“Let’s go left” Emily said. “We always go right. Let’s try something new”.
“Sure, I take this path sometimes when I go for a run” Miriam answered.
Picking up the pace, the girls ventured into the woody park urbanized by its cement path and downtown city horizon. Soon, they rationalized this brisk walk as an excuse to gorge on ice cream and alcohol later as a means to mend two broken hearts. Even better, the sporadic violent wind bursts of that unseasonably warm November afternoon only added more room in the calorie count for the day.
“How are you doing?’ asked Miriam.
“It’s been better” answered Emily. “I’m not really sure what to do. I’ve replayed the conversation, our fight. .over and over again in my head. And, I’m not sure what to do.”
“Yeah,” sulked Miriam.
It had been almost a week, a whole seven days, since Emily and her not-so-sure-if-he’s-still-my-boyfriend – Ben – had spoken to each other. To her, it had started as an exciting gesture and recommitment towards the relationship. A surprise trip to New York City for graduation and Christmas. “Surely a gift anyone would like” was her rationale.
To him, it was just another example of how they were different. How they were growing apart. “I don’t just pack up and go places. I’m not that type of person“. . .“I love you, but I’m not sure I want to be with you”. Ben’s responses rang through her head. Her heart breaking with every step; she could feel the mucus building in her nose as she held back the tears.
“His sister reached out to me. She told me she was sorry. She didn’t know what to say. She said Ben felt bad..sad even. She mentioned how much she liked me and how the family loved me. But, she ended it with ‘our family was sad it didn’t work out’…What the fuck ..what the fuck does that mean? ” said Emily frustratingly. “Oh wait. It means it’s over.”
“Yeah,” answered Miriam.
The two continued walking.
“I slept with him…again,” blurted Miriam. “He asked me to stay over. He blew up my phone and asked me to stay over. This was after he said he just wanted to be friends.” She threw her hands up.
“What the hell? Really. Friends don’t ask friends to stay the night,” chimed Miriam.
Emily could hear the sadness crawling up Miriam’s throat as she listened to her friend recount her previous Saturday night.
“I asked him. ‘What is this? Are we friends?’ and he said yes,” Miriam looked down. “But, you have guy friends..have they ever asked you to stay over?” Miriam asked. “Do they ever just want to hold you?”
Emily chuckled at the idea of any of her male friends asking for such an absurd favor. They knew better than that.
“I don’t believe so, and I do have a lot of guy friends,” Emily answered.
Almost a mile into their walk, the two stared forward commenting on the wind’s speed and the beauty of the old southern mansions that aligned the man-made lake. It was Thanksgiving Eve and the trail lured many into a before-you-stuff-your-face workout. The girl’s conversation flowed in and out. Each tried to keep the other’s spirit up. Hey, it will all work out.
“At 27 years-old, shit gets real” remarked Miriam at the end of the walk. “I finally realized that I’d like a family someday. And, well at 27, it seems like I should probably take it more seriously”.
“Right on” Emily murmured. “If test-tube babies weren’t so G.D. expensive..I’d skip the whole falling in-love with a male thing”.
3:45 am CDT
The next evening and after two weeks of sleepless nights, Emily’s mind obsessed over her walk around the lake with Miriam. She still hadn’t heard from Ben, and the conflict in her mind raged. The events of the past week clearly spoke volumes of my inability to ever find someone.
She was emotionally exhausted and was tired of leaning on friends. For goodness sakes, when did I become so lopsided, she protested in her mind.
But, she also knew that for the first time she felt genuinely depressed. The past year was a difficult one. Stress at school, at home and now coupled with heart-break numero dos; Emily could feel herself shutting down.
“I’m banning myself from the Internet. No email. No Tumblr. No Twitter. No Facebook,” she declared earlier that evening. Removing all possible access points on her iPhone and blocking herself on her own browser seemed like the best options. She even contemplated deactivating her accounts. But, that would be insane, she rationalized.
Stripping her online self – she thought – would alleviate the pain. After all, she could then avoid reading his stuff. Goddamnit, he’s doing just fine..
But, it was deeper than that. Emily knew that for the first time she felt lost. On the surface, it was clear that the next big thing was her’s to have. The world has always, after all, been her oyster. Making personal contacts were never a problem. Scoring the best job or opportunity..never a problem. Yet, she felt alone.
I’d trade in all of it – the killer job offer, the free ride to a PhD, the potential to become a policy wonk - just to share my life with someone.
Her anti-feminist thought made her cringe. She had always lived her life strategically; plotting out world domination. Each move was meticulous and calculated. But, this relationship was a curve ball. She had wanted nothing more than to remain in the happiness that she had learned in the space with him.
She looked at her friends getting married and starting families with immense jealousy. I want that she claimed. Yet, it was starting to feel as if her successes would be the very reason for her pain. Maybe I’m not meant to have that life.
Throughout the week, her friends consoled her letting her know that now wasn’t the time. That she needed someone who could play at her level. Someone who would’ve been grateful and excited about a free trip to the Big Apple.
But, that’s exactly what made Emily collapse on the inside. Maybe she was too much. Too much that no one would want to share their life with her. After all, she was too spontaneous..too stubborn..too smart for her own good. Even she felt drained by her own personality.
Minute by minute Emily tried to convince herself of the happiness that surrounded her. Despite bad health and bad luck her parents were still around. Her mom even called her “skinny” for the first time in 27 years when she walked through the door this Thanksgiving break.
Yet, like the dark storm cloud that trailed close to Eeyore, her sadness hovered just above her head.
Get your head out of your ass. Pack up the dip-shit’s stuff, shove it in a box and move on. He hasn’t called you in days..seems pretty clear to me.
Look, he’s not worth it. You’re going to be fine.
How about we take another run at South America soon?
“Awesome,” Emily sighed.
Darian’s email only made the situation sting more. He was either 1) right, and Ben was a dip-shit; 2) sick of hearing about another melodramatic heartbreak 3) a total insensitive a-hole.
Emily decided it was a little bit of everything. Hell, I’d be sick of me too if I were in his position, she thought.
Darian had always been there for her. Almost four-years into their completely platonic friendship and people still speculated them to be lovers. On the contrary, she found very little about Darian to be attractive. He was always on the move and restless. He was always in search for the bigger, better things in life. She admired his vagabond spirit but knew it would drive her crazy in a real romantic relationship.
Plus, he liked blondes.
You’re a real asshole, you know that? Would it kill you to be a tad bit sensitive? I only lost the love of my life.
Anyways, I’m beyond broke. South America would be spectacular – remember when you drank that juice from the bag in Peru and had the shits for the whole night – spectacular indeed.
Skype me later?
Aww. Fuck. There went my email ban.