I could feel her eyes on me as I applied an ungodly amount of dark blush on my cheeks, trying to hide the tear stains. I reached for the mascara in my purse and when I looked up I caught her glance in the reflection of the mirror. "It's just been one of those" I said quickly with a shrug, trying to prevent her from feeling too awkward for getting caught staring. "Oh girl, I feel you" she responded with empathy while she washed her hands, "Trust me, I had a day like that last week. Couldn't keep it together if I tried. But hey just remember that whatever it is, it will pass, and in two weeks you'll forget that you were even in this bathroom reapplying your makeup". I looked down at my hands and bit my lip, trying not to let the tears fall for the third time in twenty minutes. "Thanks" I finally mustered as she threw her paper towel away and headed for the door. "No problem, and cute shoes" was all I heard as the door shut and I was left with my reflection, my thoughts and enough makeup for a circus clown.
After she left, I felt thankful for the interaction, grateful that someone could at least try to relate. "Girl power" I thought as I reminded myself to pay it forward the next time I came across a crying girl in an unlikely place. Yet regardless of the woman's kind words, I continued to feel sorry for myself as I looked deep into my own eyes, glassy and tired. "What am I doing?" I thought quietly in the empty bathroom. "What the hell am I doing here?"
Shaking my head, I realized it felt overly dramatic to be asking myself that question. I mean to be honest, I was hiding in the bathroom at a dingy neighborhood bar, so it was pretty obvious that what the hell I was doing there was trying to drown my sorrows in half priced beer and chicken wings. Work was shit, my life plans had somehow and unexpectedly spiraled out of my control and true story- that very afternoon I had received a breakup letter in the mail from a guy I wasn't even dating (talk about salt in the already gaping wound). He had handwritten it, bought a stamp and even took the time to put the card in the mail, which was without a doubt, quite a bit more time dedicated to "us" than I had ever put in. His words came in a card that was embossed with the crest of his alma mater on the front, which only led me to ponder how long he had been in possession of such cards and as I read, I found myself legitimately wondering whether he had purchased them with campus cash or not. And while I found this particular mans efforts to end something that never exactly started, humorous and a bit presumptuous, I couldn't help but feel a pang of envy over the fact that he knew exactly what he wanted, even if that meant it wasn't me.
Because besides acknowledging that I was trying to forget about my problems in a dark bar, I really knew nothing else about where my life was going. I was at a crossroads and had no clue what lie on any of the roads in front of me. I wanted someone, anyone to tell me what to do, where to go and what to expect next. I needed someone to order me to stay or to go, to direct me on what my next move should be. And as thankful as I was for my interaction with the lady in the bathroom, I found it extremely hard to imagine that she had ever been in this particular situation and I knew that it would take me a hell of a lot longer than two weeks to forget about this night, in this bathroom. I had some serious decisions to make, and while I had always valued my independence and ability to make choices based on what makes me the happiest, I had never wanted direction more in my life.
Realizing that I had been in the bathroom for a worrisome amount of time, I took a deep breath and looked at my reflection once more in the mirror in front of me. "It's just one of those" I told myself reassuringly. "Tomorrow will be better, it has to be" and as I turned for the door, I looked back and added "cute shoes."