I’m driving home from work on a hot summer evening. It’s a Friday, and I feel utterly weightless as the hot beachy wind blows through my car window. The beach is to my right, layered in the heavy golden light that melts from the sun. It’s a beautiful night, I think to myself.
And all at once, I pull the car into my driveway. The heaviness starts to set back in, weighing me deep into the gravelly ground. My boyfriend, Todd, will be home in an hour. We’ve been dating for two years now. The first few months were great. He treated me like a goddess, always trying to outdo what he had previously done. I had fallen head over heels for him, smothering myself in this fantasy.
It started early last year, when he decided to hang out with his friends instead of me. I was appalled and hurt. I let it go, because it would only be a one-time thing. He would come back to me next time.
But he didn’t.
I often fell asleep alone at night, and would wake up to him either hungover or still drunk. Occasionally, I would find one of his friends passed out on the couch. I still hold on to him, because I am strong. This is just a test of my love for him, I tell myself. I cannot imagine a life where I don’t have Todd. Maybe I keep him out of comfort, since our relationship feels safe and warm compared to the shocking cold world of being single. Maybe I’m codependent, or maybe I’m just a coward. Whatever, this is finally it.
I’m ready to dive into the searing iciness of being single.
I have allowed to be neglected for the past year, by someone who I truly love.I’ve lied to myself, and cheated my way through the shit he has thrown at me.
I lunge out of my car and slam the door.
The sun is hot on my back as I climb up onto the front porch. I turn around and face the brilliant glare of the radiating heat. The beach is spread out before me, prodigious and grand, golden under the early evening rays.
I take a deep breath in, letting the pungent, salty air blow through me.
I head inside and turn on the lights. The faint smell of beer lingers in the air, definitely from Todd. I head upstairs and clear out every possession I own from our room. I pack several duffel bags, and throw everything into my car. I leave a quick note on the doorstep for Todd letting him know that we’re breaking up and thanking him for his shit.
This is it.
I turn away from my old house, knowing that Todd won’t be able to pay rent for much longer. I work enough for the both of us. I duck into my car with a smug smile on my face. I pull away from that hellish place, ready for a new era.
I speed along the highway, surging through the wind with the pure adrenaline that’s pumping through my veins. I’m finally living in the now, in the present, being who I am.
My phone buzzes softly on my seat, and I lean over to check it. It’s Carly, my best friend, wanting to hang out.
Normally, I would check with Todd first to see if it’s ok with him. I laugh hysterically to myself, so hard I have to pull over. I text Carly back, letting her know I’ll be at her house in two minutes.
Then I drive on, my hand hanging out the window, tingling as the wind cascades through my fingers. I whoop non-stop, attracting stares from petty little couples taking “romantic” sunset walks on the boardwalk.
I’m so over that.
Relationships made from glass, one moment away from shattering. How I’ve felt that feeling beyond compare.
I beep from Carly’s driveway, and she comes out, gorgeous as always, with her dark gold hair falling in soft waves. She wears a casual coral dress, showing off her sleek tan arms and smooth caramel legs.
“Hey girl!” she calls as she slides in next to me.
“I broke up with Todd,” I say suddenly.
“Are you ok? Oh my god were you planning on this? Wow! Speak to me!”
“I’m done with him. That’s all. I just want to get hammered tonight and get away from it all,” I say.ar
“I know just the place! There’s a bonfire down on the beach tonight; we’re going!” Carly exclaims.
Her spontaneous and fun personality has always captured my boring one, and tonight I’m especially thankful.
“Ok, just direct me from here,” I reply.
The tangy sea wind rushes into my car as we cruise down the street that lies parallel to the beach. It’s growing darker and darker, and I know that Todd is probably home by now. Whatever.
“Ok, pull over here, the bonfire down below is where the fun is at,” says Carly with a sly smile.
Usually, I’m more reserved and not too into parties. I know Carly is enjoying herself and the fact I’m more social than I have ever been with Todd. She smiles as we hop out of the car.
We walk down the wooden stairs to the beach, where a gathering of people are laughing, smiling, and talking around a blazing bonfire.
