How was your day? Good? Mine, too.
I’m a little confused: mostly because I decided to watch For Colored Girls on BET and when I turned the channel, I saw a preview for a show called Being Mary Jane and this woman said, “Did his penis enter any hole in your body?” I was startled and didn’t expect it. It would have been great if you were here. I could have used you. And that’s what confuses me… what helps me so much also hurts me to the core. It all started tonight. On Mondays, I’ve started taking longer runs–longer than most of the others throughout the week. I do that because I have you come over. Mondays are our day. I pull up the Dominos app, and I have you saved under a special order name called “Mmm Boy.” A deep dish pepperoni pizza with a 20 oz Diet Coke. #Blessed, indeed. I went on a run tonight and I was going to invite you over, like every other Monday. But somewhere around mile three, a clarity washed over me, and I think I finally fully understood the lyrics to Taylor Swift’s “Clean” for the first time. Gone was every trace of you, I think I am finally clean.
Disheveled and disoriented, I stumbled through the door and immediately turned on Death Cab for Cutie–it’s the only music that seems appropriate when you’ve finally realized that someone in your life is growing apart from you. I laid in the floor and listened to the lyrics of “Talking Bird” and thought about us. I remembered back in high school, when we’d meet up on Friday nights instead of Mondays. I didn’t have any friends, so my parents would order pizza and we’d watch Reba, and man did you know how to make me smile. Do you remember that? Those were such good times. We were thick, man. You were my world, and you kept me sane. You gave me something to look forward to. A little Friday Night Special with hot sauce and Lowry’s garlic salt. You knew how to make a boy feel alive. You knew how to make me feel like me.
And then in college. Ooh boy, was college fun. Fun and interesting and hard and honest. We experimented a little bit in college, didn’t we? Jalapeno and chicken, sometimes with white sauce, quietly behind closed doors–cautiously pushing one slice more at a time, figuring out what we were comfortable with. By this time, you had shifted to Thursdays, and though the toppings often changed, the spirit remained the same. A Coke and a pizza to accompany Grey’s Anatomy. Sometimes, you felt like the only thing that stayed the same. When my family had issues and when I had issues. When I was in the middle of figuring myself out, I knew that pizza would always be waiting on me. Remember when the Resident Director came into my room and found all of your boxes shoved in the storage space? There must have been at least 15, situated ever so carefully so not to knock over the empty Jack Daniels bottles you would hang out with. College was weird and awkward, but you were my champion, and in time, we went back to where we started: pepperoni with extra cheese.
By the time I was finishing up my thesis, you were almost tri-weekly. I began to know the delivery drivers by name–my boys in blue. They saw the pain in my eyes, and they knew that I needed you. In a way, I think you needed me too. I’m convinced that the reason my first Macbook failed was not because it had been through five years of classes and extensive papers but because after each pizza, the smallest of grease drops would collect in the keyboard and your essence finally overtook the hard drive. It’s a decision I do not regret. That’s the thing–I’ve never regretted you. I never could. The ethereal and timeless 90s heart throb, Bryan Adams, said it best, “When you love someone, you’ll do anything. You’ll do all the crazy things that you can’t explain.”
Moving to Washington D.C. was difficult. When you go from living in the same place your entire life to moving to a brand new city where you know no one, you wouldn’t imagine how difficult it is to adjust. My friend once told me that when she moved, she would go and walk around in a Target just to relax because even if the floor plan was slightly different, a Target is the same in every location. Cady said the same thing about Math in Mean Girls, and I’m saying the same thing about you, in this letter. Of course the boys in blue weren’t the same, but they became my boys in blue again. Granted, they spoke very little English and only knew me as Mr. Justin. Actually, I believe the only other two English phrases they’ve spoken to me is “You love pizza,” and “You move to better house.” But as much as I love them, it was always about you. You’re my Reva Shayne. My Mr. Big. I’m just a boy, standing in front of a food dish, asking it to love him. You remember that reference? It’s from Notting Hill. I ate you while we watched that, too.
But now here we are. We find ourselves on Mondays, watching The Bachelor or worse The Bachelorette or even worse, Bachelor in Paradise. I convince myself that I’ll only eat half of you and then there’s an empty box and a vaguely upset stomach. I’m three years into this Washington journey, and do you know what people in Washington have in common with one another? They love to make each other feel lesser by highlighting the things they like about themselves. Overwhelmingly, it tends to be money-based, or social status. I’m finding that they’re also increasingly vain. I could sit here and lie to you and tell you that it has nothing to do with that. I could tell you that I’ve been shockingly diagnosed with Celiac disease and an intolerance to gluten (they love that, too), but I’ve never lied to you. As I’ve began to run more, I’ve found that I like the energy that comes with it. I like the meager weight loss I’ve experienced. And to be honest, if another one of my friends tells me about how great my personality is in the midst of a conversation about appearance, I’m going to go full-Carrie-White.
In this moment, I’m reminded of one of my favorite Tegan and Sara songs, “Call it Off.” There’s a chance I’ll start to wonder if this is the thing to do.
I don’t know, Dominos. I don’t.
Can any of us every truly know if the decisions that we’re making are the right ones? I just know that I’m trying to do this for myself, and I’m not saying that we’ll never see each other again. It’s a small world. We’re always at the same parties, and like any other break up where two parties really care about each other, I’m sure they’ll be times that I’ll call you up at random. But this regular thing we have–this relationship. It can’t keep going. Not like this. And this is most assuredly not about another chain. In my pizza world, there’s you and there’s me. No one else. I just need to take myself out of that world for a little bit. I need to do this for me. You’ve changed my life. You’ve made me smile on the darkest days, and I’m confident you’ll do the same for someone else. And in the mean time, remember me as a push of a button. An excited voice on the other end of the line. A welcoming signature that didn’t mind tipping a little more than other patrons. Remember me as someone who will always love you, even if from a distance.