I waited until I got home to ask, because I knew the answer or lack of answer was going to make me cry, and if 2008 taught me anything it's that public crying is worse than any other kind because it's more real and it's impossible to deny. I had gambled big, and I was about to lose big. I could sense it. These are the risks.
So, fine. Everything was broken but there were still parties I had promised to go to, and I could be that girl. Wanted to be that girl--sparkly and shiny and hard, brittle and compelling and more charming than made sense. Just because I had stopped quite some time ago didn't mean that it wasn't easy enough to slip back into being that girl like into a dress too revealing to often wear. That girl did a lot more breaking than being broken, which seemed like the best idea going. It was so nice to see me, said my acquaintances. They'd missed me. As though I had been on a long trip instead of calming down slightly and honestly trying to be less of a jerk. Their smiles clinked against my skin.
But the next night at a wedding I couldn't do it any more. I could write a book on bucking up and smiling and faking "I'm fine" even though your heart is rattling hollowly behind your ribs, but I was spread just a little too thin, had wanted just a little too hard, had believed just a little too much. I love weddings, but they're a very specific kind of difficult, especially for the recently discarded--they allow plenty of time to think about how you accidentally ruined everything without even realizing it while all of the couples are up slow dancing together. And the world tends to look awfully narrow through the bottom of a champagne glass. If I am unlucky in love, though, I am also incredibly rich in friends, and they gave speeches and danced and told jokes and made faces, and even though my date passed out before the cake, at some point I found that my smile was almost no longer fake.
It isn't enough, not really, but it's good enough for now.