Freeway driving at night with the sunroof open and the windows down is a religious experience. The crisp night air are baptismal waters washing away the stain of the past while propelling 65 miles per hour toward a future destination. The rhythmic drum of the tires against the asphalt became Savitri Pranayama as Brenda relaxed into its flow. The sight of Martin Johnson’s name had begun to weave itself into her brain and her stress level rose with every thread. A growing ball of entwined what-ifs had occupied her mind for the past few days. With the rhythm of the night, she began to untangle her thoughts. Why was she driving across town to meet with a man that had broken her heart 10 years prior? Was she hoping for closure?
She was doing it again. What her therapist called ‘rosy nostalgia’. Rosy nostalgia happens when one remembers the past as a series of great moments without the truth of the thorny times to being gravity to the memory.
She found a parking spot in the lot across from Books, Brews, and Coffee and sat with herself. She grabbed a pen and notebook she used to make her grocery lists from her glove compartment and began to write. Brenda stared at the list she had written. On the left side were the good things Martin had done for her. On the right, the bad. She assigned a value of 1-3 to each item, 1 for least emotional impact to 3, highest emotional impact. Brenda drew in a deep breath and exhaled a loud sigh.
She pulled down her sun visor and clicked the button for the mirror light. She was no longer a 20-something love puppy. She stared at a woman who had accomplished goals and faced fears. She had purchased her own home and gone to therapy to heal childhood wounds. There were tiny wrinkles on the sides of each eye that burst into existence every time she laughed or cried. This strong, beautiful woman did not need the past. She was creating her own future.
Thirty-three. She tore the page from her notebook and folded it into a neat square and started the engine. Heading home on that same highway, she rolled down her window and let the paper fly.