• It was raining for the first time since I'd left town. I should have been expecting it as I headed farther and farther north, but as the first few drops of water splattered against my windshield like dead bugs, I groaned in surprise and pulled into the first motel I saw. I hated driving in the rain. Lazy Dayz Motel advertized its rates as Low low low! You can't really get any better than that. I had no umbrella, and I ran quickly across the gravel parking lot, covering my head with my hands. Drops of moisture stung my skin. I brought my small backpack, my only bag, with me. A short, wrinkled man sat at the front desk, reading a travel brochure.
    "Hello," I smiled slightly at the man, who slowly lowered the paper and looked at me.
    "Yes," he grunted.
    "Are there any rooms available?" I asked. I tried to sound polite, but after driving for four hundred miles I didn't have much left in me.
    "Yes," he said again. "I'm Randall. This is the Lazy Dayz Motel. Welcome. What kind of room are you interested in renting?" His voice was monotone, rehearsed.
    "One bedroom, one bath. Just for the night." I said.
    "Just one moment," Randall said. I waited patiently as he dug through a box of keys for the one he was looking for. He handed it to me. I paid $67 for the night.
    "Thank you," I said, and turned towards a staircase. I was in room 212. The second floor. I walked up the carpeted stairs quickly, eager to lie down and rest, maybe watch the news. I found my room, unlocked the door, and opened it to the smell of cherry pie. There wasn't a kitchenette or any signs of food. I shrugged. There wasn't a television either. Oh, well. I could use some sleep. After washing up and changing into a pair of sweats, I climbed into the cheap motel bed. It was hard and cold, and I couldn't help missing having someone there, wrapped around me with thin, fragile arms.
    The morning was even colder, but the rain had stopped. I awoke with the fragments of a dream slipping from my mind with every heartbeat. I showered, dressed, and checked out of my room before 8. I didn't shave. I had no one to shave for. The landscape around me was grey and green, concrete and trees. As I drove, I let my mind wander from the long stretches of road to the words that were said, and even more importantly, the ones that weren't. I hadn't let myself say a lot of the things I wanted to. Ryan had said only the most important things--the things that hurt the most. The things that would be hardest to forget. Things have changed for me, Brendon, he said...
    "And that's okay! I feel the same." I tried to tell him. But the light in his eyes was gone. He wasn't fighting anymore.
    "I can't do this anymore." he looked away.
    "Can't do what, Ryan?" I challenged. I didn't mean to sound harsh, because in reality I wanted nothing more than for everything to be okay again.
    "I don't want you anymore." His words made my heart fall into my stomach, fall quicker than ever before. I felt tears push at my eyes and sting my nose, but I pushed them back. I couldn't cry, not in front of him. I couldn't feel this yet. It was too much.
    "I don't understand." I said quietly. My voice was empty. I tried to do the same to my brain. I tried to empty it out and not process this.
    "Things have just changed, okay? I don't want this. I don't want you." Ryan looked at his feet, eyebrows together.
    "What happened?" I walked away. I walked out of his apartment, out of his life. It hurt like nothing I'd ever known...