Jeremy Cabb writes his best work after breaking up with his girlfriend.
The Soundtrack to Life
To Margot Robbie for making Harley Quinn badass again.
So yeah. That happened.
I wish it hadn’t.
“I’m breaking up with you.” These were the last words that Ramona Marshall said to me during our romantic relationship. Everything from that point forward was strained and awkward. It was achingly painful and I hated it so.
This was the first word of our newfound ex-ship.
“No, Jeremy. I’m done with you and every part about you. You are so narcissistic. Everything has to be about you and I hate it. You have never asked me about how my day was. You never asked me how I’m feeling. Hell, you don’t ask me anything! You don’t even know the first thing about me! It’s always all. About. You. Your thoughts, hopes, dreams, feelings and emotions, loves, doubts, happiness, and pain. I’m so done listening to the Jeremy Cabb hour! I am not something you can vent into. I hate it! I hate it! I hate it! You’ve never been there for me because you’re always out with my brother or that nudist Jimmy or that wench Moriah. I need to find someone who will love me like I deserve. And that’s not you. I’m exhausted by this very much one-sided relationship. Dating you is a chore, and frankly, I’m done. I’m sorry, but it’s over.”
She hung up after that.
And just like that, it was gone.
She was gone.
Everything we had worked for.
It went by much quicker than it came.
Devastation started creeping in on me, gnawing at my toes, slowly beginning to eat me alive.
This is the beginning of the end.
As I slowly took some deep breaths to prevent myself from hyperventilating, I thought to myself, “She has a point. I am a bit of a narcissist.” I realized that I was allowing myself to take over the relationship. I certainly cared about her, but this relationship, if you could even call it that, was completely one-sided. I was astounded that she stayed with me as long as she did. Man, I really screwed up.
When I met Ramona Marshall seven months prior, she was sitting in my spot. Well, it wasn’t “my” spot in that it didn’t have my name on it but those who came to the Palmer branch of The Coffee Master’s Shop knew that it was my spot. People who went to Coffee Master’s would whisper, “That’s Jeremy Cabb’s spot,” to those who attempted to sit in it. “What does that mean?” they would respond. “That means that the Jeremy Cabb would sit there throughout his high school career and rumor has it that he may come back one day. God, he’s so dreamy.” Okay, so maybe not that last part about being dreamy, but yes, it was my spot.
While on vacation in my hometown of Palmer, Alaska, I returned to Coffee Master’s. As I walked into the bright and lively café, the smell of coffee and fresh baked pastries hit me. I was home. A few people recognized me, whether fans of my music or people who knew me before I took up being a musician full time. I said hello to the lovely Jessi Johanson, my favorite barista from high school who still worked there five years later, saw the amazing new art that hung on the walls, and ordered a Polar Bear mocha (a white chocolate mocha with eight pumps of caramel that tasted like Jesus Christ blessed it himself). I went to go sit at my table, which contained my spot, when I saw her.
She was a short girl, probably no taller than 4’ 10”, with long brunette hair, blue eyes, and a pretty face. It wasn’t the looks that got me though (those were just an added bonus). She had this confidence about her that made it impossible not to be attracted to her. Had she not been sitting in the Jeremy Cabb spot, there would have been no doubt that all the single men in the café would be dying at her feet. Yet, no one had the audacity to say hello. Perfect opportunity, I thought to myself. I looked in the window to make sure I looked good, cleaned my glasses, and walked over to the table.
As I sat down in the inferior spot across from mine, the girl in front of me had a look of “What the hell are you doing?” about her, to which I responded with, “Care to perform a Chinese fire drill?” This caused her to move to a look of disgust.
“Why are you sitting here? Go away!” she said.
Feisty, I thought. I like it. Ever so slightly, I licked my dry, cracked lips, tasting the salty sweat pour on to them.
“Dear, I’m afraid you’re in my spot,” I replied.
She looked repulsed. “What makes this your spot?” she asked.
Before I could give her a legitimate answer, possibly at the most inconvenient time, Jessi Johanson called out, “Jeremy Cabb.”
I put a finger to the short girl’s lips, whispering, “Wait here, my darling.” I got up and grabbed my drink. Her look of outright resentment turned to that of a puzzled one as I began to walk back to my table. When I sat down, she said, “You’re Jeremy Cabb,” not so much of a question as it was a statement.
