encouraging me to “get back on the horse” in the dating sense. 

“Dangit, right now, all I want is Sultry,” I had pouted.

“I mean, I can’t TELL him that, but if he would just text me a sign, like a red heart or something, then, well, it would just be a sign from the universe. Something unarguable. That’s all.”

When Sara and I had gotten back to my house and were having tea, my phone dinged. It was a text from Sultry. It was a red heart. It was the first message in six weeks since I had told him I couldn’t see him anymore.

Sara’s jaw dropped. “What the…?” she began. 

“Oh this happens every time with us,” I said, smiling pridefully. 

“Seriously, I think about him, he messages me. He’s a ‘feeler.’ He feels me through the atmosphere,” I say with thinly veiled glee.

“And yes, I know, he is still a caricature of a narcissist. I mean, if I was gonna have a telepathic connection with a guy, it would have been nice if he were like…the actual love of my life, , but Sultry…he’s…just so pretty,” I mused. “And in his defense, how could one not be a narcissist with those eyes? Those eyes merit narcissism.” 

“I mean, Sara, how bad is it if I, err, relapse here?” I asked guiltily. 

“There are some really good things about him, some really endearing things. For instance…he loves children,” I announced triumphantly. 

“It’s actually super cute,” I continued. “The kids he teaches totally adore him…”

Ten seconds passed and my phone dinged again. Again, it was from Sultry. It was a photo of him grinning among a sea of radiant young faces, arms all flung around each other in a massive human blob of affection. He was standing, towering over them all with his arms outspread over their small shoulders, his golden eyes shining with love and pride. He looked like what I imagined Jesus would look like if he were a 21st century school teacher.

Sara stared dumbfounded at my phone. “Whaaaaa…” words had escaped her. 

“Girl, regardless of my feelings about him,” she admitted conclusively, “There is no fighting fate. And today, this is fate. Knock yourself out, and I’ll be here when shit hits the fan again…assuming it does….it will. But today, fate has spoken.”

Back to tonight. This crazy lunar-infused night where the internet has informed me to stop rummaging around in the trash for brownies in my love life. Well, basically that’s what it said. 

The last thing Sultry had messaged me was that he had decided not to marry the woman he was courting on the East Coast, and that he would be back in town soon…grinny face.

I had responded, “Well I wish you all of the best, and I’d like to respectfully say that the chapter has closed on our connection together. So, respectfully, please don’t ask to see me when you are back in town. I will be wishing you well from a distance.”

He had messaged me back with a red heart, and the words, “I will be wishing you well too.”

That was two weeks ago. I sign onto Instagram. Instagram informs me that Sultry has not signed on yet today. I’ll give it 4 minutes before I switch my phone off and crawl into bed. 

Suddenly, the green circle lights up by his name indicating that he has just signed on, as I knew it would. Twenty seconds later I get a notification that he has “liked” my last two Instagram posts. I wait. He does not send me a message. There is no red heart popping up in my inbox.

Good for him. Truly. Perhaps he’s growing up. I’m actually feeling sort of, parental pride? I know, that is a curious emotion to be feeling right now, but we’ll just blame all uncanny emotions on the moon tonight.

The chapter of “us” really has come to an end. He got the memo this time. The Sultry saga is over and the harvest moon is nodding its blessing. Now, Sultry and I are just two people wishing each other well through the ether.

Tonight, the moon horoscopes have informed me that my love life should be a place where I choose to wake up and grow. This probably means flying solo for a while. #self-love. I should really start getting into astrology.

Phone shutting off. Now its just me and the Pisces full moon – a blaring strobe light through my living room window – texting me a red heart and a winkie face.

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