“I have to go.”
This has to be the most commonly used line in movies and TV shows today. Almost never is it a character solely needing to leave a physical place. It’s always about the subtext (“I can’t handle finishing this conversation.”) “I have to go” has been the scene of many a quiet crime.
Why is it that some of the most heartbreaking moments in our lives seem to happen to us in the most arbitrary of places?
There you are: standing at some nondescript location, some random unfamiliar corner of an ordinarily familiar world, a street or place you’ve only been to once. Somehow it seems to make it worse. In a way, the unspoken arbitrariness makes it scarier, the way horror movies play nursery rhymes in the background to heighten the tension and fear of impending doom. (Something isn’t right about this.) The irony of it makes the foreignness of the moment resound somehow louder. More threatening.
The apparent randomness of location is almost mocking and unfair. Here you are sharing part of your story – part of your soul – with a geographical stranger. Giving some of your most preciously heartbreaking moments to a place-person you’ve never intentionally acknowledged before. It almost becomes another person in the play. But what strikes you is that the specific square-footage concrete, while being physical, pales in comparison to the weight of the emotional transaction taking place on it.
I’m going to remember this moment. This random stretch of road.
I’ve passed by it and never knew it would become a permanent fixture in my story.
It just feels like really breaking moments should happen in a safe and familiar place, places that already have value to us. These are the places we expect to hash it out. Not down the street from the Ben & Jerry’s we almost went to once on free ice cream day. Not in the parking lot of Buffalo Wild Wings on a cold Tuesday night in March.
But these are all abstractions, shards of observations from a series of shatterings. Trying to dissect all of the pains occurring simultaneously. They’re all bit characters in a terrible parade of me losing you and you skipping away from me, not caring. Or hopefully, you just not being able to say so.
This is one of the pieces I was not indifferent about on Sunday when you drove yourself away from me and all of the story we’d written up until this point.
This is was one of the ripple effects that I am not eligible not to feel, unlike you and the way you seem to have mastered it… packing your feelings neatly away on a shelf and not looking back.