I chuckled. “Yes, I am,” I replied as I took a sip of my tooth-achingly sweet drink. It was so scalding hot, it burnt my tongue. As I began to feel my taste buds disappear, she continued to stare at me.
“Do tell me how this is your spot,” she said, eventually.
“Let me tell you a story,” I began. “When I was 14 years old, my dad wasn’t around as much as I would’ve liked him to be. Part of it was he was going through his own issues about my mother’s death, part of it was his job, and part of it was he didn’t understand me. To make up for it, he started leaving me coffee money, starting on my first day of high school. From that day forward, from the time I was a scrawny freshman to an even scrawnier senior, I would come here, order a Polar Bear mocha, and play my guitar. Every time, I would sit in the very seat that you sit in now. It called to me. And every time there were new characters coming to join me. I would sing a few tunes, flirt with the baristas, laugh with the old men, and write music with the hipsters who used butter in place of coffee creamer. Every time, it was in that exact seat and frankly, I’d like to keep that tradition alive.”
I recounted this story as intently as I could, not simply because I was nostalgic, but because I wanted her to get out of my spot. She still looked at me.
She wanted proof? OK. I went up to the first person I saw.
“Excuse me, sir?” I said to him. He turned around. He was your stereotypical hipster wearing a grey beanie, fake glasses, a red flannel, and drinking black coffee with butter in it. His beard dripped with the black sludge.
“Urhmmm?” he said with his mouth full.
“Do you know who I am?” I asked. He looked at me as though I was a crackpot. He swallowed his beverage.
“No,” he responded. This is where Ramona started listening in.
“Whose spot is that?” I said, pointing to Ramona and her table.
“Jeremy Cabb’s. Why?” He looked confused.
“Proving a point. Thank you, sir.” I shook his hand and walked back to my table. Ramona had moved seats to the place where I originally sat.
“It’s too early for this,” she said. “Ramona Marshall.” She stuck out her hand for me to shake, which I obliged.
We dated for about six months. I wasn’t able to convince her to go out with me until after the first month after we met. One night, the night I asked her out, we met up in Anchorage for dinner before I performed a show. It was a brisk December night. Snowflakes flel from the sky, covering the pavement in a thin, white, perfect sheet. We wore our best clothes… well, she did anyway. She wore a red dress with a sash of burnt umber and a light bit of makeup. I wore a pair of blue jeans, a black Batman T-shirt, a red beanie, and black Chuck Taylors. Man, were we a sight. A beautiful, 4’9” woman walking with a 6’3” man with a face like a deformed panda. Two polar opposites meeting together to share a meal. It was quite humorous.
We talked a lot at the restaurant, Ecbar. She had gone to the Mat-Su chapter of UAA and got her degree in American Literature. As she went on about F. Scott Fitzgerald and the contemporary writers she was so fond of, I sat and listened. That night was different in that I was the listener instead of the talker. I almost felt good about it. We sat in our seats, ate our bread, and laughed with each other. She even proved her ability to drink an entire glass of Coca-Cola in under three seconds. It was almost as though we were an old married couple. I was happy.
Later that evening, I performed at the Performing Arts Center. I performed songs such as “Eduardo” and “I Want to Be a Hipster” and even some Neutral Milk Hotel and Mumford and Sons’ songs. Before the end of the show, I stopped dead in the middle of a song and said, “I’m sorry guys, I can’t keep going until I get this off my mind.” Gasps shot up from the crowd.
“There is a young lady sitting among you named Ramona Marshall.” I saw her in the crowd. She looked at me with the same look as she had given me that first day.
“I would like to invite her up to the stage,” I continued. “Come on up, Ramona.”
The lights turned on as she got up from her seat. She walked onto the stage, looking embarrassed. “Hi, Ramona,” I greeted casually, as though it were only the two of us. “Everyone say hi Ramona.”
Over 2,000 people said, “HI RAMONA!” with sincere enthusiasm.
“Ramona, we’ve known each other for how long?” I asked her. I passed the microphone over to her.
“Little over a month,” she replied, passing it back.
“Well it’s been one helluva month. I’d like to dedicate this song to you.” I proceeded to play “Ramona” by Beck. When I finished, I looked her dead in the eye.
“Ramona Marshall,” I said. “Will you go out with me?”
There was a moment where it felt like time stopped. No one else was in the room and it was just her and I. In that moment, I feared that she would say no. I wanted with all my heart for her to say yes. I prayed silently that she would say yes. When I came back to reality, she was still thinking. She held her face in her hands as though she was ashamed. People were shouting, “Say yes!” from the crowd.
