The 80 Mile Drive

Mile One. What just happened? It feels a little surreal. A lot surreal, actually. I can still turn around. Get off at the next exit and make my way back to the apartment. But I’ve always been stubborn so I won’t don’t. Regret will set in a few miles later.

I drive in silence. No music, not even the hum of the air conditioner. Just the engine, the tires against the road, and me. It’s not such a cliché that people say they do their best thinking when they are driving. It’s easy to get lost amongst your own thoughts and the silence that only a long drive alone can bring you.

I’ll blame my tearing eyes on the bright, setting sun, not the ache that I’ve felt in my heart, in my stomach, since I left. An array of pinks and oranges – it’s such a happy sunset to be seen on such an unhappy day.

Mile 20. I reminisce. I’m playing all of our songs. I’m thinking back. The Palace of Fine Arts and our first kiss. Vivace and our first date. All those times I would visit you on base. Squeezing into a twin bed with our bodies pressed up against each other. Moving into the apartment. Loving the spaciousness of a queen-size bed, but nevertheless we would still sleep pressed up against each other. I can still turn around. But the stubbornness has yet to dissolve.

I’m angry. I’m sad. But I know that this entire situation is of my own doing. This is my fault. But isn’t that the hardest thing? Acknowledging that we are the problem. We strive for perfection constantly, but we rarely accept that perfection is an impossibility. The flaws are the guarantee. A 100% guarantee. It’s funny – I haven’t cried that much since I started driving. But I think I’ve gotten pretty good at that. Actually controlling when I will allow myself to cry. The past taught me that once I start crying, it’s incredibly difficult for me to stop – so why start in the first place? I guess I should have told you that. It’s not that I’m heartless or that I don’t want to show emotion. It’s that my first heartbreak taught me that hurting that much and crying that hard does not change the situation.

But God, you are miles above him. My first heartbreak. You deserve to see me cry, see me emotional in all the glory that it is, you deserve all of me. It’s hard – when we have our first real love – the one that stirs something so deep in our core and changes our whole sense of self – we tend to give everything to that other person. That’s exactly what I had done. And when it ended, I was changed. I was guarded, unsure, distrusting, and like the many heartbroken before me – thinking I would never find a love like that again.

And it’s true. I have never found a love like that again. I have found something better. I feel a genuine sense of love and happiness with you. But the headlights on the highway bring me back from my reverie, and I remember that I messed up.

Mile 42. This is my fault. Fix it, Sam. Fix it. Call him. Apologize. Why can’t you ever just apologize? Why are you so stubborn? He loves you. You love him. But I don’t call. I keep driving.

Mile 45. There was a story I wanted to tell you when you came home from work that morning. I just remembered it. Because only you would appreciate it. For the last two miles on my run this morning, I kept smelling freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. And I was going to tell you how ironic it was that I would smell that as we had plans to bake some when you came home. I find myself smiling for a second, reaching for my phone, forgetting why I’m actually doing this drive in the first place. It’s amazing how some thoughts grab hold of you so hard that you forget the present moment. The pain stopped for just a second. All because of a mundane story about cookies. But I share so many “mundane” stories with you. Because you let me. Because you listen. And because you truly value what I have to say. You’re wonderful. I’m the bitch here, let’s not forget.

Mile 60. Just a little farther to go. I start to think that maybe letting you go is best for you. I have always thought that you are a much better person that I could ever hope to be, and it’s true. So maybe letting you go is the best way for you to be happy. So you can find someone better. I know you’ll disagree. I can hear your voice now, listing off all of my good qualities. You have never let any of my flaws get to you. You’re just unreal. That’s what I’ve decided. You’re unreal. Literally too good to be true.

The final miles stretch out, and I almost don’t want this drive to end. Because once it’s over, so are we. I know once the car stops, I won’t have the chance to turn around, and I know my stubborn ass self – no matter how much regret I’m feeling – won’t get back in the car. At least not tonight.

Mile 79. I’m thinking about the love that you and I have. Maybe that’s the most unreal thing. How much I love you. And how, through it all, you love me in spite of the craziness I put you through. Isn’t that worth fighting for? We are worth fighting for, right? Us. How could I let that go? All that’s left for me at mile 80 are tears and guilt. When all you need for things to be okay again is an apology. An apology. I can do that. Because I love you. Always. So I turn the car around.


  1. That was an incredible read! True story? Loved it!!!

    • True story. 🙂 And thank you! I’ve learned a lot in the relationship I currently am in – I definitely need to be less stubborn. 😛

      • Well sometimes it is good to hold your ground! 🙂 But I liked how you realized you’d be more unhappy without him in the end. You did a wonderful job of putting into words what many people have felt at some point!

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