Watching someone you love go through difficult times is like being trapped in your own body but paralyzed. You want to yell at them, scream, help them, but your body won't move, and you know that no matter how hard you try, in the end, the path is theirs to choose. You can't choose for them. What a terrifying concept, especially considering we hardly see every option when we're stuck in our own self-defeat.
How often do you think we write our own ending before the story is even finished? How often do we give up on ourselves when our lives are just starting? Things get hard and we immediately back away and assume that means we're going in the wrong direction, doing the wrong thing. If anything, when the waters get thick, that's our sign to keep going.
She had made a promise to herself that she intended on keeping. She was never going to go out with another writer: no matter how charming, sensitive, inventive, or fun they could be. They weren't worth it in the long run. They were emotionally too expensive, and the upkeep was complicated. They were like having a vacuum cleaner around the house that broke all the time and only Einstein could fix it. She wanted her next lover to be a broom.
It is not the conscious changes made in their lives by men and women — a new job, a new town, a divorce — which really shape them, like the chapter headings in a biography, but a long, slow mutation of emotion, hidden, all-penetrative; something by which they may be so taken up that the practical outward changes of their lives in the world, noted with surprise, scandal, or envy by others, pass almost unnoticed by themselves.