“We Are the Champions” started playing on the speakers, but I tuned it out. I got down on my knees, put my arms around her, and kissed her/ People started whooping or saying, “Aww!” I had embarrassed her and now I needed to make up for it. But from that pivotal moment forward, we were dating.
We weren’t the most romantic of couples. We didn’t have sensual make out sessions. We didn’t move in with each other three weeks into our relationship. And we certainly weren’t “star-crossed lovers”. But we did go out often. I would do some shows around Alaska like playing in the Anchorage Folk Festival. Every time, Ramona would show up wearing a T-shirt that bore the words, “I’m Dating the Singer.” And it was fun. She was a total delight to go out with. She enjoyed me and I enjoyed her. Everything was going great for us… or at least so I thought.
Then came the phone call.
“Hey,” I said, picking up the phone. “What’s up?”
R: I have to talk to you.
J: Me too. I’ve been thinking…
J: We should collaborate on my first album!
R: Jere- wait, what?
J: Yeah! Great idea, right? I got it all planned out.
J: Aren’t you stoked? It’ll be great! We’ll put-
R: Jeremy, shut up!
R: Jeremy, this isn’t easy for me to say but…
You know the rest.
After that phone call, I fell asleep. I hoped, dreamt, and prayed to God that she would come back to me.
“Dude, just heard the news. I’m here for you if you need me.”
“Darling, I am just astounded. Will be in touch.”
“Screw her, man. Let’s party.”
These were texts I read the following morning. Apparently, Ramona changed her relationship status on Facebook. It now read “Single”. The haunting of the night before hit me like a ton of bricks. It was almost gone after a good night’s sleep. I forgot about what had happened until I read the messages my friends had sent me. As much as I loved them, I wanted to strangle all of them for sending their condolences.
Jake sent the first text. He was Ramona’s older brother, so I knew he would be one of the first to know. Jake was a really cool guy. He was the type of person you could sit down with a soda and have a nice, long conversation with. I appreciated him for everything he had done for me and his willingness to listen to what I had to say. He remains one of my closest friends to this day.
Moriah sent the second text. We dated briefly in high school, but became really good friends after we broke up. I get the sense that she was still in love with me because she called me names like “Darling” or “Baby” or even “JereBear”. This was slightly unnerving to me.
Jimmy had sent the third text. He and I became friends through our mutual hatred of abortion clinics. It was the basis of our entire friendship. The thing about Jimmy is that he REALLY likes to party, like, more than anyone I have ever met. He was really the life of the party. I found the fact that when attending parties, he wore a horse mask, walking around yelling, “Did someone say horseplay?” It was quite funny and got whoops and applause every time he did it. I’d like to state for the record that he is not a nudist.
I texted each one of them the same thing. “Don’t. Remind. Me.” I hoped this got the message across that I didn’t want to talk about it. I was wrong. The second day after the break up, Moriah showed up with a Polar Bear mocha. When she did this, the coffee made it worse. I asked her politely to leave. She looked at me with sad eyes, patted me on the back, and did as she was told. Later that evening, Jimmy showed up with FOUR Costco sized packs of Red Bull. He wanted me to go out and party with him. “C’mon, man. You gotta give me something,” he tried to argue. I told him I just wanted to be alone. So he left too. Jake understood though. He didn’t bring gifts or give pep talks. He was there whenever I was ready.
Word broke out to my Twitter fan-base about Ramona breaking up with me. They also sent their condolences, which made me feel even worse. I began to seclude myself to my bedroom on an almost permanent basis, only leaving to go to the bathroom, grab more Ben and Jerry’s and Red Bull, and to plug in my laptop cord. I would sit there, checking my Twitter feed, watching movies, and playing World of Warcraft. It was a lonely life what with the only human interactions I got was that of a sexy blood elf named LolliLoad, who may or may not have been a dude. In retrospect, I don’t know if it was making me feel better or if it was just slapping a Band-Aid on things. It was kind of like morphine, numbs the pain temporarily and makes you loopy.
And then it hit me.
After a while of wallowing in my own self-pity, I decided to take to Twitter to apologize to Ramona myself.
“@RammyMarshall907 Thank you Ms. Marshall. Great going out with you. Sad it didn’t work out but glad we shared an amazing experience.”
