My grad-school group was working on a final project that required consumer interviews. We cheated, bypassed the interviews and skipped straight to the insightful interview conclusions. When formulating our research results, we were in need of subject quotations, and for those we typically IMed various friends, whoever was online. After a few responses, one of my group members questioned to whom I was talking.

“Molly, are you dating that guy? Are you in love with him?”

I was surprised that she asked, but assured her that no, I definitely was not, as I am very single and in no way am I dating my interview subject. I then learned that my entire group is single and what’s even better (worse), all four of us have had five+-year relationships, and all of those relationships (one being a marriage) have ended from the other partner cheating. After sharing and bonding over mutual bitterness, we returned back to the project and fake interviews. Once again, I was interrupted.

“Molly, if you’re not dating that guy, why do you smile each time you read his response?”

I hadn’t realized that I was doing that. But he always makes me smile – one of his most annoying characteristics. Today, he has spent three hours emailing his account about being attacked by a monster last night. A monster of a slightly bluish hue attacked – unprovoked – after a cookie was stolen; luckily he slit his throat to end the death battle. I like his unassuming humor – it’s typically clever and very dry.

“Seriously, we’re not dating – I’m talking to my ex.”

And then I saw a mixture of amusement and pity reflected in all their faces.

“And you’re still in love with him.”

Deaf to my denials and guffawed, Oh whatever’s, they then reassigned me from interview duty to background research. To keep me away from him.

I hate that these people who barely know me can read me. I have been proud of myself lately, thinking that I really had turned a new corner/leaf/bad clichéd phrase. I honestly thought that I was doing well.

J.Crew recently had their swimsuits on clearance; when I tried on their tops, my lack of boob was embarrassingly evident. NONE. Molly no-boob is what the salesgirl kept calling me. True story. She was even pointing and laughing – I cried a little bit. Typically, I wear bras somewhat padded in nature (I don’t want to nip-out at the office) and over time, I have almost convinced myself that some of that padding actually belongs to my boob. Because I want it to be true and voila! the mirror validates my wishful thinking.

As weird as that metaphor is, I thought that because I keep telling myself that I am over it that must translate to mean that I am. I want it to be true – I want to be over it. I even play the it’s not me, it’s him card – – HE is the one that is still hanging on; HE is the one that still calls the break-up the biggest mistake of his life. It’s always only him. I look in the mirror and see the semblance of a bust; therefore, boobs must be under there somewhere.

To convince myself that I am healthy, I have even established unspoken rules. I legitimately try to never initiate contact; another one is that I genuinely try not to flirt with him. We talk, but as friends, and when his conversation veers toward the flirty/sexual nature, I stop it. Blatantly stop it (“No, you don’t get to know what I am wearing right now. What did you have for lunch today?”). These boundary rules were originally established out of necessity to retain my sanity, especially since I don’t have enough willpower to sever all contact, and now I almost use them as validation that he is the one that can’t let go.

I lie to myself, perhaps, a little too often.

It took one IM conversation for three almost-strangers to call me out on my lack of progress. Everyone else has been so positive and helpful in my avoidance. My friends don’t ask if we’re still talking and I don’t tell them. They let me live in my world of denial and oblivion. I am happy there. And now my little grad-school group want to bring me back to reality. Which IS NOT AS FUN. I guess this negates any possibility of inviting them on a beach vacation – they’d totally call me out on wearing the wrong size bra (“A B? Are you KIDDING? There’s NO WAY you’re a B!”) and re-instigate the nickname of Molly no-boob. And there’s no way I want to live through that mockery again.