Monday, September 26, 2005

Tonight I saw an old friend at the Laundromat.

I was sitting at a table in the corner reading a book called “Love,” and in walked the man who I used to believe helped me learn the true meaning of the word. We made small talk for a few minutes, each of us retelling our daily woes in the office, voicing our inner most desires to quit, just up and leave the town and jobs that we were both growing to hate.

It felt like I was talking to a stranger, someone whose face I recognized from the produce section at the grocery store. Our conversation was forced and awkward, and, truth be told, when I was safe behind the wheel of my car, I was glad that I had left instead of added more quarters to the dryer to stay a few extra minutes to preserve something that wasn’t there to begin with. He looked different, somehow, from behind the windshield, the headlights shining at him through the windows of the building. From the outside, it was easier to see that walking away was the right choice, the better and healthier choice.

The drive home was longer and lonelier than expected, though. The past four years of my life were sitting in the passenger seat, taunting me, reminding me of how it used to be and how it still could be if I only could figure out what I had done wrong and go back to fix it.

“Of course it’s all your fault, silly girl,” they told me. “Did you really expect him to stick around for someone like you?” In my heart, I felt the word “yes” pump through my veins for a split second, the surge of the feeling quickly becoming a faint echo to the stronger, more solid sentiment beginning to dominate.
No. Of course not. He would never love me, something I had figured out long ago but refused to fully realize, and now it finally was clear that he would never simply be just a friend, either.

More loneliness awaited me in the darkened apartment on Milroy Avenue. The empowering feeling I felt when leaving the Laundromat was gone and forgotten, replaced with emptiness. The sobering feeling of independence lurked in the shadows, mingled with the sullen drone of the yellow refrigerator. I switched on the lamp that Brandy likes and began to put away my laundry, begging to be lost in the lingering scents of Mountain Rainfall dryer sheets.


Brandy said...

i love you!
(ps you *need* to write a book......SOON!!!)

Becky said...

love YOU.

mean it.