She pulled out of the parking lot not having the slightest clue where she was going. The wheel was slick with the sweat escaping from her palms; she blinked her eyes enough times to clear the tears that had accumulated beneath her eyelids.
As she was stopped at a red light, about to turn out of the lot, she picked up her phone, silently praying Matt had texted her. They hadn't spoken in six days and if he were to reach out to her, it would be a miracle. But that's what she needed. She needed some kind of sign to tell her she wasn't completely alone- a divine intervention of sorts.
The light turned green but Grace was too busy being locked in a staring contest with her blank home screen. No text. No calls. No notifications from any form of social media. The only thing that stared back at her was a picture of her and Matt that was taken many months ago. They were wrapped in a blanket sitting on the football field of their alma mater. Their faces were touching and their fingers were so intertwined that it would appear to be impossible for them to ever let go. That was back when they were happy. Back when the days were so blissful that they blurred together and when the nights seemed to house endless possibilities.
"Beeeeeeeeeep beeeeep!" A horn blared from behind Grace's car and she made an abrupt left turn, panicked by the sudden noise disrupting her daydream.
Where can I go? What can I do?
She had felt lost many times before in her life, but this was different. Besides the recent breakup with Matt, life had been treating her pretty well. She was up for a promotion at the advertising firm where she'd spent the last six years proving to herself, her colleagues and most importantly, the impossible-to-please boss that she had actual talent. Last week, Grace had given the pitch of her life to one of the most sought-after clients any ad agency would kill to work for. And they totally bought it. This should have rocked her world, but any time someone told her a friendly "congratulations", she found herself shying away from the compliment and silently cursing her ability to bullshit.
She was feeling the pressure, big time. Since she had gotten sober, all she wanted to do was prove to the world that she wasn't the person so many people had known her to be. She really had changed. She had changed so much that she often found herself struggling to be comfortable with the person she had evolved into. Grace liked to believe sobriety had changed her for good, but as her thoughts drifted back to the bottle of Merlot, she felt weaker and more confused than ever. If life was going okay, why was her urge to fuck it all up so unbelievably strong?
Before she knew it, Grace was halfway in between Akron and Pittsburgh. Signs for the Pennsylvania Turnpike started appearing outside her windows. On top of that, the rain was beginning to kick in and her adrift driving was still utterly aimless. As someone who used to be a professional at impulse decision-making, she figured why not take her hopelessness to Pittsburgh for the night. She would get a hotel, put on a warm robe, order room service and turn on the cooking network. She would turn off her phone, take a couple NyQuil and sleep off the impending urge to drink. She had this; everything was under control. Screw Matt, screw the pressure, screw the grey area that had become her existence.