Another weekend in Lansing has come and gone. The time is dwindling down before they move back to Wisconsin, and the solo road trips to the east will be no more. As much as I hate spending six hours alone in the car, I kind of love the time to myself. Crank the music, eat candy, guzzle coffee, watch the scenery change from Wisconsin to Illinois to Indiana to Michigan and back again. A friend in Lansing recently experienced a wicked breakup. She held her game face pretty strong after her ex walked into the bar, stopping her in her tracks. She smiled, carried on the conversation, all the while pretending her heart didn't stop the second she saw him walk up the stairs. But as she and I were walking to the car at the end of the night, she broke down. At first just tears. She kept talking. And then sobs. As I gave her a hug, I actually felt her knees give out just a little. She was broken.
And god that made my stomach hurt. How familiar are all of us with that feeling? Helplessness. Hopelessness. Desperation. Anger. His life carried on without her, she said. But was he hurting as much as she was? Who was he with? Where was he going? What now? Why not me? All unanswerable questions for her. She cried. I told her it'd get better. She'd feel better. Eventually. Although who am I kidding? I still avoid the object of my own heartbreak almost three months later. It doesn't get better, not fully.
She's beautiful. A runner. A medical resident at the hospital. Strong. Independent. 31-years-old. And much like myself, feels the sting of relationship failure. Our friends are marrying off, starting families. Are we supposed to be there, too? Will we ever be there? Her and I talked about all of this. We didn't find answers.
This isn't to say I don't love life. I love what I have. I love the freedom and independence and the ability to eat a Little Caesar's Hot & Ready pizza all by myself. Whenever I want. Probably more than I should. In fact, definitely more than I should. I run where I want. When I want. With whoever I want. Like everything else I do in my life. Whatever I want.
But it's this time of year, holidays approaching, as I drive six hours through the Midwest, that I don't want all of that to myself. My married friends tell me to enjoy it. They miss it, they say. "Must be so fun." And I suppose it has its moments. But the grass is always greener.
And so I shall carry on. And eat my own damn pizza.