There are friendships that happen all of a sudden. One moment you're driving along alone, singing with the radio all by yourself, and the next you have a partner in crime riding shotgun. It's not planned. You didn't intend to pick up a buddy. It just happens.
Sometimes, just as rapidly, your co-conspirator finds that this ride, in this car, doesn't work anymore. The periods between songs are filled with tense silence.
You try. You try to fill the uncomfortable quiet with stories and "remember that time" and "what if we" but the truth is that while you're talking, your friend is looking at a phone or a map and thinking of the places that might be more enjoyable; she's telling you that you're going the wrong way, reminding you that you're a terrible driver and need to make different, better, friend approved choices. Like the ones she would make if only control of the wheel belonged to her.
That's when you realize that you do have a choice, but it's not the one that your friend means. Your choice is to keep talking and trying and hoping that something will change and things will go back to being the way they were, or you can stop at a convenience store and fill a bag with things you think she's going to need and then let her go with some grace.
Because the truth is that she's not always right and you're not always wrong. The truth is that it's not that either of you didn't try as hard as you knew how, you were just trying in different directions. She stopped understanding why you always drive exactly five miles over the speed limit and you stopped being okay with the way that she fussed with the radio.
The truth is that letting someone go doesn't negate the good times you had. It doesn't take away from what your friendship was. Letting someone go -- with grace, with kindness -- preserves those times and keeps harshness and bitterness from destroying everything.
So you pull over.
Your friend reaches for the door.
And you let her go.