The past two days I just haven’t felt inspired or creative. Hopefully this story doesn’t show that…too badly.
Best of friends, bosom buddies, Sherry and Jim had been inseparable since Dr. Houston’s Survey of Southern American Literature in sophomore year. They partied together, vacationed together, and, of course, lived together, platonically, for the past ten years.
Maybe that’s why this going away party that she’d planned for him to celebrate his hiking the Pacific Crest trail was so difficult, for Sherry at any rate. He was going with Lila, his girlfriend of two months, who didn’t want Sherry there. It wasn’t that Sherry didn’t understand Lila, she most definitely did, but she also wanted to be Lila. “Unrequited love’s a bore.”
Jim slung his arm around her shoulder and then kissed her temple, “Great party. You know I wish you were coming with.”
“Yeah,” she said, keeping her eyes averted. No use letting his see how she felt and make him feel bad.
She wouldn’t be here when he got back. Being pathetically in love with her best friend was tiring and discouraging. She only had herself to blame for building her life around him. That ended the moment he and Lila walked out the door. Her own life called.
He squeezed her shoulders again before crossing the room to tall, blonde Lila whose Nordic beauty reflected his own. They looked like the perfect couple. They were crazy in love. And it sucked. Sherry kept telling herself she was happy for them. She did want him to be happy. She just couldn’t get away from the fact that she wanted him to be happy with her.
After Jim and Lila left for the airport in the morning, Sherry took her own suitcases down to her new little red corvette. Doubts homed in on her. What was she thinking? Traveling on her own? And a red corvette? It was like she was entering her mid-life crisis early.
Sliding in behind the wheel, she sat, giving herself permission to stop the trip any time, even before the on ramp to the beltway.
Something changed the instant Sherry pulled onto the highway as the wind whipped through her hair and the chorus of Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent” blasted. All the locks and chains binding her, fell away. All of her doubts vanished. She sang at the top of her lungs, uncaring that other motorists might think her crazy and all the while reminded herself that she could choose to live however she wanted from now on. Yet, she couldn’t deny the black hole inside, the part of her that still felt sad and a little lost as her best friend moved on.