In Dublin she wrote.
It’s what she did when she was angry. The names of all the pubs irritated her skin. MacDonagh’s. MacDougal’s. Mac this, Mac that. The name wouldn’t leave her and that’s what irked her the most. She had flown halfway across the globe in hopes of moving past the heartache of that name, only to be confronted by it in this scrappy, atrociously welcoming city. He would fit well here, nestled between a dark pint and a hearty laugh. She couldn’t enjoy it. She found herself calmed by the artifice of a corporate whiskey factory, seeking solace there from the sheer authenticity of streets that in any other context would have been a source of curiosity and glee. So she wrote. The release of memory from mind to page gave her ease. Someday she’d be back. Someday she’d be over it.
In Stratford she cried.
She watched the wind caress the willow trees across the river and burst into tears when the same strokes grazed her cheeks. Shakespeare, after all, is for lovers. But lovers they were not. He would never be the Benedick to her Beatrice—but she couldn’t shake the feeling that they would have taken the stage by storm, given the chance. The river provided a small measure of comfort until she remembered that Ophelia drowned of heartbreak beneath a willow tree. And then she laughed at her internal melodramatics because she knew she’d been playing the fool for indulging her silly, silly heart. What she didn’t expect was for the river to gurgle in response, to giggle with her as if to say, “Now there.” It soothed her heart-wrung-dry, so in turn she blessed the sleepy Avon for receiving her tears without judgment.
In Paris she forgot.
She spent nearly the whole weekend on her own, frittering her money away on old postcards and cheap cigarettes because isn’t that what one does in Paris? She chuckled heartily when a middle-aged waiter declared her “old school” for ordering Lagavulin with her Croque Monsieur and begged her not to leave him. Youthful glory, as liminal as it may have been, crowded her mind and danced before her eyes. It was only after she had boarded the Eurostar for England that she realized she’d gone the entire weekend without thinking of him once.
In London she remembered.
She was meeting a friend for coffee in Covent Garden when she remembered the place where she’d lit a cigar with him. They’d run off with some friends to the National Gallery on an accidental double-date, gotten separated from the others in Renaissance Art, and wandered out to the street to share a cheap Fuente. She distinctly remembered thinking, wouldn’t this be nice? No it wouldn’t, she quietly reminded herself, returning to the smiling face in front of her. She sipped at her espresso. But the memories didn’t scorch so much this time, she noted. She’d only cried once this week. Perhaps the end was near.
In LA she let go.
LA was home–the sun, the sweat, the street corners that smelled like piss. They had enjoyed a long drive down the 5 with the windows down, and ate sushi at his apartment. They talked like old friends, not a hint of wist arrested her chest. At home in the smoggy heat, she finally felt air in her lungs. She’d come back to herself. A shot of electricity coursed through her veins at the thought, and she decided to do something that she had never felt at liberty to do before. She kissed him–smack on the lips. No tears, no fuss, no complicated yearnings. A hello-and-goodbye. A just-because-I-could. She left and drove north on the 101, whispering to her city, “I’ve missed you, my love.”
Lindsey is an accomplished playwright, actress, and writer. Her favorite book is the one she is currently reading. She believes that creativity is portable and exists within all of us.