The First Conversation after Buying a One -Way Ticket

It’s not even noon and I’m back in bed with a glass of wine. Why? My heart is bruised.

It isn’t broken.

Broken implies that it is no longer working. I know that it is working because it woke up with a shit ton of feelings lying on it.

My friend texted me, “I am jealous of your spontaneousness to by a one way ticket,” and I came to feel sad. You see, last night I sat in the company of cheap, shit wine and bought a one way plane ticket to Cambodia. At 4:30PM in 263 days I can leave all of this behind me. With each glass of wine came a new message on Facebook or email sent out asking if schools in Siem Reap had openings for foreign teachers. I suggested that I was willing to teach Geography or English. Lord knows I shouldn’t be teaching Geography, I have no sense of direction … on a map or in life.

At 5AM my alarm clock started screaming at me. It was a sign from the universe that I couldn’t do this, I couldn’t run. I can’t keep being the girl who runs away when her heart is bruised. I am too old for that. It was cute at eighteen, self-fulfilling at nineteen and adventurous at twenty, but as someone who is about to graduate from university and start a career, I can’t be this girl anymore.

Before the sun was even up and before there was enough coffee in me I sat on my bathroom floor and cried. I swear the tiles were still wet from the tears the night before. Maybe it is the writer in me, but by default I often find myself recording conversations with strangers, especially after a broken heart. I did it in Vegas with the taxi driver from Nigeria. Secretly, I hit record when talking to an older man who was bagging my grocery at Sprouts one day. This morning I did it too, in hopes of being told something profound. I called the airline host from which I purchased the plane ticket, a woman with a southern accent picked up the phone.

Woman: Good morning, this is Mae, how can I help you? 

Me: I made a grave mistake Mae. And I am sorry if I end up crying, but last night I bought a one way ticket to Cambodia, and I don’t know if I can do that.

Mae: Okay, what is the confirmation number? Did you purchase travelers insurance?

{ Of course I didn’t. I didn’t do it the last time either, which turned out to be a nightmare in Hong Kong. I guess I don’t really ever learn. } 

After giving her my information I started to tear up.

Me: Have you ever ran away after a broken heart?

Mae: I can’t say I have sweetheart. 

Me: You are probably a wise woman though. A bit more protective of your heart. You wouldn’t

make the mistakes I did that makes you feel the need to run away.

Mae: Why Cambodia?

Me: It feels like home.

Mae: No boy is worth thousands of miles from uprooting your life. It can’t be that bad. And if it is,there are at least 49 other states.

Me: I can’t leave to another state. He is from Texas. All of the states are connected to Texas. Oklahoma is above it, which corners Missouri, which is connected to Kentucky, and Kentucky boarders West Virginia, and all the way up to Maine. Do you see? 

Mae: Oh sweetheart don’t be silly.

Me: I am trying not to be, which is why I need to cancel this ticket.

Mae: Keep talking while I figure a few things out. How long did you two date?

Me: Mae that’s the problem. We didn’t even date. He was just a friend.

Mae: A friend that you loved?

Me: Extremely, and drunkenly.

Mae: Does he know?

Me: Of course he does. A girl like me doesn’t keep secrets very well. Sometimes I think I love too hard. 

Mae: So you have a heart the size of United States, ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Me: But it’s wrong when you aren’t the person that the other person wants love from.

Mae: That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t love child.

Me: I thought that I could continue to pour love into him even if he didn’t want it.

Mae: Ah the epitome of grace and mercy.

Me: I knew that we wouldn’t ever get married. He likes skates, and I’m better on rollerblades.

Mae: Can you two still be friends?

Me: Maybe if I am gone. Maybe we will send each other random updates. I worry that if I stay I’ll end up hating him.

Mae: Sweetheart, it doesn’t sound like a girl like you knows how to hate.

Me: Can I be the cool girl who can still be his friend?

Mae: That’s up for you to decide. Is running away going to make it better? Or will it strain the friendship?

{ Silence }

Mae: The records show that you are twenty-one sweetie, I get it. You want to be the cool girl. The one who doesn’t take anything personally. But you are not her. You love too deeply and too quickly. And that is okay. You are your own fragile, strong, sweet, searching self. I need you to remember that – you are your own searching self. It’s admirable that you want to help others, but you can’t run away when it’s time to find yourself. You’ll end up taking yourself with you. I am sure your friend doesn’t want you to leave on his accord. You deserve to not run. You deserve to show yourself you can heal your own heart.

Me: I already did that though – with November boy

Mae: So call this one February, March and April boy.

Me: Mae, please don’t cancel my ticket. I need the security of knowing I can go when it becomes too much.

Mae: And when it does, you call me directly. But we have got to sort out the right reasons for you to go first. I will leave this as an option of an escape route because all buildings have an emergency exit. If you are okay in six weeks then do yourself a favor, and cancel your ticket.

Me: Thank you.