“I’m going to the forest tomorrow,” I said.
She squinted at me. “What does that mean?”
“The forest,” I repeated, shrugging at her. “You know… trees and rivers — rocks and leaves…”
“Ohhh… so you’re going into THE WOODS then,” she clarified, shaking her head. “The forest sounds so weird! Why would you call it that?”
“Because it’s dramatic,” I explained. “I’m not simply going into the woods tomorrow… I’m visiting the forest. It’s a big deal.”
She smirked at me, rolling those clear blue eyes. “Whatever, crazy.”
But the more I imagined it, even the forest didn’t seem grand enough.
“You like to travel around the state, right?” I asked a friend.
“Yeah, kind of… why?”
“Well I want to go on a little adventure tomorrow — a road trip of some kind. I was considering the forest, but I’m open to other ideas. Have any suggestions?”
She and another friend named off some places: Nashville, Atlanta, Greenville, Charleston, New Orleans…
“Sweet — I’ll look into all of that… thanks, guys!” And I did look into all of it, but nothing really stuck out to me.
So I sat there with a racing heart and wheels that couldn’t find traction spinning around in my head; where to go, what to do…
I jotted down some other very original ideas:
- Jump out of a plane (no; A. sounds basic and B. you could get paralyzed)
- Go zip lining @ Red Mountain (no; the wire could break and you could – again – get paralyzed — remember: you’d rather die)
- Go ice skating (not cool enough — ha, you’re funny!)
- Go to the forest (we already decided against this)
- Buy a loop pedal AND a reverse reverb pedal and then create something that’ll resonate with your soul (not your worst idea)
- Buy a ticket to Portland (too expensive)
- Buy a ticket to San Fran (too expensive)
- Buy a ticket to Missoula (too expensive)
- Buy a ticket to Denver (too expensive)
- Buy a ticket to Chile (WAY too expensive)
Eventually, feeling mentally and emotionally drained, I set the pen down to flex my left hand.
What am I even DOING? I asked myself. What is it that I am manically running toward or away from?
I thought on it intermittently, in-between tasks, and then it hit me (like a big, fat duh): You want to do something so massively cool that you’ll enjoy it as much as (or more than) being with him. And nothing is cutting it.
Ahhhhhh, I exhaled, truly relieved that I’d uncovered the motive behind the madness.
But… FUCK, I thought right afterwards. If flying out to em-effing Chile wouldn’t exceed – or even equal – talking with him over a local cup of coffee, then what the heck am I going to do with my life?! #drama
Annnnnnnd nothing; I was actually out of ideas.
Go to a cafe like usual, I guess, I suggested gently.
Yeah… guess so, I sighed.
Believe it or not, he texted me late yesterday afternoon, mere minutes after I’d realized all of this (we hadn’t really spoken since the breakup). In his text, he said lots of nice things: I miss you, I had such a nice time with you, when my phone vibrates and it isn’t you it makes me sad, I think that breaking up was a mistake, why did we throw something special away over hypotheticals and theoreticals…
And when I saw his text come in, I felt like vomiting (in a nervously good kind of way) and couldn’t bear reading it. I continued dutifully arranging Spanish words in this column and English words in that column, but the sudden knowledge of him thinking about me again got me so mixed up that I started forgetting which language was which, and then Spanish was everywhere and English was, too.
I miss you too, I said (finally). If you’d like to talk or meet up sometime this weekend, we can.
Yes, I’d like to do that. Tomorrow?
If you’ve changed your mind and sending that text was all that you needed, that’s fine, I reassured him…
So I fell asleep, worried and wondering, and woke up to my answer an hour before the sun rose:
Yeah — I changed my mind, he said.
Un-fucking-believable, I thought to myself. Then why even text me in the first place?!
So I got dressed, grabbed my backpack (already stocked with my typical “weekend fun” supplies: a laptop, Spanish textbook, some gum, and a pair of frayed headphones), drove over to where he works, and very nicely confronted him about it.
“Look — I was caught up in planning all sorts of weird stuff yesterday; driving here, going there, doing this wild thing or that not-so-wild one… all because I wanted to do something I’d enjoy as much as spending time with you. Turns out that nothing felt right. And RIGHT after I realized this, you texted me, and it seemed like you were on the exact same wavelength I was… but then, hours later, you chickened out.” I shook my head at him. “I don’t want to drop these feelings for you prematurely, but if they’re one-sided or going nowhere, I will… so look,” I continued, quietly. “We officially canceled for today, but if you end up deciding that you would like to go play frisbee with me somewhere, I’m still free. But if you continue to feel like you don’t want to, that’s totally fine, too.”
I want you, he said. I want to make this work.
I think you’re overthinking it, I said.
Maybe I am.
Then maybe I’ll see you later.
For someone who likes to loosely (aka not that loosely) plan her life years into the future and who openly lays every damn card on the table when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s terrifying to NOT know how to proceed with this: take a scary chance on love, or hide behind flimsy walls that (mistakenly? yes, no?) make you feel safer?
It’s a gamble, for sure. But it’s like, I could maybe win this round (if I give it a real, honest go), or I could for sure lose and miss out because of not trying at all…
Still here (bravely flippin’ cards and blindly throwin’ chips — and I’m not talking about the safe and yummy tortilla ones that you eat w/guac),