There was really only one thing for Henry to do once Casey had left, and that was to get over her- to move on.
Well, honestly, there were a number of things, including moping, not sleeping, daydreaming, and losing interest in all daily activities- including eating, walking, and breathing. All of which Henry did for a long time.
He couldn't deny the fact that his heart was broken. He understood that this shit happens, and it was destined to happen to him. But that didn't make him feel even slightly better. And that's all he really wanted by the third month- to feel better. However, it was starting to feel like an impossibility.
Every morning he woke up and crossed a day off his calendar, conveniently hung on the wall next to his medicine cabinet, where he was sure to stop every morning for a nice does of Vicodin. He'd been marking off days since she had left. It was sad really. When Casey told him she was leaving to do standup comedy on a cruise ship for six months, the first thing to enter his mind (as much as he hated to admit it) was "How do I talk her out of this?" Of course a step back and a strong desire to see Casey succeed in life and be truly happy snapped him out of his selfish desires. It was when she told him she was leaving the next day that almost made him say what he really wanted to out loud.
The key word, however, is "almost." Henry said nothing when Casey left. Nothing seemed to be the right thing to say or even worth saying. He watched her drive off for the last time and felt ten thousand words working their way up his throat and still he said nothing. And now, he was paying for it every time he put a heavy slash through a day of the week. Again- it was quite sad.
Today, however, Henry was tired of feeling sad. He flipped ahead on the calendar three months, just like he'd done a dozen times before, and saw the day Casey would get back circled in bright red. Scribbled in it was a phone number- Casey's. Henry had Casey's number in his phone and in his head already, but something compelled him to write it on the calendar. He had this vision of waking up some morning and not knowing what day it was. He'd walk to the cabinet like he always did, check the date, look away, and then look back, dumbfounded to see that it was in fact the day of Casey's return. He'd then drop his pill bottle, scramble to his phone, and get to hear the sweet voice that was Casey Klein. Extended versions of this vision ended in hours of sweet love making, marriage, and tiny Casey/Henry look-alikes running around their front yard.
Henry smirked and let out small, defeated chuckle as he eyed the circled date, replaying his dreams over in his head. Even now he could see Casey's face clearly in his mind as if he'd just run into her yesterday. But a vision wasn't enough anymore. He'd sulked over being lonely and heartbroken for too long, and it was starting to wear down on his pride. This teenage angst was getting the best of him, and he had to pull himself out of it.
It took him a minute, but he slowly pulled the pushpin out of the wall that was holding the calendar up, tossed the calendar in the trash, and pulled out his phone. He hesitated for a second, took a deep breath, checked the clock to make sure it wasn't a weird time, took another deep breath, and dialed the only number he thought would help: Uda Bengt's.
"I'm glad you called, Henry. It's good to finally hear from you," Uda said, sipping her glass of chardonnay. Henry glances down at his half eaten meal and then back at Uda, smiling.
"I wasn't sure you'd even still be interested," he said casually, doing his best at attempting to flirt. It had really been awhile.
"I'll admit, it did put me off a bit when you didn't immediately call, but I can understand some people take… time to warm up to an idea. Your business is your own of course- I won't pry," she said, slicing a small piece of her chicken parmesan off and popping it into her mouth primly.
Henry smirked and cut a piece off of his own steak. Maybe if things worked out between him and Uda, then he'd tell her about Casey- at least a little anyway. But for now, it seemed like a bad way to end a first date. So, instead, the conversation went back to Uda's son, who had just turned five. Even though Uda was a bit uptight and harsh and maybe a little rough around the edges, it was nice to hear her talk about her son. You could tell that she really did enjoy her role as a mother and took it- and love for that matter- very seriously. Henry told himself that this was an important thing to look for in a relationship- someone who openly cared for others and knew the importance of actual living as opposed to dreaming. He told himself that there were certain times in life when one had to abandon "following your heart," and being foolish. He repeated it in his head so much he started to believe it.
"Well, thank you for dinner, Henry," Uda said when Henry paid for the check. "It was very good, the service a bit slow, but it was cooked precisely how I asked."
Henry nodded and shoved his hands in his pockets awkwardly.
"Yeah, I enjoyed it too. And ya know, it's good to be served instead of the other way around once in awhile, know what I mean?" Henry asked, chuckling and trying to make a bad, occupational joke. Uda was also a caterer.
Uda's face remained unchanged, however.
"I try to maintain a perfect balance of work and pleasure, Henry. I rarely discuss work outside of work. That would be impractical and unprofessional," she said, the same stony expression on her face.
Henry opened his mouth once but closed it, not knowing how to respond to that.
"That's… yeah…" he started, looking around the space above Uda's head like he usually did when he got nervous.
"I'd like you to come back to my place, Henry," Uda said, not seeming to notice how uncomfortable her last comment had made Henry. He was caught off guard again.
"Well, I um… if-"
"Not for sex. I don't have sex on first dates," she said simply, as if she said the same thing to everyone she knew daily (which, in all fairness, she just might).
"Oh," Henry started. More awkwardness ensued. His shoulders started to slump like he was going to cave in on himself. "Well I-"
"I like you, Henry," Uda said, interrupting him again. "I think you should come back to my place and we can… talk," she said, finally changing her expression to a gentle smile. Henry couldn't deny that she was very pretty- especially when she smiled.
It wasn't Uda's beauty that entered Henry's mind just then, however. At the sheer mention of going back to Uda's to "talk," Henry's thoughts drifted, of all places, back to Casey. He was thinking of the night they catered a porn star awards after party. Casey ended up getting high on ecstasy and had suggested a similar "talking" idea. At the time, with Henry's feelings towards Casey rapidly growing, the thought of bonding with her on a more emotional level- high or not- was a dream come true. Unfortunately for Henry, though, Casey ended up sick and the both of them went back to their apartments alone. Henry felt like the only guy in the world who'd ever been turned down by a chick for wanting to talk.
"Henry?" Uda snapped, impatient at the vacant stare Henry was giving her.
"What? Oh, right, talking," he started, straightening his posture and smiling. "Yeah that sounds… That sounds great."