Friday, February 10, 2023


Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are:

plates ~ hobby ~ favorite ~ mystery

They were submitted by:


It all started after a breakup.

I mean, sure, it was a a particularly bad breakup especially since it was Dee who got cheated on and walked in on it all, but my own advice had been to find a hobby to sink herself into instead of crying over an asshole who had never been anything but mid in the first place. And I'm not just saying that because my friend had gotten cheated on. Jake really was an absolute trashbag. The only reason he was even mediocre was because Dee made sure he bathed and kept a job. I never understood what she saw in him. So yeah, I thought she took my advice and got a hobby.

But that's where the normalcy ends. And Im telling you I don't know what to do about any of it now.

So we had that discussion, right? I say "get a hobby" not in a condescending internet "touch grass" kind of way but in a "you need something to keep your mind off the pain at least at some points in your day" sort of way. It wasn't flippant. I genuinely thought it would help. Sitting around in the same clothes for 5 days binging Gray's Anatomy for the 15th time isn't exactly what I would call a therapeutic approach to getting over a breakup. She'd done that for a month by the time we had the talk about hobbies. She'd wallowed in the pain enough. She dwelled on it. Lived in it. She still had the same rose colored glasses on when it came to Jake as she did in the beginning, you know? So I went over to her house with a big pot of chicken and dumplings, some mini apple pies, and a butt load of cornbread--her favorite foods. I put her ass in the shower, cleaned up, and helped her dry her hair, and then I went through a list of all the times Jake had been an asshole in my presence. I went through all the times he'd knowingly hurt her. I didn't pull any punches. You know that meme template with Melissa Joan Hart and all the plates? It was like that but all the plates were things about Jake she hadnt ever wanted to admit. And I kept count. Then I asked her to sit down and make a list with the same number of items but about times when he made her feel loved and appreciated and valued in the 5 years they were together.

We all know how this goes. And I think or I thought that was the turning point. She seemed lighter by the time she finished her bowl of dumplings and looked at that sad ass list. Really thinking about the reality of him as a partner and not just the truth she'd made up to keep herself sane made her feel better about him being gone. She was actually angry that she'd spent this much time crying over him.

It was definitely a turning point but not the one I thought.

She did the thing a lot of women do after a bad breakup. She got her hair done--fiery red--and started working out. The gym membership turned to martial arts because she might need to defend herself if "things go wrong" which should have worried me but I let it pass. All women have thought like that about getting back into the dating pool with men... She traded Gray's Anatomy for going to a psychic. Weird but maybe she was getting something out of it? At least it wasn't texting Jake that she missed him and crying into a wine stained sweatshirt that used to belong to him. She also spent a not insignificant amount of time sort of cataloguing her life in a journal of sorts but she had spent a lot of time narrowing things down to 5 minute windows if she could find the right data to get her to that conclusion which.. also weird. But not alarming really? I thought maybe she was really pouring over these memories and events so she wouldn't make the same mistakes again. Funny how that turned out to be true but not in the way I imagined.

I came over a few weeks later and found her pouring over some kind of science textbooks. I have zero ability to understand quantum physics, so I had no idea what the fuck she was actually reading at the time, but she seemed to be enjoying herself. And even though something was nagging at me about it, I figured learning some new stuff was better than pining over an asshole. I'd been the one to tell her to find new things to keep her occupied and not stalking his and his new girlfriend's socials looking for things to upset her. I told her to keep herself occupied. And she was... I just didn't think it would end up being the worst advice I'd ever given.

You see I thought I was being honest. I'd made the list right? I'd just wanted to take the blindfold off. It was such a fucking mystery to me that she still, after all he'd done, loved him so naively. So fully. So undeservingly. I wanted her to see that he wasn't worth all the bullshit she was putting herself through. I wanted her to decide she could rebirth herself from this mess better and stronger and more capable of seeing through men's bullshit now.

I guess I just didn't realize how angry she was? She got herself in shape. She did the hair thing we all do. She poured herself into learning some science and then I showed up tonight and she has a new shed. A workshop of sorts really. And, well, there was this giant metal thing she was WELDING on when I walked in... I've never seen her do anything of the sort. So I ask her, ok? Of course I did. I ask her what she's working on.

Her answer? A time machine. She consulted a fucking psychic who put her in touch with someone who gave her the blueprints and the books. A time machine. She says my list made her realize how much of her life she wasted on him and now she's going to go back for a do-over. A repeat. A don't go on the second date type of situation. Leave him high and dry on the first date sort of thing. She quit her job to do this full time because she says she's going back and will still have the job and I don't know what to do because she's ruining her life for this. I wanted her to be mad but not like this. Who do I tell? What do I do?

I think I'm gonna go find this psychic and kick her fucking ass because who in the fucking world suggests time traveling?? But then what? I have nothing good to say about the guy and she didn't want to hear any of my "naysaying" tonight. I didn't really get her into this mess--not entirely--but I definitely didn't help matters, so I have to do something, anything.

But how do you talk sense into someone as blinded by rage as they were by misplaced love? Rage that I planted the seeds for? I'm coming up empty on this one sitting here in her living room and listening to the sounds from the workshop...

Wait. What was that flash just now? What the fuck made that sound?? 

Oh my god. Did she...?


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado


The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
On the Border

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