subject line: i hope you made it out of that town where nothing ever happened

 

Agloe, New York

She danced into the room, and I could feel his heart stop beating; she moved all that he was. He looked at her with the kind of look every good girl is told to hold out for, and I watched it on his face as he held my hand.

I waited in his bed while he waited for her.

So you can imagine the extent of our tortured souls the morning a whole town woke up to the news that she’d passed away in an accident in the night.

There we were: me choosing him over and over, and him hanging in the deafening sound of never knowing if she would’ve chosen him.

We were black clothes and funerals and the buzzing noise of blinking hospital waiting room lights; we were leather jackets and cheap frozen cookies in the early morning hours; he was hands in my hair while I drove, and he was the sound of slamming car doors after I’d told him that it’s been two years and I was in love with him again.

You see, I found rest at his feet because he was familiar with getting left, too. I think, for him, I was just the girl that made him feel like he’d finally made it out of small town life.

Have you ever met someone who got dealt the same sour lemons as you, and they learned how to make lemonade a little differently, and you thought that meant you’d be good for each other? That was me and him.

Except, I think he showed me what it looked like to throw all your hope into the slight chance of maybe being chosen. Because there’s that hope in the middle of the night that we’ll all find someone to choose us— that’s the promise, right? But there’s this nagging, teasing feeling of hanging onto the “maybes,” the “there’s still a chance it might be you,” moments.

That’s the real trap, I think. That’s what really guts you. It’s not the rejection, the loneliness, the waiting, the being second choice. No, it’s the shutting door that gets left open just a crack. It’s when the sentence ends with a semi colon. It’s the chance that it could all turn around and end up in your favor.

So there we were: me sitting on the edge of my seat for him, and him thinking she died torn about whether or not to choose him.

When I think about it all now, I go back to the afternoon when I was taking a walk, and he called to tell me that he’d be moving across the country for work. He didn’t know if he should take it, and he said it was because of the way it would hurt me. Who knows what was going through his head, but I think the last thing he expected to hear from me was, “You should take it.” And if I could go back and shed some light on the situation, offer up some advice or final wishes, I’d say: If this whole life is just sets of choices that lead to our happiness or our lonelieness, then choose the people who choose you back. It’s an art, and we should all learn how to be a little more fluent in it.