PEP TALK

“Sometimes I miss my urban lifestyle. Then, I think about it a while, and realize that I really just miss her.”

“Here we go again,” James said, not looking up from his tablet.

“Really? It’s been months since I’ve mentioned it.”

“Not long enough,” he muttered, and flicked past another article. “You’re never going to get over her at this rate.”

“Maybe I don’t want to.”

“No maybes about it.” He sighed, and locked the tablet. He drummed his fingers on the table. “You should go out.”

“And do what? Pick someone up? Get picked up?”

“Why not? You make it sound so horrible.”

“That’s because it is horrible.”

“Not if you manage to get lucky and score with someone on the same wavelength. Stop thinking about yourself for one second, get out of your own head, and open your eyes. There’s a billion people out there, just like you: mopey and hungry for someone else’s arms. Or more. All you’d be doing is facilitating. Don’t look at me like that.”

“You’re not really selling me on this, James.”

“Okay, okay. Maybe facilitating makes it sound too… prostitutional. How about ‘fulfilling a shared need’? Does that make it sound any better?”

I stared out the window. The morning was right there, just beyond the cloudy panes of glass, with its bright beams of golden spring sunshine beckoning like open arms awaiting a reciprocating embrace. “I think you’re right on the part about going out. As in, outside. It’s a beautiful day out there. Maybe instead of waiting for night to fall and slinking through the bars like some kind of starving predator it would me some good to walk under the open sky for a while.”

He frowned. “Right. Go for a long walk. Find yourself thinking of her, and all the things she meant to you. Think about all the times the two of you used to go on walks, and how much more of a complete person you felt. Then come back here and mope around until we have this conversation again. I know exactly how that goes. No, I’m not going to stand for it. What we’re gonna do is go out and find you a decent outfit, hit the gym, and then I’m gonna play wingman to your sad desperation until you find the medicine you need to cure what ails you.”

“James, you’re a great friend and all but I don’t think that she-”

“Don’t think that she what? That she’d approve of you actually getting on with your life, instead of pining after her memory? Because that’s all she is now, you know. A memory. She’s moved on and become someone different, possibly someone you wouldn’t even recognize, let alone love. And meanwhile you’ve stayed still, stagnating and growing stale. And frankly, I’m bored of it.” He reached out and gave me a playful slap on the cheek. “It’s time, Jack. You’ve got to cheer up and get on with it, because she’s never coming back.”

He was right, of course.