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I would never be good enough for him, and I knew that. I wasn't cultured enough, successful enough, nor was I tempered appropriately. And it was too late to change any of that. I had decided at 19, and reaffirmed as I aged, that I was committed to a life of being average, and here I stood. The only thing I seemed to be capable of doing was building things up, and then subsequently, tearing them down. Following the compliments was a great way to tow the line of mediocrity. But I was too insecure to follow anything else.

What could I even do to change that at this point? There was nothing that I even wanted enough to warrant committing to. God, I needed to get the fuck out of O'Hare before this existential crisis spiraled out of control. I turned back to my charcuterie plate and glass of sauvignon blanc, which I had been chugging to quiet my mind. The charcuterie had been fine, better than I had expected for an airport restaurant. It was certainly sure to be overpriced as well. I'd find out when the check came, because of course I hadn't looked before ordering. 

The check came, everything was cheap because it wasn't New York City, and my American Express was declined because of the over $1000 hotel bill charges I had racked up. I laughed when they told me, mostly because I wasn't surprised, and handed over my debit card. Another reason he would never date me. Having your credit card declined does not marriage material make.

There was a table of devastatingly average men directly to my right, who were discussing their work strategy in a level of seriousness that I could only describe as pathetic. Actually, I guess I was kind of jealous. I would kill to care about something even close to that much.

The flight calmed me down at least. I loved being high maintenance on flights. I already ordered a cheese platter, two glasses of wine, and juice, before the flight attendants had been up for even five minutes. Jonathan, of course, still hadn't texted.

Nikki, age 24

* This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.