This was my first Tweet since the break up. I got tidal waves of “Aww”’s and “You’re so Sweet!”’s. But the thing that hurt the most, the slap in the face, the cherry on top:
She didn’t respond.
I was crushed. I poured my heart and soul out to this girl, but she didn’t respond. Did she not care? I didn’t blame her though. I guess I just wished it had ended on my own terms. I did want to remain friends, but she needed space.
But deep down, I knew I wanted her back.
I knew I couldn’t live like this, so I did what I did best: I wrote music. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. I would spend days on end hidden from the world in my closet, because the acoustics were great and damn it, I was sad. I wrote night and day, spending 60 hours straight at a time writing music. It was hard to write songs about Ramona, but the feelings were so raw and fresh that it just poured out of me. I wanted it to be the perfect album, so I brought in my expert.
Jake came over later that day, whatever day it was. I was looking atrocious, wearing a green bathrobe and the same sweatpants for three weeks straight. I hadn’t showered since Ramona broke up with me and Jake made it evident that he took notice. “Hey,” I said, as he walked in with a sour look on his face.
“Let’s get this over with,” he replied.
I showed him all the songs. All 48 of them. It took about three hours to show him all of them and I’m 90% certain that he fell asleep during that time. When I finished, I cleared my throat. Jake kept his eyes closed, but said, “Dude, that sucked.” This bothered me. I had spent weeks trying to perfect the music and now my closest friend was telling me that it sucked. “But…But…But…” I blubbered, craving his positive opinion.
“It sucks. I’m sorry, but you have written some pretty crappy music.” He was very blunt about all of this. I wanted to cry. Agh! Part of me died inside. His eyes opened then. “But here’s how you make it better. Cut out every part that says ‘I love you’ or ‘You’ll always have a piece of me’ or ‘You’ll always be in my heart’ because that’s too sappy. Instead write about your pain because those are the songs that hit home. Your songs can’t be so glorifying of this woman as though she was a goddess. I love my sister, but she was terrible to you. She broke your heart. Write about that. I gotta go,” he finished. Before he left, I asked him the big question.
“Should I move to Anchorage?”
He looked at me and laughed. “No one should move to Anchorage. But hey, whatever floats your boat, man.” He left after this.
The next few days went by in a blur. I spent so much time writing those new songs that I didn’t realize that Ramona had left me over a month ago. I used this as fuel to write even further. She left me. I knew it was time to get over her. So I wrote about my experience. The album would be called “Alone in the World”. This would be my magnum opus. I wanted to be on the same scale as my musical heroes. The albums “A Rush of Blood to the Head” and “Ghost Stories”, both by Coldplay, were albums that I took inspiration from. Chris Martin’s break up with Gwyneth Paltrow was parallel to my own break up with Ramona. I only knew that I was lost. So I wrote.
Jake nodded his head in approval. “That’s what I’m talking about,” he said. I just finished performing “Alone in the World”. This time, it took a total of 48 minutes and I hoped Jake would pay attention this time. I poured my blood, sweat, tears, heart, and soul into this project and I hoped I hadn’t let him down. “Jerm, this is really solid stuff. I think you’re ready to record,” he said.
The following week, I spent time in the recording studio. The producer, Aidan, was a very burly gentleman. “Right, let’s get this done,” he said to me on the first day of recording. As I began to play the first song, I choked. I started crying. Aidan was saying, “Come on, guy. Let’s record.” I took a deep breath, shoved my memories of Ramona to the side, swallowed my shame, and sang the songs.
And almost like magic, my album was produced and released. I was sent 20 copies of the CD. Opening the box to the CD’s was surreal. It was the first time I had ever opened a box of my CD’s. I was happy. It was the first time I had been legitimately happy since the break up.
Following the release of “Alone in the World”, I moved to Anchorage. I took Jake’s vague answer seriously. I had been in Talkeetna in my house for a very long time. Part of me adores the place. Part of me wanted to burn it to the ground. The majority of me just didn’t care about it anymore. So with the money I got from selling it, I put up enough money for a nice little condo.
It was a charming little thing. The carpet and walls were a glowing cream color with matching trim along the doorframes. There were 1 ½ bathrooms, 2 bedrooms, a quaint living room with furniture, a small kitchen/dining room, an electric fireplace, free WiFi, and a balcony overlooking Fire Island, where I watched the summer sunsets. I installed a TV and a sound system that was put by the fireplace. The master bedroom had a king size bed in it, a bookshelf, a TV, and a dresser. It was connected to a huge walk-in closet and a master bathroom. This place was a lot better than Talkeetna.
