It was nearly 2 am when I drove by and saw that her light was still on. There was an immediate urge to park my car and walk down the street to her house, but I resisted it, opting instead to slow my pace to 20 mph while trying to tell myself that the idea of stopping was foolishness. In the movies, the hero would stop (typically in the pouring rain) and throw pebbles at her window to get her attention. She opens the window and he declares his undying love for her. Or she answers the door, they look into each other's eyes for a 3-count, then they embrace and start kissing, declaring their love without saying a word. You have to wonder where film writers get these ideas because they definitely don't stem out of life in the real world. Show up unexpectedly at 2 am to the house of an ex and there is a chance that you'll piss them off, even get the cops called on you. A night in jail isn't tempting to anyone that isn't homeless.
I drove on by, wishing she'd been at the window as I passed for just one glimpse. It's for the best though. Had she been there, had she seen me and smiled, I'd have wondered what that smile meant. If she'd frowned, I'd have wondered why she hated me. If she'd looked past me like I didn't exist, I'd feel like she never cared at all. Anything I gathered out of her reaction would've been hearsay anyway. How could I know she saw me at all? How can I expect to understand the look on her face that I only saw for a split second while passing by? I'd wonder about it for no reason at all.
If she had been there and I had seen her, what then? In the movies, you'd expect the hero to stop the car in the middle of the street, get out, and they'd do that whole run/hug thing. He'd pull flowers out of nowhere or swear his love for her or something equally mushy. She'd cry and cry, declaring her love for him. It's not all that easy. If I stop, she might come out. We'd stand there looking at each other awkwardly for a few minutes, talking in short sentences. At best, we'd hug and I'd leave. At worst, she'd make a snide remark, I'd get angry, we'd argue about something stupid, and matters would only be worse. Love can't be repaired these days. Sometimes we try. Sometimes we think we can succeed. But in the end, most of us fail.
They never teach you what to do about a broken heart in school. They never tell you what sort of tape is best for mending it, what sort of glue is best for piecing it back together, what sort of alcohol is best for drowning it in during an early spring rain. If they did, maybe I wouldn't be toiling over everything. Maybe I'd be a well-adjusted banker or lawyer or some other responsible member of society. I'd have a home with a wife and dinner on the table at 6:30, with lunch waiting for me in a pail in the morning. I'm not well-adjusted. I don't want to live a routine with a zombie. I want someone just as poorly adjusted as I am whom I can spend my time with. Until then, I'll just keep going through this same cycle of trying to find the right combination of things to make my heart function again. I drove on, hoping that one day none of this would even cross my mind. I'm too tired for all this.
loosely based on this, with a shift of story.