The Honeymoon Comes to an Abrupt Halt

Jan 25, 2014 by

“You can spend minutes, hours, days, or even months overanalyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened . . . or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.”

– Tupac Shakur


Mayfield, you aren’t in farmland anymore. Did you try clicking your heels? I did. Nothing.

Mayfield, you aren’t in farmland anymore. Did you try clicking your heels? I did. Nothing happened.

          Today, I took my little sister to get her G1. It was her birthday gift from one of my other sisters and I. (What an awesome gift for a 16-year-old, right? I wish I could take credit for the idea, but that would be the product of my other sister’s thoughtfulness.) Thankfully, she passed on the first shot. (She was warned that she better, because her sisters couldn’t repeatedly dispense $10 for multiple make-up tests if she were to fail too many times.) Being the awesome older sister that I am, I let her – deep breath, deep breath, deep breath – drive The Beaut! My car is my baby. Besides me, only two other people have driven it before her: my dad (who taught me to drive and knows cars, so I trust) and Olivia (in a few dire emergencies that prevented me from taking the wheel #alcohol). This, friends, was love.

          Before taking my sister on the road (I know, I am the coolest), I took her to my high school parking lot to practice. Its large size makes it perfect for first-time drivers. It’s where my dad began teaching me to drive (before I got my G1, because my dad is the ultimate coolest). Heading there, I was a bit nervous. I expected an eerie fog to engulf my car as I drove into the days of Maria past. My high school is the site of my friendship with Olivia before it went bad. Actually, the last time I was there was with Olivia in September to celebrate our eight-year best friend-iversary, at which time I was still fooling myself into thinking that she and I had a chance. It is amazing how quickly life can change.

          Surprisingly, I’ve been coping with my decision to part with Olivia quite well. I’ve been out often and she hasn’t been home (I can literally count on one hand the number of times she’s slept at our apartment in the three weeks since our last fight), so I’ve been happily continuing to pretend that I live alone. During the few occasions when Olivia is home, she won’t speak to me, so there’s no awkward small talk (just awkward silence). She also appears to be trying to kill me with her hateful glares, fortunately preventing me from missing her, because it’s hard to miss someone who wants to eye-murder you. Of course, I was living in the decision honeymoon phase, and I knew it. I was relieved to have finally made one of the most difficult choices of my life by submitting notice of vacancy to our landlords, but didn’t yet have to deal with the consequences. I had done what I had to do, and nothing changed because of it; I still had my apartment, and Olivia and I weren’t speaking, as usual. My life was continuing as normal with the added satisfaction of knowing that I had invested in my future happiness by taking action to remove myself from a current unhappy situation. The repercussions would be end-of-February Maria’s problem – or so I thought.

          This afternoon, Olivia texted me to notify me that she will be moving out February 1, one week from today and one month earlier than expected. Because I already live alone (wink wink), I knew this wouldn’t change my day-to-day. However, reason does not stop the flood of tears that follows solid evidence of a friendship’s end. I cried so hard that I’m impressed I didn’t throw up. I cried all the way to my parents’ house to pick up my sister. When I arrived, she was still doing online practice tests: perfect! I needed to get gas/more time to cry before smiling for my little soon-to-be G1 driver.

          Understandably, after my sister’s test, I was worried that I would burst more tears (absolutely not an option in front of her, especially not on her big day) upon arrival at Mayfield – so worried that I tried another high school parking lot first, but found it covered with snow and filled with cars. No go. To Mayfield I reluctantly drove. Have you ever gone back to high school? No matter how many generations that have passed through since yours, it will always be your high school. You will actually feel as though you are a teenager again while there, and as if your teenage friends are waiting for you inside. The building will always be frozen in time as the container of your memories with your old friends, taking precedence over the obvious existence of the baby-like figures that now walk its halls. Well, that is, until some fuckers go and build a plaza across the street from your school that was situated in the country until as recently as a few months ago, forcing physical proof upon you that it has been six and a half years since your graduation, and your high school is no longer yours. Thanks life, I thought, this is exactly what I needed to keep my crying at bay: more evidence of the time and the love that has come and gone since the first day of Grade 11, the day that I met Olivia, over one-third of my life ago. I struggled to breathe; nostalgia was stepping on my lungs.

          As I proudly supervised my sister’s first drive from the passenger’s seat of my car, I pulled myself back into my mid-twenties, as if none of this was going on inside of my head. My high school as I knew it was gone, like my Olivia as I knew her, I firmly told myself. Before my sister was ready to hit the road – the 40 km/hour side road that felt like a race track to her (hilarious) – she drove me through the parking lot for about an hour and a half. While she made laps around the school, I listened to the radio as I reminded her to check her blind spot and congratulated her fab three-point turns. This calmed me. I would have rather been exactly where I was, happy at 24 and teaching my youngest sister how to drive, than revert to being an unhappy teenager again. Similarly, I would rather be happy without Olivia now than retreat to being unhappy with her. Prior to leaving Mayfield, I took one last look at the stupid new plaza across the street. It was my landmark for the present. It was my indication that I had made the right decision. It was my message that change, though uncomfortable, is necessary to move on.

          While writing this, I remembered the quote above that’s been sitting in my purse since I was 19. Someone gave it to me in reference to my tendency to hold on to the past. At the time, I thought it was meant to encourage me to forgive Olivia, so she and I could move on as better friends. Now, I see that the quote was given to me as subtle advice to end a friendship that was already over, so I could move on as a better person. It took me five years and a lot of self-improvement, but I think I’ve finally read it right.

Happiness Tip: Let the past be the past.

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