With a new roof over my head, I began to lead a quiet life. Costco was down the street and I would shop there religiously. I would go to the theater, buy tickets to random movies, and watch whatever was playing. I would take selfies with girls who listened to “Alone in the World” for them to post on their Instagrams. I became an Average Joe. It was during this time that I was on the quest to find the best cup of coffee in town when I saw her.
I was in Anchorage for seven months following the break up until I saw Ramona again. She lived in Palmer at the time, so my mind was boggled at why she was in a coffee shop in Anchorage. As I walked into the lovely coffee shop, I planned my escape at a heightened pace. I imagined attempting to run from the shop, but I knew that would draw even more attention to myself. I just avoided making eye contact so that we wouldn’t have an awkward conversation, but she still saw me. She got up from the spot she was sitting at and came up to me.
“What are you doing here, friend?” she hissed, not looking or sounding at all pleased to see me. I thought back to my plans to run, but I had already spent $4.95 on a cup of coffee, so I didn’t want to leave and waste my money. I tried to be as cool, calm, and collected as possible.
“Oh, hey, Ramona. Yeah, I was just buying a cup of coffee on my way home,” I replied. “How are you?” When I asked this, she snorted.
“Fine,” she said. There was a quiver in her voice. She was angry.
“What are you doing in town?” I inquired, more so to feed my own curiosity.
“Getting a dress for Melanie’s wedding next week.”
Oh right. The wedding.
Melanie is Ramona’s older sister. While we were dating, Ramona took it upon herself to hire me as the wedding singer. I didn’t want to back out of it at the last minute just because Ramona and I had broken up. In my months following the break up, I had forgotten about it, so I knew I had to either build a setlist to cover or write one myself. My playlists were legendary, so I needed to make this one a good one just to rub it in Ramona’s face.
“Oh, that’s right! Man, I forgot about it,” I said, being totally honest. She looked at me like I was an idiot.
“God, you’re so stupid,” was her response. She wore high heels that day, so I was able to look at her without tilting my head so far down that it touched my chest.
“Jeremy Cabb,” the barista said. Perfect timing, I thought to myself. I walked to pick up my coffee.
“Nice to see you again, Ramona,” I said as I began to walk out. She looked like she was about to round house kick me in the face.
“I’m not done with you!” She started to follow me out. I ignored her. It was a bright spring day, and because of that, I had ridden my bike out and was riding back to my condo. The temperature was relaxing at 62 degrees and there was a night, light breeze. She stopped me as I attempted to unlock my bike.
“Let me make this clear,” she started. “ If you screw up at the wedding, I will kill you. Literally kill you.”
Death threats? This wasn’t going to scare me.
“Go away,” I responded, pouring my Polar Bear mocha into my thermos. She took the thermos from my hand. “Hey!” I exclaimed.
Ramona then proceeded to pour the coffee on my Batman Chuck Taylors.
Hot coffee seeped through my shoes and burned my feet. “OW!” I moaned, gritting my teeth.
“You’ve been warned,” she said, ominously.
As she began to walk away, hot rage filled my body. I knew that I needed to convince myself that she was not a good person to be in love with. When I thought of this I realized something.
In order to make Ramona jealous, I needed a date to the wedding.
MISTAKE #1: Writing the Worst Setlist Known to Man
When I got home that evening, I threw something together to wear. I picked out a black suit, with a black shirt and a golden tie. That was the easy part. The hard part was coming up with the set list. So, the night before the wedding, I googled “Top Love Songs of the 2000’s”. What I got was a list of songs that normally I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole. For example, “Crazy in Love” and “Hey There Delilah” were both in the top five.
MISTAKE #2: Performing Said Setlist
The next day at the wedding reception, I performed the list. It started out okay. “Hey There Delilah” sounded pretty good, but after the initial guitar love ballads, it sounded horrible. Beyoncé music does not translate well to the guitar. As I began to sing Paramore’s “The Only Exception”, people began to boo me off the stage. Not only were Jeremy Cabb fans disgusted, but also the bride and groom burst out crying.
MISTAKE #3: Drinking So Much Red Bull That I Told Ramona That I Wanted To Get Back Together With Her
After the failure of my wedding singing capabilities, I decided to pull a Jimmy. I went to the bar, bought three 20 oz Red Bulls, and drank them all without stopping. With all worries to the effects on my health out the window, I became slightly caffeine intoxicated. And then, to top it all off, Ramona appeared.
