On Saturday I worked a sponsor booth at a 5K race to celebrate a student who recently died of cancer. It was a frigid 32 degrees that morning, and three times I had to go to my car and sit in the heat to warm up. I noticed none of the runners in shorts seemed to be having a problem with the weather and realized it’s funny how we can convince ourselves everything is ok when we want (or maybe need) it to be.
Her husband was there with their kids and it ripped my heart out to see him so earnestly greet and thank every sponsor and then publicly address some 1,500 runners. He looked so young and so healthy and so genuinely happy. What an impossible game he’s playing, was really all I could think.
And just like that it changes. By lunchtime the temperature had shifted an unseasonable 30 degrees into the upper 60s and we rode that spring fever straight into the mid-70s on Sunday. I ran the greenway, read a book on the balcony, maybe even got a little fleeting flash of a tan.
Last night we went to get pizza like we always do, got the olives on the side like we always do, half threatened half begged to go get frozen yogurt like we always do. And just like that it changes.
The waitress avoids eye contact as she drops the check, and I abandon his sweatshirt I’ve been wearing. There’s no triumphant way to walk away from a breakup so I just walk, quickly and silently, with him three paces behind. A fitting and unfortunate metaphor for the entire relationship.
I’d made a spare key earlier that day to replace his that replaced mine that I lost on a plane in Minneapolis. It’s funny how we convince ourselves everything is ok when we want (or maybe need) it to be. I turned it over and over in my pocket damn near rubbing the edges flat like maybe somehow it might feel different from another angle.
I woke up this morning to clouds and sleet and a sharp drop in the temperature. I dressed in black because that’s what I always do but today I kind of think black dressed me. On the way out the door I noticed I was still wearing the tiny tag necklace with our initials on it. I bought it for myself and never took it off. Today I unhooked the clasp and unceremoniously threw it away.
There is no triumphant way to walk away from a breakup.
Let’s call this fiction. I just needed to write something worth writing.