Chapter 4 of Life After 30
Maya takes a deep breath and knocks on the apartment door.
It opens and it’s Dylan.
“Oh, hey Maya. Um, Will isn’t here.”
From inside the apartment, Will’s distinct voice comes through, “Hey man, where do you keep your disinfectant.”
Will rolls his eyes. “Your ex is such a clean freak.”
“After eight years of being with him, I’m aware. You should take that as a plus. So, can I talk to him?”
Dylan backs away from the door to let Maya in. There’s a fresh clean scent in the air, normal for Maya, but different in Dylan’s apartment, who isn’t the cleanest person in the world. She wonders how long it took for Will to get it like this.
“Will, Maya’s here, bro. You gave yourself away.”
Will pops his head up from under the sink, where he was looking for cleaning products.
Dylan backs away, “I’ll be in my room, if you need me. Hopefully you won’t.” He retreats down the hallway and once Maya could hear his door close, she started.
“Looks like you’re making this place inhabitable.”
Maya nods, pausing before she dives in, head first.
“I have a favor to ask of you.”
Will leans against the counter and crosses his arms. He’s guarded.
“And what’s that?”
“I’ve been having a hell of a time trying to wrap my head around our breakup. We’ve been together for so long…”
Will just stares at her, waiting for her to get to the point.
“So long that it’s going to be hard to explain our break up to all of our friends that are planning to come to my birthday party next weekend…”
Still, Will stands there, waiting.
“And I was hoping that just for that one night, we act like we’re still together. Just so that I don’t have to answer a ton of questions and get emotional.”
Will begins to shake his head, “That doesn’t sound like a great idea to me, Maya.”
“It’s just one night! For like, five hours. And then we’ll be broken up for good.”
“I don’t know… it just sounds to me like you’re afraid of what everyone is going to think of you.”
“Well I don’t want them to pity me. I want people to be happy for me. You have to admit, it was a dick move breaking up with me right before my birthday. You know how much I was looking forward to it.”
Will sighs. “Who cares if they pity you. If you’re happy at your birthday party, they’ll be happy.” He pauses before, “Okay, I’ll give you that, it was a dick move. But I’ve had it with this worrying about how you come off to other people and comparing yourself to them.”
“You know that’s not what it’s about.”
“That’s how I see it.”
“Please, just think about it. It’ll be the last thing I ask of you.”
Well, he didn’t say no, thought Maya when she got back to her place.
After setting her purse down on the table by the door, she goes to her laptop, resting on the kitchen island countertop.
Maya logs in and heads to her email. She checks the RSVP for her birthday.
Maya felt like she had a valid point. Breaking up with someone right before their birthday was uncalled for. It’s one of the worst times to break up with someone, followed by the death of a family member and right before the holidays.
The least he could do for her is act like that never happened so that she doesn’t have to answer a million questions by her friends.
Most of them were also expecting a ring on her finger by then as well. How could she say that instead of going to the next step of their relationship, they were ending it?
Okay so maybe Will was a little right that she was worried about what others may think. But while that was 1%, 99% was how disappointed she felt to not be able to make one of her goals.
She wanted her 30s to be about marriage and starting a family. Now she had to start all over to get to that point?
Most of her friends were either already engaged, married, or having kids. Maya was hoping that she could jump into all that with them very soon. But now? Who knows how long it would take to get back in the game.
That’s why there was a small 5% hope in her heart that if Will agreed to her favor, that during her birthday party, he would realize that Maya was everything he was looking for. That a week apart would make him miss her and that they would have so much fun at the party, he would change his mind. And then, after she blew out the candles on her birthday cake she ordered from the bougie bakery downtown, he would get down on one knee and pull out the small box he had all along and propose to her.
Yes, there was still a chance.
Maya scrolls down the list of guests who’ve recently RSVP’d and stops at one name.
Really it’s spelled Carolyn, but she had it changed. The letter K is so much more sophisticated than the letter C, don’t you think? I feel like it just suits me better, she explained to Maya once.
Karolyn Keats has been Maya’s nemesis since college. They always acted polite in front of each other but once Maya got away from Karolyn, she would fume about how braggy Karolyn always was.
Karolyn was always one step ahead of Maya with success. She had a couple books published already and one on the way. Unfortunately, she publishes with Big Book House, so Maya occasionally sees her around the office. But fortunately, Maya has not had to work with her directly. She could only imagine how it was to be Karolyn’s editor. Karolyn was notorious for not taking edits and suggestions lightly.
Despite Maya not liking Karolyn very much, she only sent the invitation as a courtesy since Karolyn invited Maya to her 29th birthday last year. Maya didn’t go, making up a work excuse as to why she couldn’t come.
She was hoping that Karolyn would do the same thing.
But now she was coming to Maya’s birthday.
And Maya couldn’t bare to explain to her nemesis that her long-time boyfriend broke up with her when she was sure that he was going to propose.
The only thing Maya felt like she had going for her (before the breakup) was that she could get engaged before Karolynn did.
As far as she knew, Karolynn was with her current boyfriend for about six months. At least that’s what she and Lauren could deduce from her Facebook and Instagram.
Now, more than ever, Maya needed Will to agree to being her unbroken-up boyfriend.
Come back every Friday for the next installment of Life After 30!