Crossing Paths

By Nicole Powell

“It’s this upcoming exit.” I looked back down at the map.

“Oh shit, Exit 5? I think I just passed it. I’ll just take the next one.”

Jasmine spoke with a tone- a certain tone she only uses when she wants me to remain calm.

She didn’t expect me to realize, but it worked- it always did. Her slow, patient voice always

soothed my rapidly beating heart, my wandering mind.

I sat there, calm, pacing my breathing. I tend to blow situations out of proportion- “crying over

spilled milk”, as my fiance always tells me.

“It’s cool, just take the next exit. Maybe we’ll be able to turn ourselves around- or at least

get some cell signal.”

I was proud of myself for not becoming too anxious.

Minutes part to pass as quickly as the tall evergreen trees outside the car window.

“I honestly have no idea where we are.”

“I was just thinking the same. I can’t even locate us on this stupid map. I knew I

should’ve drove.” I felt the anger start to rise inside me as I finished my sentence.

“I’m just gonna pull over. There’s no point in wasting gas. Check my phone for service.”

Jasmine took her phone out of her pocket and passed it to me; I unlocked it and waited for a

service signal. I didn’t have to ask her password, I already knew it. I knew everything about her,

and loved everything about her- She was my best friend.

“Yeah, nothing.” It was hard to hide the disappointment in my voice.

“It’s okay, don’t get overwhelmed. I’ll just drive further down the road. Keep searching.”

It was so easy for her to say everything was okay. After all, it wasn’t her engagement party we

were heading to. I knew deep down she didn’t even want to go- she rather stay home and

smoke weed than attend her own best friend’s engagement party.

We drove further down the road. Nothing. No signal, no cars, no people. No hope. No

conversation in the car. We both sat there, worrying what the other person was thinking- neither

of us brave enough to break the silence.

Jasmine spoke. “I know you’re upset, okay? How about this- I just saw a sign for a motel

a few miles up to road. Let’s just stop there for the night and get directions in the morning.”

I agreed, because what else could we do? Drive aimlessly through the night? Tears welled in

my eyes- what would my fiance say? I knew what she would say. She would say it's okay, that

she understands, that she loves me. But I also knew what she would think. She would think it's

not okay, she doesn't understand why I always get myself into these situations.

We woke up before sunrise- not on purpose, just by chance. Jasmine and I had not spoken a

word to each other since leaving the car the night before. We weren’t mad at each other, just

disappointed. There was always a sense of disappointment in the air when we were together,

neither of us realizing why. But it was always there. At some point we must have let eachother

down- hurt one another badly. Then decided to never speak of it again.

“Hey, morning.” Jasmine turned around and looked at me.

“Morning.” I was cold, distant.

“The sun is about to come up over the mountains. Come here.”

I walked over to the sliding glass door, Jasmine opened it and we both stepped out onto the

dewey grass.

Neither of us had any idea where we were, but somehow we felt comfortable. A familiar feeling

existed between us as we stood, together, side by side, looking at the shadowy mountains.

“Even in the dark, Washington is more beautiful than New York.” I said in a low voice.

Jasmine grabbed my hand. The first time she physically touched me the whole week-long trip. I

was surprised- not only because she touched me, but because of how much I missed it.

“Listen. I was thinking- I have been thinking. Actually, I haven’t been able to stop

thinking.”

I stood there trying to control my breath. I knew she could feel my palms begin to sweat.

“I’m sorry I got us lost, and I’m sorry I made you upset. I’m sorry I made you a day late to

your party.”

I opened my mouth to stop her, but she stopped me.

“Let me finish.” She looked a deep breath. “I should have been honest with you. I made

it clear that I didn’t want to come on this trip. It’s not because I’m a terrible friend, even though

you may think so. Truth is, I love you. I love you more than I should. More than anyone should

love their newly engaged best friend who also happens to be their ex.”

She continued on- talking about how she knows she should have moved on just like I did, how

she knows we could never get back together.

I couldn’t stand there and listen anymore, I had to say something.

“Jasmine, enough.” I wiped the tears from her face. “I already knew all of this- none of

this is new information.”

Tears started to well in my eyes, my heart started to race. I knew it was wrong, but I never felt

such an urge in my life- I spoke.

“I love you, Jasmine. With all of my heart, I love you. I wish things worked out between

us, I wish I never had to move away for work. I wish I never met my fiance. I swear every day I

think about you- the way you used to hold me, kiss me, touch me.”

I didn't expect to be so honest- I surprised myself. We hugged each other, crying on each

other’s shoulders, feeling closer than we felt in years. We stood in the grass, watching the sun

come up over the mountains. It was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen.

We stood there- thanking God for getting us lost, thanking God for bringing us back together.

We admired the beauty of the landscape, the beauty of each other, the beauty of us together.