Heartbreak Hotel

Volume II : Chapter XI

It took me a long time to write this post. I usually pawn blog posts off on Kyla because she writes beautifully and I'm lazy. I knew that this particular chapter of the story had to be told in my voice, because my broken heart and fucked up head were captain and first mate of the floundering ship we spent our summer on. 

Years ago, when we started this whole thing, it felt as though she and I would never run out of things to talk about. Fresh out of relationships, we were seeing the world with new eyes and processing it all together. We'd drive slow and talk fast, in circles. We had the same conversations over and over again, approaching them from different angles, interrupting, agreeing and digressing. Our best, most frequent conversations were about relationships. We were a pair of modern day Scrooges, visited nightly by The Ghosts of Boyfriends Past, Present and Hypothetical. The relationship I had come out of before we left was ultimately ruined by jealousy. No matter how hard I tried, I was an anxious, clingy, terrible version of myself. I spent four years terrified that this person would not only leave me, but leave me for someone else.  In a futile effort to control what I thought was inevitable, I basically became an amateur private investigator. No stone was left unturned, no text unread, no ex-girlfriend unreasearched. It was fucking exhausting. 

"I'll never be that way again." I would say to Kyla over and over again, each time as if it was the first time she had heard it. "I know you won't, you're so much more secure in yourself now." she would patiently reassure me. Between gas station coffees on long haul drives I would repeat my mantra out loud -  "Trust is like, so important."  

They say there's nothing that the road can't heal. After six months of driving across the country, I believed that. Those hours of two person group therapy had left me feeling calm, confident, and ready to put my words into action. 

That summer, back in Vancouver, I fell in love again. It wasn't anything like the heady, frantic love I had experienced before. It started slow, and built steadily. Initially, I resisted. "Don't get too attached to me, I'll be leaving soon." I would tell him, my pending work visa application looming over us. Over the next year my defences weakened everyday. By the time spring rolled around, I wasn't even sure I wanted my visa to be approved. Being with him felt safe, comfortable. I trusted him implicitly and loved him fully despite all perceived red flags. 

One weekend in June it fell apart. Those familiar feelings of doubt and paranoia appeared out of nowhere, moving back into their old place in the pit of my stomach. Only this time, it was really happening. He was leaving me. For someone else. 

I was shocked, angry, and most of all embarrassed. I used to be the most guarded person alive, yet I didn't see this coming? How could I have let this happen? How could I have been so fucking naive? 

Each day I felt more hopeless and pathetic than the day before. It was getting to be too much to handle so I did what I always do, I ran away as far and fast as I could. It didn't take much to convince Kyla to get in the car with me, and shortly after our friend Tamara decided she was gonna come along too. We didn't have a clue where we were going, so we just started driving. For 6 weeks we drove a giant circle around the country, through the midwest and down the Mississippi, back through the southwest and up the coast. 

I wasn't the only one hurting on that trip. We were all terrified of something. Some days we'd drive in complete silence for hours. I'd pull my hat down low over my head and cry as quietly as I could, head turned to the window. Some nights we all bawled our fucking eyes out. We drank way too much and smoked until our lungs burned; tiny suicides. And then, little by little, the fog lifted. We sat outside under the clearest night skies we'd ever seen and laughed until our cheeks hurt. We ran through strange streets screaming and smiling. We talked in those familiar circles. 

They say there's nothing that road can't heal. I don't know if that's true or not, but by the time we reached Texas we were, well, miles away from where we used to be. 

Words by: Jillian Mann


Start reading from our first day on the road or see all of our travel posts.