It would have been torture going to that last show, so we didn't. Instead, we bought us some wine and a bunch of junk food, and became sloppy blubbering messes late into the last night of our last 5SOS road trip.
Sometime during my pity party, I received a text from Michael. He was wondering if he'd have a dance partner at the after party they were having.
To Mikey: Sorry, but I wasn't invited.
From Mikey: that's bullshit. i'm inviting you then. ash is being a dick. he won't even talk to us, but i'm guessing you guys had a falling out or something?
To Mikey: More like a breakup.
From Mikey: noooo 😕 sorry. this makes me sad.
To Mikey: Me, too. But you've seen how he is now. For whatever reason it's because of me. I can't let him keep being like that. I love him too much.
From Mikey: it's gonna be so rough on him. but i understand. i'll miss you.
Tears were falling onto my phone screen. I'd gone all night without crying. Thanks, Mikey.
To Mikey: I'll miss you, too. I hope I'll see you again, though, when Ash is okay. Will you please tell the others bye for me?
From Mikey: i will. don't be a stranger. Xx
To Mikey: Thanks, Mikey. Have fun at your party. ❤
A new wave of sadness came over me when I realized that I was also losing Michael as a friend. He talked like he wanted to stay in touch. But I knew the natural order of things, and he'd forget about me soon enough.
I was so glad to get that trip over with. It had some good moments, but I was ready to put it behind me and move on. But I first had to break the news to my mother. She didn't understand why I'd ever break it off with Ashton, even after I explained my reasons the best I could. She thought that I should have stuck it out until the tour was over so Ashton and I could spend more time together. She thought being together more would have helped Ashton feel more secure and would help with all his issues.
After that, I couldn't do anything but question myself. Did I overreact? Was I being too picky? Should I have given it more time? Did I make the right decision? I dwelled over it for days. And those days turned into weeks. And I never once heard from Ashton during that time, which served me right.
I avoided the topic with the kids until they asked about Ashton, which I knew they would eventually. When they did, it was at that little restaurant we'd eaten at when he visited that first time. Ash asked if I remembered when Smash was with us when we ate there before. Then Molly asked why he hadn't called to tell them goodnight for a long time. I explained the best I could what a breakup was. I said that we weren't mad at each other or anything, but sometimes people grow apart and don't talk to each other anymore. And I told them that the last time I talked to Smash, he wanted me to tell them that he loved them. They were kind of quiet the rest of the evening, but didn't talk about it again.
For the longest time I merely went through the motions of living from one day to the next. I put on a happy face for the kids, but other than that, I couldn't find a reason to smile. And it was my own stupid fault. I suppose I had been somewhat obsessed, too. Or maybe addicted is a more appropriate word, because I sure as hell went through withdrawal.
To see Ashton on social media, he never changed. You would have never guessed what was going on in his head, before or after the breakup. He deleted that Instagram post of us about four weeks after we broke up. Talk about drama. Conveniently, he deleted it just a few days before a photo surfaced of him and Brandi walking down the street in LA, holding hands. There are no words in existence to describe how badly that hurt me. At first, it made me feel like I'd been a temporary replacement while he was on a break from her. But once I got over the shock of it, I knew what we had had was 100% genuine, even if it was temporary. And if I was mistaken, then Ashton was in the wrong profession and needed to be an actor, because that was some Oscar-worthy acting.
I really hoped he would take some time to concentrate on himself before getting involved in another relationship, but there was nothing I could do about it, and at that point, it was none of my business. They remained in an on-again, off-again relationship after that. l couldn't keep up from one week to the next if he and Brandi were together or not. It used to drive me crazy to see pictures of them together and the comments saying how they were everyone's OTP and they were glad that Ashton got rid of a nobody like me. Little did they know that I was the one who "got rid" of him. Though, I'd never be able to rid myself of him completely. He always remained on my mind and in my heart.
Eventually, I had to wean myself from Twitter. It hurt to be reminded constantly that he'd moved on, even though that was my goal for him. But I was glad he wasn't sitting around pining for me all the time. After all, that was our biggest problem in the first place.
But then something happened and I realized that Ashton hadn't moved on after all. At least, not entirely.
It happened on Molly's birthday, on December 13th. We were having a little party at home with a few family members and three of her friends from school. Thank goodness we were wrapping things up because I was a mess of emotions the rest of the night, after I'd finally had a couple of decent weeks of not feeling super sorry for myself.
The doorbell rang and when I looked through the peephole, all I saw were balloons. Naturally, my mind went straight to Valentine's Day when Ashton showed up at my office with balloons. I thought my heart was going to beat out of my chest before I got the door open. I knew there was no way that it was Ashton, but it was just an automatic reaction to the memory.
The man delivering the balloons also had a package that I had to sign for, addressed to Molly. I carried everything to the kitchen where everyone was still gathered. Molly quickly tore off the beautiful paper and opened the box to find a doll that she'd been wanting forever. I never would buy it for her because it was ridiculously expensive for a toy. She squealed with excitement. Seeing the pricey gift pretty much confirmed my suspicion of who it was from. I peered into the box to see if there was a note or anything, and found a card.
Everyone was looking at me, anxious to know who had sent it. I felt foolish as my hands were visibly shaking while I opened the envelope. I read it silently, then handed it to Molly to read aloud to everyone else. I knew if I tried to speak I'd start crying.
Molly started reading, "Dear Molly Wolly." Her face lit up and she smiled at me upon reading the nickname Ashton would always call her. "Happy Birthday, beautiful. I hope your day is as amazing as you. Please give Little Ashton and your mommy great big hugs for me. I love you bunches, Smash."