On a day of heartbreak, my cousin Christina drove. She was in college at the time, another upper-middle class white girl from the suburbs of Boston. Nobody special. Especially not to him, she thought.
He had red hair and a name, and promise. He would have been her husband, and they would have met in college, and was the right story to have. Just as her car was the right car for college, her ambition just enough, her wardrobe polished, but casual, he was just right. She was Goldilocks and he was her chosen porridge.
He left. Of course, his break-up was perfect. He was open, honest, resolved. He didn’t sever her contact entirely, nor did he coddle too much. He was perfect at breaking up because he was perfect, just like his red hair and his name.
The chosen boy took her choice away. This was Christina’s first experience with another person’s decision impacting her so deeply. Until this moment, she was the chooser. Life was a catalogue and she was the shopper and she chose.
At first, the choices were simple– her favorite color, which piece of candy, the bunny sweater or the star one? She was good at those choices so she chose more: reading or drawing, piano or violin, field hockey or soccer. Again, she was good, so there came more: Latin or French, chem or bio, band or chorus, drugs or booze, or not at all, public or private, near or far, and she choose and choose and choose some more! She was the best chooser!
She choose him. Her porridge left. Unlike green, the sour one, bunny, drawing, piano, field hockey, French, bio, band, a little booze, public, and far(ish), he left her.
Christina drove. She drove down Route 2 and back again, down and back, down and back. There were trucks and tailgaters. There were fast, open stretches, and winding ones through fallen mill towns. She just drove. Drive