A Lonely Thanksgiving Tale
In May of 2005, my 23 year old self moved from Long Island to South Dakota to start a life with my long-distance girlfriend after 3 years of visits back and forth. In June of 2006, things were not good, she was having a new guy move in from Florida that I had no idea she was talking to, and I moved into a dorm at University of South Dakota. At 24.
- •Around mid-October, I got notice from my RA that the dorms would be completely closedWe had to be out by 5pm Wednesday and could return 10am Sunday
- •This worried me slightly because I certainly wasn't going to stay in my former house with my ex and her new boyfriend.That would be uncomfortable, to say the least.
- •I talked to my RA and they allowed me to stay in the dorm alone.I guess they trusted me as I was an adult and living alone in the room
- •Oh, did I mention my laptop was being fixed at geek squad.This wouldn't be a problem except all the computer labs were closed. And this was slightly before Internet was basically standard on phones
- •There was one computer in the lobby of this massive dorm complex that I was the only resident of.So I had to stand there and email if i wanted to stay in contact with people. I couldn't use AIM which was my go-to program for staying in touch with the few friends I had back home
- •Finding thanksgiving dinner became a major issueUSD is in the very small town of Vermillion, SD. The next closest town was Yankton, 26 miles west, Sioux City, 28 miles south, or Sioux Falls, where I had lived, about 60 miles north. All the fast food places, Walmart, and basically everything in the college town was closed thanksgiving day. And I couldn't get stuff beforehand because I only had a mini fridge
- •I made a reservation (for one) at the Green Gables Inn in Sioux City, IowaAfter seeing an ad in the newspaper the week before, I decided to try this 75 year old Sioux City landmark.
- •I also bought a movie ticket (for one) to see Stranger Than FictionI was very happy to see that the promenade movie theater would be open. I was looking to see this interesting will Ferrell/Emma Thompson movie
- •The day came and I arrived at my thanksgiving dinnerIt was a price-fix set menu and it was delicious. I still remember how good the stuffing was. He waitress was busy, but felt kinda sorry for me, so she was extra sweet and talkative to me, especially about my family back home. I missed them a lot and felt like a loser, honestly. Eating thanksgiving dinner alone in a restaurant
- •After dinner I went to the moviesIt was eerily empty there, which is odd because now, big movies release on thanksgiving and Christmas. But I ended up being the only person in the theater. I did enjoy it, greatly. Really good movie.
- •After the movie, it all hit me and I couldn't hold back my emotionsAs I walked out of the movies, I went across the street to the spot that overlooked the Missouri River. I looks out over the water, and I felt sad. I felt angry. I felt hurt. It all hit me like a ton of bricks. I held it together well all day up to that point. But I couldn't keep it together anymore. I cried. Hysterically. I walked along the river to my car, and I tried to calm down before driving
- •The drive back to the dorm was filled with musicI played sad songs, happy songs, songs that I've loved all my life. I played songs that would evoke emotions. I didn't try to suppress the emotions. It was one of the moments in my life where I gave into them and let myself feel everything.
- •When I got back, the rest of the weekend wasn't too hardIt was still lonely, but I got through the hard part. I passed my time like I did that whole semester, watching the office seasons 1 and 2 over and over again, since that's all that was out on dvd at that time.
- •I still think of that day every year, thoughIt's a reminder of the lowest point in my life. Things aren't perfect now, as I'm going through a divorce and back to being alone. But you know, at least I have my beautiful daughter. And I'm home with family and friends instead of 1,500 miles away. And it wasn't nearly as heartbreaking a breakup.