Into The Wild Essay Belonging

I became best friends with Jason’s brother, too, and — lest there be any doubt about my commitment to his family — when Jason started dating another girl instead of me, I started dating his brother instead of him.

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Neil and I had decided to meet for a drink on my way through Madison, and I was only a few blocks from the bar where we had agreed to meet when he texted me, “Mind if my wife joins us? I had thought that so much of this trip would be terrifying, but none of it was. That night, the four of us didn’t talk for long, but we talked about a lot: writing residencies and freelance jobs, slush piles and waiting to hear back from editors, writing contests and how long it takes for a piece to be published. She was vulnerable and brilliant and quick-witted and kind, and I could see why Neil loved her.

” During our time in residency, Neil had told me about what it was like to be in an open marriage, how many of the men his wife met on dating apps were more than happy to sleep with a married woman, while most of the women he talked to were too suspicious of his situation to ever meet. If anything, being on my own made me feel alive again — wild, even — and I was starting to realize how many of my life choices had been made for the wrong reasons. After only a few minutes of talking, she confessed to me that her day had been terrible.

“Emily’s Heartbreak Tour of America,” my friends called it, and it kind of was.

I was a 33-year-old woman, and after spending my entire adult life looking for a man to marry, I committed instead to a year of not trying to find one.

I liked Sean, too, but I can’t remember why other than the fact that he had hair that got blonder the longer he was in the sun, and that he liked a football team other than the Patriots. Jason was the best because his parents were divorced, which meant there were two families to love.

His father and stepmother invited me to their cocktail parties, took me to a New Year’s Eve dinner in New York City, brought me home when it was too late for Jason to drive, and paid me for painting the side of their house.

In the middle of our breakup, I played bridesmaid to my best friend.

Standing beside her as she said her vows, I felt like we were opposites. Standing in front of her wedding guests, I remember thinking for the first time, If being good was what got me here, then I may as well be whatever I want.

I too had wanted those things, and when I met a man in my late 20s who was quiet and kind, I figured I had finally found it.

I could picture the life I wanted so clearly: an old house on a dirt road, a kitchen table big enough for the kids to do their homework, a hammock in the shade, this kind and quiet man kissing my neck every morning before heading off to work.


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