“There you are, you snob,” she said to me.
“Heeeey! How you doin’? Damn, you lookin’ good,” I said, really excitedly.
She was disgusted. “You’re drunk.”
“Nope. Just drank LOTS of Red Bull,” I responded, pointing to the three large cans in front of me. “Let’s make out.”
She slapped me hard across the face. “You are a sick animal! First, you ruin my sister’s wedding by playing every song from the 2000’s that people wanted to forget, and then you expect me to make out with you? What the hell is the matter with you? Are you crazy or just plain stupid? You’re an egotistical jerk with a fan base of twelve-year old girls who have no taste! I hate you!”
By this point, she was shouting and everybody was beginning to stare at us. “I’m sorry,” I said, just trying to shut her up.
“No! Shut up, Jeremy! You’re not sorry! You’re never sorry! You are so self-centered! You only care about yourself and it is so crushing. It gave me so much anxiety dating you. I hate the fact that you can’t talk about anything but yourself. No woman should ever love you. You don’t deserve love!” She was pouring out all these feelings, things that she never brought up in our relationship.
I’ll be honest, I zoned out a little bit after this, but it looked like she was done when she said, “If someone else ever falls for you like I did, then may God have mercy on their soul.”
I laughed even more. “God, I love you. Can we get back together?”
She slapped me again, said “I hope you die,” and walked away.
I spent a lot of time thinking that night. I knew she was right. I was an egotistical jerk. I knew it from the moment I brought her up on that stage when we started dating. I hadn’t said anything that made it any better. I was so focused on myself that I let the most important person in my life slip through my fingers like sand.
I knew then and there it was over for good.
The next day, I slept in. This is significant because usually I’m up at 8:30 am at latest, but that day I slept in until 2 pm. When my phone was on silent, I got several texts. Jake wasn’t talking to me because, like Ramona, Melanie, Todd the groom, and everyone else born after 1990 at the wedding, he was frustrated with my choice in music. He called it a “tasteless disgrace”. Now that my best friend wasn’t talking to me, I thought my other friends would be of some assistance. Nope.
Moriah was still trying to get back together with me by buying me tons of coffee, so there was no way I was talking with her. Jimmy wasn’t any help either. All he was offering to do was take me to clubs to party. Nobody was paying attention. They were either too oblivious to notice or so self-centered about their own agenda that they didn’t care about my feelings. I realized this is how I made Ramona feel. I wanted to help, but I was too obsessed with what I wanted to do.
What the hell is wrong with me? I thought to myself. I had spent so much time focusing on myself that the one person I loved more than anything else had been left out. And now she was gone. I screamed at the top of my lungs. I began to cry. I bawled my eyes out. The realization that she was gone finally started setting in. I had lost her.
My thoughts over the next few days were as such:
• Can I get back with Ramona?
• I should call her
• No, she doesn’t want me.
• I love her.
• Want bacon pancakes
• Makin’ bacon pancakes
• Mmm… Bacon pancakes
• Overwhelming sadness
• Ramona Sadness.
I listened to “Alone in the World” a lot during this time. It was my apology letter in song form. I never wanted to treat anyone the way I treated her. I had been a jerk and no one deserved this. I knew what I had to do.
First, I called Melanie.
J: Hey Mel.
M: Jeremy, what the hell? Its like 3 am here, what do you want?
J: I wanted to apologize for my horrible wedding performance.
J: So I’m sorry.
J: I was going through a rough time and I wrote what I felt was necessary.
J: So what are you doing?
M: Sleeping, Jeremy. Its 3 am and I’m on my honeymoon.
J: Shoot, sorry! Bye!
Apologize to Melanie. Check
Next, I texted Jake.
“Hey man. I’m sorry about the wedding. Ram and Mel gave me a hard time about it so I thought I’d say sorry.”
About 3 minutes later, I received a reply.
“Sorry about giving you the silent treatment. It was hard. Wanna go for coffee?”
I replied yes. After showering and shaving, I put some jeans and a T-shirt on. I felt like a new man. At noon, Jake and I met at a coffee shop near us.
“Dude, you look great!” he said, impressed by my happy new aura.
“I feel great!” I replied, giving him a bro hug. “How are you?”
He was taken aback by the question. “You feeling OK? You’ve never asked me how I’m doing,” he inquired.
