Wyatt hadn't gotten more than a few hours of sleep in days. The perks of working in a coffee shop, though, meant that she could live off of too much caffeine and almost entirely ignore how exhausted she was. Because if she admitted she was tired, she'd have to admit to a few other things too—like that she couldn't sleep because she was too busy thinking, and she was too busy thinking about how her life had gotten so fucked in just a matter of hours. At night, when she was alone, she dwelled on every little detail, overturned every rock to figure out what went wrong and when and why and how. What she'd said. What he had said. If there was any way she could fix it—even though a nagging, hissing voice inside told her that there was no way she could repair the damage.

And it was likely true. By nature, Wyatt was flighty and a little argumentative, too proud to be a liar, stubborn to a fault...and somehow, she guessed that these traits just mixed into a cocktail for disaster in any relationship she tried to have. Jim had left first—although, to be fair, he'd left because she didn't want to commit to him in any way outside of the bedroom—and Wyatt had ached for weeks afterwards, consumed by guilt over alienating one of her closest friends because she wasn't ready for an exclusive relationship with anybody, let alone him.

Until she was, and the lucky person to have won her affections was none other than Topher Kobelski, her best friend and a self-proclaimed serial monogamist. But he was gone, too, sending Wyatt into a downward spiral as she analyzed every minute of their time together. It was so good, so natural and carefree and fun—at least, she thought everything had been good. He'd kissed her. He'd asked her on a date. He'd asked her to be his girlfriend. They held hands and shared tender kisses and tried new things together. For fuck's sake, they'd even planned a trip to Iceland together, one of the first signs that Wyatt wanted this relationship to last more than a few heated nights.

In the end, it probably wasn't enough. She was still too scared, too nervous, too hesitant to think about the future, despite her best intentions and her desires. So no, it wasn't enough. Maybe she wasn't enough; that thought sat in the pit of her stomach like poison until it tainted everything she did. At home, she was silent and contemplative. With friends, she was secretive. At work, she was distant and robotic, going through the motions like she'd done so many days before. Pour a cup of coffee. Swipe a credit card. Count cash in the office. Write in schedules. They were just actions, and Wyatt felt no connection to any of them.

Because maybe she needed a break—from work, from friends, from sitting alone in her apartment with nothing to do but analyze and cry and analyze some more. And as she looked around The Wild Detectives for the umpteenth time, she thought there was at least one solution to her many problems. Work had been less than exciting lately; she'd been there for six fucking years, and it was by far the longest commitment Wyatt ever held. And where was the fun in that? Where was Wyatt's spontenaity and love for life, her desire to be as fluid as possible, her need for freedom?

It sure as hell wasn't in this coffee shop, surrounded by the same group of people she'd seen day after day after day for who knows how long. The sudden realization struck her like a slap to the face, and she sucked in a deep breath as her feet carried her from the cash register to the office in back where Luther Kay—owner, boss, maybe even her friend, except friends don't do what she was going to do—sat, reviewing paperwork from the previous month's profits.

It wouldn't take long. It didn't take long. Wyatt already had her apron bundled in one hand when she knocked quietly at the office door, and when Luther welcomed her in, she simply set the black apron on the desk. "I quit," she breathed. And then she turned and walked out.

"Let's just fucking go to Alaska."

Wyatt was sitting with Vic, an old friend from high school whom she still managed to see on a fairly regular basis, despite the fact that Wyatt was now living in the city and Victoria was content to stay behind in Sleepy Hollow. They'd grown up almost as close as Wyatt and Ellie had, and between the two of them, they had a fair number of tattoos dedicated to the other. If that wasn't a sign of an eternal bond, Wyatt didn't know what was.

And she was there because being in Brooklyn was too stifling, filled with too many stupid reminders about the job she'd quit and the boy who left her, and Sleepy Hollow? Sleepy Hollow had her family and a few friends and her familiar backyard, so it was naturally the first place she came when she'd unceremoniously walked out on her job. Vic came soon after Wyatt confessed to being back in the village for an undisclosed, undetermined amount of time, and they'd easily spent a few days getting too stoned to function and discussing the devastation and turmoil that was life.

"What? The fuck would we do in Alaska?" Buzzed and confused, Wyatt lifted her head up from where it rested on Vic's back porch, her legs dangling over the side. She was never one to turn down an adventure, no matter how abrupt, and it was Vic's first sure sign that something wasn't quite right with her lifelong friend. "Seriously, Wyatt?" Vic asked before pulling herself up into a sitting position. All she could do was look down at Wyatt and frown, though; in her state, she didn't need to be chastised or admonished or yelled at for losing her edge. She needed to be comforted. "I just think it'll help you out, you know. Take your mind off shit. It might be good for you, to get you out in nature, exploring the great unknown."

