I have a habit. Not sure if you would call it positive, negative, or something in between. After a break-up, I find myself scanning the roads and parking lots for the ex-girlfriend’s car. It’s not that I go out of my way to locate her, but wherever I am in those first months following the end, my eyes go wandering.
Often, I’m seeing ghosts. Lookalike cars. Lookalike women getting out of other cars. Someone calling “her” name to another her that isn’t her. I have had enough relationships end in ways that were out of my control now to know that what doesn’t get closure, haunts you for awhile. Sometimes in odd and unpredictable ways.
Less than a month after the beginning of the end of a three-year relationship, a now ex-girlfriend and I moved into apartments a block from each other. When she found out we were so close, she pulled out every delay tactic possible to avoid finishing off the relationship in person. I think part of me knew when we agreed to separate for a month (before the apartment moves) that it was over, but passing her car nearly every day gave me a false sense of comfort. I knew she was ok. I knew she was right down the street. It will work out. And it did – she found someone else, and so did I.
Sometimes, I wish I didn’t notice certain details. Like license plates. I am an anomaly in that at 34 years of age, I have driven a car exactly twice in my life. Both times rather poorly at that. And yet, give me a few glances, and I both memorize a license plate number and note whether the tabs are expired. These are very useful skills when there is a crime happening, or someone has forgotten to get their tabs renewed, but terrible skills to have when you want to let go of someone who is no longer in your life.
Lately, I have been found myself riding a red ten speed bicycle around town, living my life for the most part, but with one eye open for a green, jeep-like vehicle. Yes, another relationship without “proper closure.” In fact, I’m not even sure if it’s actually over yet. Maybe just going for a long sleep, while some details get organized on both ends. But all these years of searching for, and sometimes locating, lovers cars has me thinking that perhaps we put too much stock in having things end in a certain way. I mean, how often does one really get the opportunity to end something, whether it’s a romance, friendship, or even a job, on their own terms?
I’ve been fortunate to experience clear endings in my life, where I had a say in what happened, and was able to move forward fairly easily as a result. Those are blessings, but they definitely in the minority of what life has offered.
In the end, loss and moving on from loss tends to come with its own terms, and all you can do is be as present as possible, accepting what’s right in front of you until the next steps in your life appear.
So, if you want to find me, I’m the one on the red bicycle, peddling with confidence as I stare down the ghosts of my last lover. It’s only a matter of time before I find whatever it is that I am looking for.
“Matchbox Cars” Stylefave
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