The Brightness of Day

it sucks

It sucks when you think you've accepted that certain chapters in your life end, because that brief acceptance is somehow always followed by a memory or something that takes you back down seventeen notches.

Or at least that was the case for me.

I was trying my hardest to hold back tears as I drove straight towards Pennsylvania so Theo wouldn't have to feel like he needed to comfort me. It was weird having him of all people here, during a time of such vulnerability for me because I couldn't openly sob or scream if I wanted to. Thankfully, he was too busy checking his phone for him to notice me furiously blinking back the tears.

As soon as I felt the smile on my face, that I was taking control of my life finally, a memory of Evan hit me like a freight train.

We went on a road trip, our first one, to the Niagara Falls. It was a long, six hour drive, but we had so much fun. We compiled a playlist together, we played silly car games like I Spy, and I read to him from my book because he insisted that if he was driving and I was reading, I had to include him in my reading.

When we got there, it was stunning. We sat back and stared at roaring falls for what felt like hours. It was both comforting and exciting at the same time, watching such a great natural beauty in the arms of someone I cared so much about.

And then out of nowhere, he said the words, "I love you," for the first time.

It was my favorite memory when we were together, and my least favorite now that we broke up.

"Fuck," Theo muttered.

I glanced at him, taken away from my thoughts, and said, "What's wrong?"

He shook his head but didn't say anything. I was starting to get annoyed Theo hiding everything from me, including what was going on with both Milo and his ex. We stopped at a gas station near Brooklyn, minutes after I found Theo in my car, and quickly texted Milo to ask what happened between them while Theo went inside to get snacks.

He hadn't responded to me.

"If you're going to be my road trip companion, you gotta give me something, Theodore," I said, hotly.

Theo looked at me, amused.

"It's not like you're spilling your guts to me either, Isabella," he shrugged.

I huffed and Theo laughed.

"I'll make a deal with you," he said. "Each state we enter, we tell each other something."

"That's a lot of states and therefore a lot of information to reveal, you know."

Theo chuckled. "Hey, we're road trip companions remember?"

I rolled my eyes and said, "Okay, let's start now then."

"We're still in New York..."

"We entered this state at some point. Twenty-four years ago for me, twenty-seven for you," I shrugged. Theo laughed loudly, which made me laugh. It suddenly reminded me of a younger version of him.

"Touche, Clemens," he said. "Alright then...uh..."

There was a silence and I felt awkward about this. Theo was my brother's best friend (or former best friend, I didn't know). We were never really close or told each other anything that our Facebook or Instagram friends didn't know.

"This may be weird," I broke the awkward silence.

"Yeah..." He scrunched his nose up like he was thinking of what to say.

I sighed, giving it a go. "Well, I feel stuck. That's part of the reason why I'm doing this. I failed a relationship and a job, so there's nothing for me to do anymore. It feels like I've done everything I possibly could in New York, so I thought this morning that I should do something drastic and bring excitement back into my life."

Theo was silent for a second before he said, "Honestly, Izzie, I feel the exact same way. I also failed a relationship, my job is boring me to death, and...and you know, looking out the window in my bedroom used to bring me a lot of joy. I'd see my neighbors milling about, I'd see random strangers hurry to work or whatever, and for some reason I always used to feel happy knowing that we're all here for a reason. Now, it's just dull and dreary and I couldn't care less... about anything."

I glanced at him and said, "We're more similar than I thought."

"I was looking at my phone today because Chloe pulled her half of the money out of our joint bank account. We don't want to deal with divorce lawyers so we're doing it all ourselves," he added. There was just a slight hint of sadness in his voice.

"Wow. I'm sorry about Chloe, Theo..."

"And I'm sorry about Evan," he said. "I saw what happened."

"You and everyone else," I muttered.

"At least for you it'll get better. I know you've probably heard this a hundred times, but you'll find someone great and kind and who loves you. You're a great catch," he shrugged, looking out the window.

I smiled but then said, "It won't get better for you?"

"I had the great stuff. The marriage, the romance, the fun times and the bad. It just didn't work out for me."

"You don't think you'll find love again? You're twenty-seven, you're young, Theo."

"I don't know if I want it," he shrugged.

I didn't say anything. I just gripped the steering wheel and stared ahead on the busier-than-I-thought highway towards Pennsylvania. It made me sad to hear those words come out of Theo's mouth. Chloe really did a number on him, I didn't want him to become a broken shell of who he really was.

As Evan's face appeared in my mind again, I realized that was happening to me too, so maybe we could just be broken shells together.

I glanced at Theo again, hoping this trip would be good for as him as it would for me.

My phone buzzed suddenly in the stand I set up in the car and I glanced at it quickly to see that Milo texted back. I pressed the home button to open the text but I had to reread it three times.

It said, He's a betraying, cheating piece of shit, that's what happened.
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highkey feel this chapter on a spiritual level. Thanks for the recs, yall!