This hour long afternoon commute is slowly killing me.
That was the thought running through my head as I inched forward one more car length, the stoplight turning red for the third time since I'd approached it. Nowhere to go. Pinned in to wait through yet another light cycle until I could move up another eight feet.
I was five blocks from home by then and the commute had already been a nearly intolerable 45 minute crawl on the highway. It took 15 more to progress that last 1/2 mile. So it goes when one chooses to live in the heart of her city. So it goes.
I turned the corner onto my street, pleasantly surprised to find there were four open parking spaces on my block. I picked one. I parked. I opened my car door a few inches and blocked it open with my knee while I began gathering up my daily grind belongings. And then I heard it.
The girl - young, 18 or 19 at most - lovely, the shocking pink she wore created a striking contrast against her gorgeous dark skin and braided hair, stood at the bus stop across the street, sobbing into her cell phone. Sobbing that achingly painful sob of the young heart breaking for the very first time - so filled with anger, hurt, betrayal, and still so. much. love.
You said you loved me! She cried out as those of us around her tried desperately not to stare. All of us with that same glassy-eyed look of remembering that first time. I nodded knowingly at the woman sitting on the bus stop bench just next to her. She nodded back, raised her hand slightly and smiled a wee small smile in acknowledgment. My own heart ached for the girl and what was to come over the next days, weeks, months. The nights curled up in pajamas crying softly into her pillow or a warm, snuggle bug cat or dog or teddy bear held over from not-so-long-ago childhood, her phone lying silently - almost tauntingly so - next to her.
Feeling like she is slowly dying from the pain of it.
But eventually she'll get over it and she'll move on and maybe the next one who tells her she is loved will mean it for a very long time. Probably not. But maybe. And it'll be a little easier to swallow if that heartbreak comes again...and again...and still again. Until, at some point, she'll realize...
Heartbreak doesn't kill you.
An hour long commute after a hard day's work does.