My phone lights up with a message from him. He asks if I’m coming. I have to wait until the red lights to send him a quick affirmation in the form of a single letter. My phone lights up and he reciprocates the same. My hands begin to fumble on the wheel, indecisive about where they want to be. The seat feels too far, the mirrors are out of place and the music on the radio is nothing I know of. Tonight, everything sounds new and it seems as if every artist suddenly has a new song.
But not everything is new; this scene of me getting him so late is an age-old tale. Once I arrive, I find him waiting outside. I pull up beside him and he clumsily gets in. Instantly the car reaps of alcohol but I am dismissive and accustomed to this now so I pull out and begin the drive back.
The radio plays on amidst our silence. I don’t think he’s in the mood to chatter, considering his state and all. So I take no initiative for small talk and am about to let myself ponder but then he unexpectedly interjects fragmented words and what seems like disappointment.
I hear questions. Why did she do this? Why would girls do this? What do you guys even want? More mumbling of words and of sentences I’m trying to follow, but all I can conclude is a scene of hurt. I tell him, I don’t know, and let him let go of his pain through simply talking. He bleeds out the hurt through his words and the only thing I can do is steer us both through vicinity of the night roads.
I know there’s context beyond this scene. I’m sure there are factors and plot points I don’t know of. I’m sure his perspective might be biased or hindered in some capacity. I’m sure, she, the girl that broke his heart, has her reasons.
But that doesn’t mitigate the pain. Rationality is futile in heartache. I wonder what she would make of this, of watching him fall apart. I wonder how she would justify this. Because I don’t think she anticipated for this to be his reaction. I don’t think she knew the effect she had on him.
Nature has a proverbially predictable pattern and with time he will hurt less or seemingly adjust to masking it. Maybe she takes solace in this, maybe she thinks he’ll get over it. But the million little lights we’re born with, that innate resilience isn’t eternally elastic and it all burns out one day. He will burn out, he will be scarred. He will internalize this and it will resurface, in his perspective on love and life. It shouldn’t, but it will. He will be another kind one lost, altered into a bitter character that will reciprocate the pain onwards.