When Should You Put the Punta Back in the Cana?

I’d wallowed, went through the stages of grief. Twice by March. I knew I had to move on. I had to move forward. It felt like everything was still crumbling and I couldn’t think straight enough to keep going. What would be my jumping off point? I needed one. I also needed someone (or some group of bitches) to shove me off the cliff.

My best friend from the 2nd grade was turning 40 and she’d planned a girls trip to Punta Cana. I couldn’t go. Too much going on at work. Craziness in my life at home. Remember me, hot mess over here. And I also remember my friends not giving me a choice about going. They shoved me off the cliff. I packed a bag and off I went.

Leading up to this trip, this fine group of women in their infinite wisdom, decided that I just needed to get back on the proverbial horse. I just needed to have sex with someone else to move on. It was March. The break-up/death/my-life-ending happened at Christmas. In my head I knew I had to get back out there…but I wasn’t quite ready to saddle up. Maybe getting lucky would be more of a St.Patrick’s Day celebration or Easter. Sex…are you kidding me…I didn’t know how to even hook-up with anyone else. Had that changed too? I was screwed…and not in the good way.

My vagina was in hiding. Or Siberia. I wasn’t sure where I had left her. Covered in dust and cobwebs most likely. How would I summon her home? I remember talking to Cookie one night during a late night trip to Target. Did I have the essentials? Did I have condoms? Hell no, why would I?!  And then she made me walk to the…dare I say it…condom aisle… like a freaking adult. We laughed over the phone at the options as I read the boxes and tried to decide what mattered most at this point in my life. Did I know? Did I care about his pleasure?  Should I focus on mine? That sounded more like it. Should it be highly lubricated or feel like second skin? F*%$ if I knew. When was the last time I had even used a condom? Oh yeah. It was 18 years ago.

I bought a jumbo box to make Cookie happy. I scattered some in my jeep, sprinkled some in my purse and shoved them in just about every drawer at home. You know…just in case someone, some day, wanted to…oh my god. I was going back out there. To the dating world, where men would kiss me on the mouth and see me naked. Maybe it would be fun but I highly doubted it. Terrifying was more like it.

We left for the island in the middle of an ice storm which seemed fitting. I slid down my steep driveway on my suitcase and we trekked to the airport. This felt a lot like my reluctant entry back onto the dating scene. A few short hours later, I remembered why these women were my friends. Island cocktails, infused with enough rum to keep Blackbeard down for the count were flowing. My groove was resurfacing thanks to 151, sunshine and these ladies. That’s what your four best friends do when you need it most. That and shove you down the driveway through the ice to find your dusty vagina.

By day 3, the staff high-fived us and made drinking motions with their hands every time we passed. I was slowly remembering what it was like to have fun. Boys were chirping at breakfast like some kind of island mating call. I was dialing in my mojo.

We crashed a wedding, drank too much, and I screamed “me gusta” and “no me gusta” at the top of my lungs for 4 days. I met a hot guy who had his zip code tattooed on his torso. He was young, dumb, and oh so pretty. We admired his abs which showcased this tattoo that would no doubt help authorities when he was lost and too drunk to remember his address. Men our age didn’t look like that. Maybe I was going to be ok out there in the world. Our conversation was stimulating. “My bitches are from the bad ass 17111…what about you?” Look at me. I could still flirt. I was rusty but I had this bull by the horns.

I took the advice of one very drunk girl at the bar that night who yelled over and said: “Make good choices!!!!!” I didn’t hook up. I didn’t need condoms. Everyone’s punta and cana stayed in there respective zip codes.

All I needed was that girl time away from the world to remember the old me. Time to sit on the beach and soak up the sun. Breathe a little. Cry a little too.  Four days where your best friends reassure you that you are strong and amazing and you WILL be get through this.

 

And YOU will. It just takes time, best friends, some chirping, and rum shooters.

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