“I think if you don’t, you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering ‘what if?'” She said simply, “Wouldn’t it be better if you knew?”
We sat, woefully unprepared for the gusts of icy wind that swept across the lake. Despite quickly losing feeling in our extremities, we gripped our mugs of coffee and sat perfectly still atop a small hill facing the body of water. The topic of conversation too top-secret to discuss at home.
“I know I have a monologue in me of everything I want to say to him, but,” I chuckled without humor, “he has no idea about any of this. About the sleepless nights, the blog posts, the conversations…About how many choices I’ve made based on some silly infatuation.” I winced when I saw his face in my mind. “He has no idea.” My last late night chat with Madame Emily (a fellow blogger who lives in another state) still lingered in my mind. Most of the time what Heather suggests that I do mirrors exactly what Emily advises, but this time it wasn’t the case.
When the conversation veered to the topic of college, I asked Heather something I’ve never point-blank asked anybody in my life:
“What should I do?” I stared blankly at the lake. And I sincerely wanted her to tell me, command me, make up my mind for me. A group of ducks huddled together in the water, several of them occasionally daring to wander away from the group. They didn’t last long alone before returning.
“Oh, wow.” She said, “No pressure, right?”
We both grinned and she spent a moment in silence, contemplating.
“What did you want to do before Josh? Before you knew where he went?”
“I didn’t have a plan before Josh. I was just grouping together universities that looked pleasant. UT Austin has really nice surroundings, but UT Dallas has a program for a double major in biology and criminology…Maybe I should just go out of state.”
I nodded, “Emily said it snows. And it would give me a clean slate. A start of something on my own. Away from here.” I was going to add ‘away from Josh.‘ but I realized with a dose of relief that his existence for the first time in months wouldn’t be the seemingly all-powerful force that sways all that I do.
I looked at the foolish ducks wandering off into the cold, only when they decided to branch out and away did it seem to hit them how alone and unprepared they were. But then, maybe I was giving too much credit to the adaptive thinking of ducks. Maybe they branched out because they knew they could come back to the warmth of the group. “After I get my bachelor of science degree, I could always come back to Texas.” I could tell the idea of me moving across the country didn’t sit well with her. The notion has never seemed too grand to my mother, either. I hardly know the framework of how to work out such an operation. But if it ends up being something that I know I want to do, I will find a way (hopefully.)
We tossed the idea around for a bit, I would start to imagine what it might be like, to just wake up in a place entirely unfamiliar. Alone. Knowing no one and no one knowing me…It seemed like a breath of fresh air. But then the common sense of Heather (and mom) would remind me that the grass is always greener, the snow a little deeper and the excitement only temporary. But I can’t help wanting to do something extremely irrational and downright idiotic like moving out of Texas on a whim. Every now and again, throwing caution to the wind and hopping out the dang window while I’m at it seems like a good idea. Heather will be married and, I suppose, if I can’t be with Josh then I have no reason to stay. All I need before med school is a degree in science, where I get it means little.
I know I’m thinking foolishly at the moment. Not enough sleep, too much coffee and a lot of fear about the very near future can do that. Also, I’m 17. This means my frontal lobe, a crucial part of our brain that handles executive functions such as our organizational skills and the ability to consider potential consequences of our actions, hasn’t fully developed. So, one could say, I’m currently mentally unable to realistically consider the possible serious downsides of moving so far away… Fun fact.
I wish I could skip ahead the next six months. After talking with Heather (when we returned to her Jeep and the feeling returned to our hands) I decided that I’m not going to work at Kohl’s again in the Summer. Instead, I’m going to try to get a job at a little bookstore/coffee shop that I’ve been admiring for ages in Roanoke. Heather pointed out that, if I do return to work at Kohl’s, I’ll only be existing for the days I end up working by Josh. I’m still crazy about him, it still absurdly hurts to know that I’m forgotten. I cried about the whole thing. I can’t believe I did. I mean, my goodness! Crying over a guy. It seems so petty. It seems so undignified. I can’t go back to Kohl’s because I can only get more hung up on him, I can only find more reasons to admire him. I wish I had never met him. I could never be angry at him for any of it, as I previously mentioned, the fellow has no idea. But I’ve never felt this way about somebody before, and falling for someone from afar is a painful process. How can I think the sun and the moon of anyone, and contentedly accept complete silence. That was the plan, to wait in awe until Summer… Leaving, running, escaping from Texas sounds wonderful at the moment. Just something new and different. Perfectly irrational, but all the same, wonderful.
Perhaps that’s what I want now, I want to run away.
Alright, I’ve been working on this post bit by bit for the past seven hours and I’m afraid I have gotten very little done elsewhere. So, I leave you here, with this juvenile stream of irrational thoughts.