“Why can’t I just be happy?” she asked, tears coming already.
“I don’t know,” he answered, well-meaning, but unhelpful.
“I chose this life, you know? I thought it would make me happy. It should be making me happy,” she said.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know if it works that way.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Well,” he said. “You know how, when you’re young, like really young, it’s almost like you get to this point where you’re standing at the top of the world? And life’s possibilities seem to stretch out before you, like countless paths in every direction?”
“Yeah, I guess,” she said, sniffling.
“You guess?” he asked.
“No,” she said. “I do. I miss that feeling.”
“Well,” he said, “I think we all miss that feeling.”
“Yeah,” she said. “I kind of wish I never would have left.”
“Well that’s not an option,” he said, warming to his answer. “Not choosing is itself a choice. As is letting someone else choose for you.”
“Yeah” she said. “I can see that.”
“I think you’re sad in the way we all are sad. You make one choice at the expense of all the others. And it’s your choice, so there is no one else to blame. Things get hard, and the fact that you made the choice doesn’t make it any better. In fact, it kind of makes it worse.”
“Don’t you think that’s a little cynical?” she asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe just realistic. No matter what you choose, no matter what your path, its singleness makes it sad. Almost lonely. It’s incredibly difficult, making one choice, and watching all your other dreams, loves, hopes, and possibilities just sort of trail away.”
“I don’t know if you’re helping,” she said.
“And I don’t know if there’s an answer to your question,” he said.
“No, I think you’ve answered it,” she said.
“Well, at least you’re not alone, then,” he said.
“Yes,” she said. “At least there’s that.”