September 24, 2018


>Once, I had the notion on a Sunday afternoon that baking abatch of chocolate chip cookies would be a cathartic experience. Iwent to Ralphs, I bought the ingredients, I read the directions onthe back of the chips. But as I stirred the batter in a huge bowl, Iknew something wasn’t right.

I didn’t remember my mother’s batter looking so…chalky. It tasted fine so I pressed on. I spent the next hour makingbatch after batch of puffy, disfigured quasi-cookies. It finallydawned on me that I had never added the eggs. But after so much work,I was determined to see the good in those freaky, spongy little ballsof sugar. After all, there was still so much right about thosecookies.

It took me two weeks to toss them out. So you canimagine how long I hold onto ex-boyfriends.

You know, epiphanies come few and far between inmy life, so I can’t turn this one away, even if it does involvesomething as un-profound as cookies.

Flying in the face of conventional wisdom, I’malways trying to keep ex- boyfriends as friends. Close friends. Ican’t let go because I’ve invested so much time, and even if therelationship didn’t quite congeal, it always seems tempting to tryand hold on to what was good and sweet.

The problem is the plate full of inedible cookies.And at that, it may be time to leave this metaphor behind. It’sover-cooked.

This epiphany came to me after hitting a personallow. Distraught over some little thing I can’t even remember now, Icall my most recent ex. No answer.

So, I did what any compulsive ex would do. Ipaged. No answer. I paged with a 911. Finally, he called back.Speaking in hushed tones, he informed me this was a bad time to talkand hung up. That’s when I went “Fatal Attraction” and hit the old*69. Next thing I knew, I was listening to the answering machine ofmy ex’s current girlfriend. At this, most would stop. I hit *69again. Someone has taken the phone off the hook. I commenced to chainsmoke and experienced a vivid nausea I attribute to the sort ofjealousy, loss and anger combo that really gives those AlanisMorrisette songs such a satisfying feel.

Then I remembered about the cookies. I never could throwanything away, but some things are most valuable in the losing ofthem.

For years, wiser women than myself have explainedthe concept of the “clean break,” but I have had the hubris to thinkthat I could outsmart the system. In this case, that I could keepthis guy’s sense of humor, his willing rides to the airport, ourprivate jokes and nicknames, while doing away with a romanticconnection that didn’t quite work.

It’s so sad to let people just pass through yourlife. Yet, that’s what happens. They go and are replaced, asinevitably as seasons change and stars explode and flowers bloom. Ican’t stop those things. And if I tried, I’d be one frustrated woman.A woman running the serious risk of being stuck with the unfortunatemoniker “psychotic ex-girlfriend,” as in “take your phone off thehook, my psychotic ex-girlfriend has just discovered *69.” That isnot how I would like to be known.

I’d rather be known as someone who accepts realityeven when it hurts. Because that would make me one smartcookie.