“Are Jessa and Adam f***ing?” Hannah demanded of Marnie. It’s a rhetorical question because Hannah witnessed the alliance of her friend and ex-boyfriend with her own eyes, their sexual chemistry radiating across the courtyard, in the Girls episode entitled “Hello Kitty.”
I wanted to put my arm around Hannah and say, yes, this is happening. And like me, you’re going to have to watch their love unfold because you’re part of the same crowd.
“What the f*** is wrong with people?” was Hannah’s follow-up.
Hannah’s epiphany came when she and a few of her group went to watch Adam in an audience-participation play set in various apartments in a large prewar building. Hannah follows the show’s action by looking out the window, but she gets distracted by Jessa, standing on a fire escape like Romeo’s better half, staring lovingly at Adam. And so, the truth is revealed.
My epiphany came at a less glamorous Baskin-Robbins. I was with my rather large Bronx neighborhood crowd, hanging in the park. My former boyfriend F. was there, and even though I had begun seeing someone else, in that same Hannah-Fran way, I wanted to be mature and able to chat with F. as friends. Like Hannah and Adam, F. and I began as an obsession, with me targeting him and chasing him until F., à la Hannah’s scruffy Brooklyn hipster, got so used to me being around that he started to like me back. Breaking up was my idea but not my choice. I would have preferred he’d treated me in the way I wanted from a boyfriend. Like Hannah, I had to walk away, still in love but not able to take the hurt anymore.
The afternoon was social and fun, so when someone suggested adding B-R into the festivities, we moved as a herd, navigating the streets of our outer borough. As we all waited our turns to order, I heard a familiar voice rise above the din to ask my friend M., “Do you want yours in a cone or a cup?” I turned around and saw her cute-as-a-button face blushing and his eager-to-please look.
Apropos of Girls, where Elijah was with both Marnie and Hannah, Ray was with Shosh and Marnie, Hannah had been with Adam’s brother-in-law Laird, Jessa hooked up with the ex of Adam’s then-girlfriend Mimi-Rose and Hannah enjoyed the company of Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, my crew knew from intergroup dating interchanges. Of course, it all seems pretty reasonable — until it happens to you.
“They were doing it behind my back, right in front of my face,” Hannah ranted, echoing my own thoughts as I suddenly lost my taste for rocky road. I started to think of every time F. and I were together and decided he was really thinking of M.
I now viewed myself as a placeholder, someone he was biding his time with while he waited out her former relationship — yes, a guy from our crowd who was currently dating a different one of our friends.
Even harder, naturally, was the first time I saw them as a real couple, walking and holding hands. I showed a lot of Hannah-esque restraint, being awkwardly friendly. See, I’m good with this, I tried to project as I fought back tears because I feared that if I let the dam burst, I would never stop crying. The most painful thing was seeing what a great couple they made, looking so much more like they belonged together than F. and I ever did. I relived the feeling when I watched Hannah’s enviable gaze at “those two tree-huggers” as they walked off, both long and lean, very boho cool.
In the following episode, “Homeward Bound,” the bloom starts to come off Jessa’s rose during Adam’s babysitting debacle, evidenced by his comment, “Why do you need more help than a baby?”
I know how that goes, too.
About a year later, I ran into F. and we stood on the corner and caught up. I found it in me to ask how M. was, and after the perfunctory “fine,” he began to talk — or, rather, complain — about their relationship. I went numb.
I had moved on. It wasn’t easy, but it happened; fueled by the anger from feeling as though I’d been used and made a fool of. I was not going to allow myself to get my hopes up that he was telling me his sob story as an apology or a way to let me think there was still a chance for us. Feeling the beginnings of an anxiety attack, I said a hasty “Good to see you. Tell M. I said hi,” before I ran off.
Tonight is the Girls two-episode Season 5 Finale. I don’t know how Hannah will resolve her feelings about her ex-boyfriend and estranged bestie being together. I just hope she handles it way better than I did.