It was an honest and simple enough answer, and it was the truth. Once upon a time, Wyatt had been notorious for just going and doing, but by her own admission, it had been some time since she'd done just that. She had her old apartment in Brooklyn for seven years, which she'd only just moved out of; she had her job at the coffee shop for six years, which she'd just quit. Everything else had been planned, even if the details came at the last minute. Wyatt and Topher's trip to Iceland. Wyatt and Topher's trip to the island. Wyatt and Topher's...something, anything, everything had been thought of, but no one could have planned for this.

With a deep sigh, Wyatt went back to resting on the porch, staring up at the roof in thought. It had been some time since she'd done anything just for the hell of it, and maybe leaving New York and all of its heartache behind for a few days (or weeks) was exactly what she needed. "Alaska, huh?" she asked after some time had passed and the idea seemed more doable, enjoyable. It'd be good to clear her head in a place that wasn't overflowing with millions of strangers crowding in on her. It'd be good to get back outside, where she felt like she could breathe—where she felt like she could do anything.

"Alright. Let's do it. Let's just fucking go to Alaska."
Ellie Kennedy
August 12, 2015 at 3:12 PM
Call Back
Hey Wy, it's me...but you probably know that. Listen, you haven't been returning my texts or my calls, and I know how much you hate voicemails but I'm leaving one anyway. I'm just... Fuck, I'm really worried about you, okay? You just took off without any warning, and now Mom thinks you're dead in some bus like that one guy—you know, the one in that book? Anyway, we're all just concerned about you. I know you're going through a tough time, Wyatt, and I just... I need you to know we're all here for you. And we love you. And that guy is a fucking idiot if he couldn't see how amazing you are because you're the best person I've ever known. I just need you to come home and be okay, so. Please, call me soon? At least let me know you're alive. Send a fucking owl or something. I love you, Wy. I'll call again soon.
August 7, 2015

I grew up thinking that keeping a journal was therapeutic somehow, but today, I'm struggling to find any sort of relief or consolation in writing down my deepest, darkest secrets, my insecurities, my fears. It's just paper, you know? Paper bound in leather, but the binding doesn't keep my thoughts safe from the outside world. It doesn't comfort me in any way, even if I try to trick myself into thinking it does. Because at the end of the day, I still sit on these fucking thoughts, and I still analyze the hell out of them, so really—what good does this do?

Obviously, that hasn't stopped me from writing, so maybe there is some small relief in putting my thoughts into words on a page. I don't know. I'm contradicting myself, much like I did last night, and I'm starting to think this is a problem I never realized I had. No one's ever called me out on it until last night, at least.

That's beside the point. That's decidedly not why I feel so fucked up today, why I haven't slept since I got home last night.

I couldn't sleep because he told me he could love me...and that was something I didn't want to hear right then. Two months into a relationship—my first relationship, really—and I get freaked out by the idea that someday, somehow, someone could fall in love with me, which is what most people get into a relationship for, right? Because they want to be loved? But it scared me. It felt like my life was flashing before my eyes, only the moments I saw weren't moments I'd already lived—they were moments I was scared of, moments when Topher did love me and eventually fell out of love with me because I can't imagine a world where that doesn't happen. He'd get too frustrated with me, with my choices, with my lifestyle because I'm too different from him. How could someone like him fall in love—and stay in love—with someone like me?

So it terrified me, this big idea of love. Of being loved. Of loving someone else. The expectations that came with it. And I wanted to slow the pace, maybe keep myself afloat as I fucking tried not to just tuck my tail between my legs and run away. I wanted to just...fuck, I don't know. I wanted to just enjoy my time with him for as long as possible before he realized I'm actually no good at this, and it backfired in a mean, ugly way. And ultimately, I just...I just had to say I wasn't ready for it, and the fucking awful thing is that I still don't know if that was a lie.

Because I'd been telling the truth when I said that it was something I wanted some day. I want the corny life with the kids and the companion; I want to spend Sunday mornings doing the crossword puzzle in the paper; I want someone to share a life with, to share the things I love with—someone who will trek all over God's creation with me to point out this or that to our chubby-cheeked children who we're fucking carrying around in little baby bjorns and shit. I want someone to grow and learn with. I thought I was doing so well and that I was on that path with Topher—from the archery lessons to visiting a foreign country to taking our time with everything, I thought I was getting what I wanted and giving him what he wanted in return.

But then I got scared, so I guess I haven't really changed at all.