I saw them standing on the corner across from Palo Alto High School. Two people, a boy and a girl, they couldn't have been older than 18.
Out of the corner of my eye, while the stoplight turned red, I saw the girl's hands flailing up and down. Her hair flapping wildly in the wind, his face turned downward. He wasn't saying anything, but they both knew it was over.
As he started to walk away, she turned the opposite direction and started to run, down the suburban streets they both probably called home.
Though high school is over 4 years in the past for me, some of those feelings just never go away.
I remember my last break-up. It was nasty. It took place on a hill, in a suburban town just like this. People walking and driving by, having no idea what happened. I ran, like in a movie, down the hill and out toward the dormitories where I lived for two years. I was crying. It was awful. My friends held me up on a bench near the quad. There was a party that night, a party he should have taken me to. All of my friends would be there. I had a new dress. Things were going fine, until I had to pry, "Can we talk about this? What's going on?"
And then...it was over, just like that. Heartbroken. I can't help but wonder how things would have turned out if I had never asked any questions. If I had just sucked it up. But then, I realized it didn't matter.
I saw myself in this girl, running away. Sometimes that's all you can do. Run. People sped by her on their bikes and in their cars, and I was driving the opposite direction, the direction that the boy was walking.
His head was low, and though he knew what he had done, he didn't look back at her. Must have been too painful. He slapped the trees with his right hand and kicked rocks with his feet.
He felt guilty, but not guilty enough to stay with her.
Break ups. You can't live with them, and you can't live without them. Yes, that last part seems a little contrived but if you look back, on all of your sorted miscommunications and problems, you'll realize that break ups are inevitable.
Because not every single person you go on a date with is going to be your boyfriend, and not every boyfriend is going to be your husband. Things take time.
After you spend a certain amount of time and energy on someone, you tend to feel like you're owed something. Whether you're the person who made them better, or they made you better, one thing is certain: you are entitled to nothing.
Once you subscribe to that, you'll never be hurt again. At least, that's what I'm starting to believe.
Relationships take up time, and effort, and sooner rather than later, you'll be saying goodbye.
How can something so shiny and new blow up so quickly? I'm still not sure. And though I'm firmly in my twenties now, and very, very single, I understand that some things have an expiration date before they start.
Sometimes people leave you, they don't text back. Sometimes there isn't a second date, but that doesn't mean anything. All you can do is just keep moving forward, and someday, hopefully, the heartbreak will end, and you'll find yourself in the middle of something great without even realizing it.