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But, You Can Never Leave…

Talk about a time you were driving and you sang in the car, all alone.  Why do you remember this song and that stretch of road?


The summer after I graduated from college, I left Durango, and my boyfriend of four years, to move to Phoenix.  We swore that the distance wouldn’t matter, and that as soon as he finished his last year, we’d figure out where we were going to start our life together.

Fast forward a year and a half.  After countless quarters fed into payphones and visits during the holidays, the writing was on the wall.  We had moved on, and we just needed to officially end it.

I drove back up to Durango for the weekend.  He was living in a house off-campus, with a bunch of guys.  This meant that we didn’t have much time alone until late Saturday night.  We found a secluded table in a dark little bar and proceeded to tell each other, as carefully as we could, all of the reasons why we didn’t love each other any more.

There were tears, but an overwhelming sense of relief.  We liked each other, but our relationship had changed from one of boyfriend/girlfriend to what we probably should have been all along…buddies.  We fell asleep that night, curled up companionably, no heat left between us.

The next morning, he helped me pack up my car, gave me a long, warm hug and a kiss on the cheek.  My last glimpse of him as I drove away was of him walking away through the snow, hands deep in his coat pockets, head down.

As I drove down the hill and out onto the freeway, the radio stayed silent.  For the first fifty miles or so, the only sound in the car was from my uneven, hiccuppy  crying. Eventually, cried out and in need of a mood shift, I dug around in the glove box.

In went my old Eagles:  Greatest Hits tape, and soon I was singing Hotel California at the top of my lungs.  I rolled the windows down to let the cool desert air dry wet cheeks and blow away the last bits of regret.  As the tape rolled through the long guitar solos, I drove past the Four Corners monument, across the reservation and into the rest of my life.


I’m participating in this year’s The Scintilla Project.  It’s a two-week opportunity to share stories and build our community.  Come join us!

The Scintilla Project

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