I take a deep breath.
All at once, I am reminded of the nervous excitement that pairs with being social and single at the same time. I am reminded how I never know how the night will end until does. Or maybe I never will know how it ends, forever hidden behind the curtain of alcohol and maybe even weed. I feel so dangerous already, but I love it. I love this freedom.
Carly has already circled around the fire, greeting everybody as she goes. And trust me, she knows just about everybody.
I slowly walk into the circle of laughter, appreciating the warmth from the fire and the relaxed environment. It’s just what I need. The man next to me passes me a bottle of vodka. “For you, beautiful girl,” he slurs. He laughs at himself, swaying with the wind.
“Thank you,” I say as I gratefully take a generous swig.
It burns as it trickles down my throat, warming me from the inside out.
I take another few sips, to ensure my detachment from reality.
Suddenly I feel myself laughing at the conversations around me, enjoying the friendly, and drunk, faces.
“And the next thing I know, I’m fired. I mean, I’m fucking unemployed right now! How pathetic is that? But I love it so much!” Exclaims the blonde girl next to me. She downs the rest if her beer, tipping the bottle back further as if more will come out.
“Sounds crazy man,” says a low voice next to me. He’s muscular, and his soft brown hair curls perfectly around his head. His piercing green eyes meet mine, and I feel myself blush.
“Yeah, crazy,” I agree. We’re still staring at each other when I start to lose balance, suddenly leaning far more right than I have gauged.
His strong hands catch me, grasping my ribs and pulling me upright onto the sand.
“Whoa there,” he says softly.
“Whoa,” I reply, lost in his ample good looks. “You’re very attractive,” I say. I feel so fuzzy and warm, and so attracted to this man in this moment.
He laughs gently, and then falls into the white sand below.
“Oh no! Did I push you down?” I cry. I’m too intoxicated to realize he’s as drunk as I am, and has fallen just like I almost did a few minutes ago. “Here,” I hold out an outstretched hand, and he grabs onto it.
“Let’s go for a walk,” he whispers into my ear.
And suddenly we’re running across the soft white sand, whooping and laughing and having a great time.
The warm wind blows into my ears, and the scent of the sea mixes with the scent of cheap alcohol on my breath. Then, he grabs me from behind, spinning me right into him.
“Wow, I’m so so...dizzy,” I giggle.
He looks at me with such intensity I stop breathing for a moment.
I hesitate. A part of my intoxicated mind wavers, remembering Todd. No. Todd isn’t part of me. He doesn’t define who I am.
Sometimes, you need to cut people out of your life to become more whole.
He leans in, but I willingly meet him. I haven’t felt such a passionate kiss since the beginning of my relationship with Todd, and it feels great. His hair tickles my forehead, and my lips burn intensely as he presses his against mine. Everything is electric and exciting, and his tongue dashes in and out of my mouth in a fury of flashes.
I pull away and sprint off into the darkness, hearing his thudding footsteps behind me. My laughter is whisked away by the wind, and my feet are kicking up grains of sand against my legs. I happily greet the water, running fully clothed into the salty spray.
He catches up to me and picks me up around the waist, whirling me around and around. I slip out of his grasp and dive into the deep velvet dark blue of the ocean, feeling the tingling sensation of the salty cold enveloping my body. He follows me out, deeper and deeper.
We float together in what seems like the endless expanse of water. We kiss again, deeply, floating away from the warmth of the bonfire and into the deep, wide ocean. My senses start to come back to me, and I start to swim back in. Once again, he follows.
I run onto the firm, wet sand, laughing. This is what freedom feels like. I haven’t had such a great time in ages. Breaking up with Todd is the best thing I’ve ever done.
I look back at the beautiful man that jogs behind me. Who knows if I will ever know his name. Who knows if I will even see his face tomorrow. The beauty of not knowing what will happen next pumps through my blood.
I want to live in this night forever. I want to feel the strong wind ripping through my hair, and to smell the healing scent of the sea in my nostrils.
I am whole once more.
I am alive again.
I am weightless.