I laughed. “Yes, I’m fine. I’m just trying to be a better friend.” He laughed with me.
As we ordered coffee, we talked about nothing but him. I mainly listened as he told me how he was frustrated with his boss at work and how he was dating a new girl. “She’s really cool. I think she may be the one,” he said.
“Congrats, bro,” I said, patting his back. It honestly felt really good to talk about him. I realized how little I knew about him. He really enjoyed Coen Brothers movies and Cherry Coke. As he took a sip of his black coffee, he said to me, “You talk to Ramona yet?”
I looked at him, surprised. “Not since she belittled me at the wedding. Why?” I asked.
“She’s dating a new guy.”
My heart imploded. I had shortness of breath. My head hurt. I felt like I was dying. I got up and walked out. “Jeremy, wait!” Jake called after me. I thought I was over her. I knew it wasn’t done. I… I… I…
I ran into the street. Cars flew by me right and left. Horns honked and people shouted out their windows. I fell to my knees in the middle of the street. It didn’t matter anymore. Jake yelled something at me, but the sound of screeching tires and a large CRASH drowned it out, as I eas struck by a truck.
As it turned out, I survived. I was able to come off of it scot-free… well not scot-free as I had a severe concussion and a broken arm. I was in a coma for about a week. When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was. Jake sat by my bed.
“Hey buddy,” he said, noticing I was awake.
“Hey,” I said, lacking the energy to say much else.
“You’ve been out for a while. How’re you feeling?” He seemed pretty concerned.
“G-g-good…” I stammered, mustering all my power. Jake laughed.
“Well, that’s good, hot shot.”
I looked around the room. There were flowers all over the place. Jake saw what I was looking at. “Yeah, it seems everyone you know brought flowers,” he said. “Those ones are from Moriah, those from Jimmy, then Melanie and Todd, Jessi, and Ramona.” Ramona sent me flowers. Wow.
I think I’m OK now.
And then I was laughing. I was laughing at a joke that Jake just told to me. To this day, I don’t remember what the joke was or what it was even about, but I remember I laughed my head off. We were back in Palmer at the Coffee Master’s. And for once, we were sitting somewhere else other than my spot. I think I’m done with that spot. It had a lot of good memories, but that chapter of being an egotistical punk was over.
In a way, the break up with Ramona was a good thing. Had we not broken up, it would’ve been chaos. I would be a huge jerk, dating someone who deserves better. Jake took a sip of his coffee. The bitter smell of it scorched my nose hairs.
And then there she was.
She was a beautiful young woman. She stood there in her short summer skirt and Nirvana T-shirt. Her white complexion glistened in the sunlight, making her glow. She had long flame blue hair and wore a brown cap. Her eyes were a roaring green. Her pretty face looked down at her iPhone.
Her name was Chelsea Way. Then and there I knew she was for me.
Here’s what’s going on now:
• Melanie and Todd are now living in California. They’re expecting twins. They no longer hate me for the wedding.
• Jessi Johanson is currently running the Palmer Coffee Master’s Shop. I get free coffee every time I go there.
• Jimmy now owns a party store. I miss him. He still parties hard.
• Moriah is currently dating one of the Carolina Panthers. She moved to North Carolina to live with him. She has probably moved on from me.
• Jake recently got engaged. He asked me to be the best man at the wedding, but also made me promise to not sing any Beyoncé. I agreed to his terms.
• I called Ramona and thanked her for the flowers. She was surprised by this, but accepted it. In a way, this story is a thank you. Thank you, Ramona Marshall.
• Alone in the World sold 3 million copies in the US and won the Grammy for Album of the Year.
• I introduced myself to Chelsea Way that day. And from then on she was the love of my life.
I love you.
• So yeah. That happened.
Yeah so, I want to thank people.
Thanks to my family, for being awesome and for being a solid foundation for me to work on.
Thanks to Zach, Max, and Richard, for being there for whatever.
Thanks to Jason Harper for rereading this and challenging me to go further.
Thanks to M83, Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, Kanye West, The Smiths (even though they broke up), and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis for the magnificent music that has inspired this piece.
Thanks to South Anchorage High School, mainly for computer purposes, but also for the education I guess.
Thanks to all the coffee lovers, guitar players, hipsters, heart breakers, and Ramona Marshalls in the world. You provide inspiration and that’s helpful… for the most part.
Yep. I’m done.