(Photo by me. Pinwheel tutorial available here.)
"Getting married. He's proposing."
Insert silence. Insert me stumbling into a chair.
I started making pinwheels that night, about four weeks ago, following a conversation with my best friend which went something like that. I made pinwheels like my life depended on it that night-no clue where the heap of pinwheels was going to go, or why I was suddenly so helplessly addicted. Each pinwheel, I found, was more adorable than the last, and I reached my creative peak when I plugged in the hot glue gun, affixing one button to the front of each pinwheel. The button severely affected the wheel's ability to spin when I blew towards it, but these pinwheels weren't likely to see much wind. Practicality was sacrificed for the sake of aesthetics, because this girl needed some pretty to make it through Friday night.
That weekend, I filled my world with pretty: flowers, pinwheels and a trip to Minneapolis to shop at the overpriced, but therapeutic, Anthropologie.
His and my relationship had been like buttons on pinwheels-it seemed like a great idea, a perfect pairing. "How cute!", ogled our friends. But even after three years, something hung us up, and together we just didn't function. The wheels never got spinning, and we rarely moved in the same direction. There were little niches of each other that were never discovered. Interests and habits and dreams held by the other that we didn't push, couldn't support because we didn't understand. I needed someone to dream with, to understand and push me. He needed someone relaxed and willing to take the days as they came. Neither of us wrong. But together...rather impossible.
No amount of time has made it easier to step into the places in town which used to be ours, the settings and scenes of our friendship: a Mediterranean deli, the market on Saturday morning, our favorite park. A few spaces I haven't visited since he left town. Like bruises, I avoid getting close or brushing past them, for fear that it might still hurt. Maybe they've healed. I try not to drive down Lake Street, past his yellow apartment building. Someone new parks in his space. It’s a truck. A rusty truck.
My heart has long remained warm to him, through a break up, a move across the country, and months of silence. Always aware that romantically it wasn't meant to be, but occasionally aching for the ease of our friendship, for his good, good heart and ability to make me laugh like crazy. Discovering he's engaged...I want to send a card. To send my love. To send well wishes and the friendliest, happiest hug. None of these, were I his new fiance, would I find at all appropriate. And so I remain silent. With time, past loves leave our lives for good and we must move on. These things I must learn to accept.
Most days, I hardly think about it.
Some days, I can't stop thinking about it.
Most days, I wonder if I'll ever find someone to make me laugh like he did.
Some days, I'm sure I will.