Her, alone

She drove until she reached the forest, camped there for the night, and drove on to the next. It had been a week-long journey with no defined end. Teary-eyed and broken-hearted, she made the spontaneous decision to travel by car until she couldn’t remember his name. Or at least until it didn’t hurt to think about his bright blue eyes and his contagious smile.

She inhaled sharply as she merged into the right lane on the vast and ever lonely stretch of highway. She had just passed the only car she’d seen in the last five hours and the weight of her reality had been pulling her deeper and deeper into a pit of sadness, like a ton of bricks on her barely beating heart.

When she decided on this trip, she didn’t realize how depressing it would be. Traveling alone is clearly lonely, but she realized this just too late. It should have been obvious beforehand. Any sane person would’ve known traveling alone is as lonely as it gets. But she wasn’t sane. She was a grand mess- hair askew, nail polish chipping, the same shirt she’d been wearing since he told her he found someone new. She couldn’t bring herself to buy new clothes.

Work called her yesterday when she didn’t show up for her shift. She had a long talk with her boss about love and life and to make sure to keep them up to date on when she’s coming back. She was fortunate enough to have a job she could leave and come back to as she pleased. She was also fortunate enough to have the money saved up to go on an indefinite endeavor across the country.

None of that mattered, though, because the whole time she was miserable. She wanted to go home, but couldn’t bring herself to head that way. A part of her wanted to live out here. She was in the forests of Washington, thousands of miles from home. All she had were the clothes on her back and her water bottle, but the thought of stopping at home to collect her things- where her now-ex-boyfriend also lives- made her nauseous. She thought a lot about just how hard it would be to transfer to the Seattle brand, get an apartment, new clothes, furniture.

She found herself surveying houses in the suburbs. This one’s too small, that one’s got no driveway, this one would be nice. Oh, and an open house. It won’t hurt to go in. I can say I’m thinking of moving out here from Massachusetts. It’s true and doesn’t invite too many questions I can’t answer. Oh, and it’s cheap, too. I could afford this if I transferred to the Seattle branch. I should call my boss….

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Empty

“What happens now?”

“You can go.”

Where was I supposed to go? We were sitting in his car, in a parking lot miles from my house. I didn’t move. I couldn’t remember how to. I wasn’t sure I had control over my body anymore.

He shifted into drive and brought me home. The drive was just a few miles, but it felt cross-country. We sat in silence the whole way. The radio had been playing quietly, but he shut it off without saying a word.

“Ok.” He said softly, barely audible.

I opened my mouth to speak, but found no words. Nodding, I left.

A letter to my past self.

There’s so many mistakes you’re going to make,

so many things you wish you said

and so many things you could’ve done better,

but you’ll get through it just fine.

To me from a year ago:

Good things are close,

do whatever you can to keep yourself busy,

and you don’t need an excuse to do what you want.

If you want to spend all day watching YouTube,

who’s stopping you?

Don’t move in with your boyfriend three weeks after he betrayed your trust.

Just because he’s going through a tough time doesn’t mean he should be your responsibility.

To me from two years ago:

You don’t need a boyfriend, 

you need a friend.

Reach out to people you’ve lost contact with.

Don’t date that boy just because he’s nice to you.

You’ll hate your summer job,

but it’s good money for the time.

And for fucks sake, don’t listen to that boy you’re going to date-

you don’t need to buy weed, he does.

To me from three years ago:

Let it go.

That annoying person shouldn’t ruin your day.

Yeah, he sucks but he’ll make for a good story.

I’m proud of you for getting through your first big break up.

It was months ago, 

but I know you’re still dealing with it.

You’ll be over him soon.

He still texts you every couple months, though.

To the future me:

I hope things are still going good.

I’ve been trying to set you up for success.

I’ve fallen into a routine of positive coping skills,

and I hope you stick to them.