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Breakups: a Trilogy

June 8, 2009

Dating is a silent killer that has been striking the young more and more in our time. At least, that was what I told myself as I passed by mobs of middle school kids in the Wellington Mall. They were loud, and they crowded Forever 21, the food court, and generally everywhere that would be in my way. Young couples that looked like midgets to me, in overly-tight jeans and wacky haircuts, held hands and looked at each other with ogling, love-struck eyes. It made my cynical stomach turn.

Then my memories called to me, but I was reluctant to answer to them. They beckoned from a time that I, and most other people, try to forget. But they called ever louder, and I was unwillingly brought back, all the way to eighth grade. I saw myself once again in my ugly private school uniform: the khaki skirt that fit awkwardly high on my waist, the light blue oxford shirt that had a safety pin in place of one of the buttons, and the worn orange backpack that had seen too many years.  It was in that time, that stage between childhood and womanhood, that I met Bryce.

Part 1: The Original Guitar Hero

Bryce was the first person with a Y-chromosome to take much interest in me. Not that I was not interesting, of course. I was much louder then, because like most people of that particular age, I thought that would make me stand out, and that was how my friends acted. I knew I “liked” him. “Like.” What a terrible abuse of the English language. I like ice cream. I like my mom. I like to hike. And I liked Bryce. But then again, at such a young age, how deep could my emotions possibly be? I knew he liked me too, after P.E. in the girls’ locker room. All of us girls were boxed in by the grey tile and red lockers that had reverberated with many young girls’ secrets over the years, when Heidi told me how adorable Bryce and I were.

“He likes you! I can tell by the way he looks at you.”

The ogling, love-struck eyes. With those eyes, he bore into me as we walked across the dew-draped soccer field and I told him I was not ready to date (and I was right), and when I finally gave in and saw a movie with him (who knows what it was), and when we had our first kiss, my first kiss, unceremoniously in my little brother’s room (anticlimactic and unromantic, trust me, I know). But at the time, that kiss was sweet as music. Sweet as his music.

Bryce played the guitar with skill that I had never seen before, and I have yet to see again. The strings seemed to bend to his will, to follow his command, like six blindly devoted servants. He was a very tall and lanky person, so perhaps his long, gangly fingers gave him an advantage. We made a band and called it Fish Biscuit; the name came from the story in the Bible where Jesus multiplied the bread and fish. We were sure the five thousand had put the two together and made sandwiches. Unfortunately, God did not multiply my talent of playing the drum set, and I was asked to leave the band, like a kid who acts up too much at school, but not enough to get expelled.

Our relationship went downhill from there, and after a year and a half spent together, I suddenly and simply gave up. A year and a half of love, of friendship, of movies, and parties, and music, and Monty Python. After all that, I broke up with him over the phone. He had always been very good to me, but what middle school child truly knows what she wants? A year later, he and his family moved to Texas, so that his mom could help her sister with her fledgling rain wear design company. I have only seen him once since, but I occasionally Google his name, to check on the success of his band. It was a turning point in my life, for sure, but it could not prepare me for what was yet to come.

Part 2: Rocket Man

It was almost two years after Bryce that I opened the dating door once again. To this day, I and everyone I knew at the time have no idea why I dated Brad. I suppose one can blame the marching band bus for many unwanted romances. After all, the boy hated Disney World, and if one hates “the happiest place on earth,” it should be taken as a bad omen. Not only that, but he was the son of a rocket scientist, and that just is not normal. But our first date was to the Palm Beach Zoo. A harbinger of something lovely, right? We saw some sort of goat with one horn that I called a unicorn. Unicorns are almost as fictitious as Brad’s affection for me.

We were sitting together in his little blue Hyundai, when I turned to him, looked into his gorgeous blue eyes, like the sky meeting the ocean but more shallow, and asked him if he loved me, the expression on my face begging for the answer I wanted to hear. But that was not the answer I got. I felt a horrible knot in my throat. What should have been what they call a red flag was furiously waving so close to my eyes, I was in danger of it smacking my face. But I went on, oblivious to its pleading red waves.

He planted flowers in my front yard (they subsequently died– my family is not known for our ability to maintain the life of garden plants). He let me play World of Warcraft once (just once– the fact that he played the game at all should have given me clear warning). He even read the book I gave him (though he most likely did not enjoy it– he was not much of a reader). We went to parks together, to restaurants together, and we even went to church together on occasion. I wonder if he ever felt guilty, sitting in the pew, listening to the pastor’s voice resounding throughout the room, declaring Jesus’ love of the world. Brad could not even love me. I, who gave him confidence. I, who made him feel special, feel like he was worth something. But it was not enough. He used the same confidence I gave him to strike me down.

If you ever plan on breaking up with someone, I suggest not doing so in a foreign country. There we were, a group of twenty-five or so students, studying Spanish in Salamanca, Spain. It was the trip of a lifetime. I will never forget it, that’s for sure. Some ways from the ancient, towering cathedrals and busy tourist shops were the dorms of the university where we stayed. I was alone in my room when he called me. We had been having issues. By issues, I mean I was angry. Women in Spain are apparently very good looking. So good looking in fact, that young, immature American boys are easily tempted by their flowing dark hair that waves tantalizingly as they walk by. Needless to say, this created the aforementioned issues. He called me and told me I was not enough. Not pretty enough, not scandalous enough, not impressive enough. He told me I was also too much. Too nice, too good, too Christian.

I lay in my bed, seeking some sort of comfort from the blankets I had drawn up around my curled up body, like a corpse. The night was dark as my heart. The fountains behind my eyes burst forth, and a seemingly ceaseless stream of tears cascaded down my face. I hoped that my neighbors could not hear my sobs through the paper-thin wall. I yearned for my family, but they were halfway across the world. I was utterly alone in that moment, which stretched on and on like no other moment had.

It took me some time to be able to trust other women again, to be able to see them and not be angry because they were beautiful. Life just is not the same when you hate everyone around you.

Part 3: Forbidden Fruit

Senior year of high school is a time for slacking off and having fun. Though I still struggled with the broken pieces of what was left of my heart, I attempted to make the best of my final year in that school, my last year in those awful uniforms. I was finally able to open my heart again, when I met Charlie.

Charlie was always fun-loving, needy, and slightly unstable. In other words, he was very much like a new puppy. He bounded, pawed, barked, and chased his own tail, and I was immediately drawn to him. This was someone I could help. I saw something in him that other people did not see; he was someone special. He was different. He must have liked Disney World, too. He was angry at what Brad did to me, and I appreciated that. He told me I was beautiful. He laughed at my jokes. So we grew closer and closer at an alarming rate.

Not long after I met him, I was in a counselor’s office. Sitting there, on that fluffy couch surrounded by decorations meant to inspire peace of mind, I felt like nothing but another decoration on the wall, as my mother and the counselor spoke. They talked about Charlie, and they talked about me. My mom did not want us together. She had that bad feeling that parents get when they know their children are wandering down the wrong path, running head-long toward the edge of a metaphorical cliff. When we are children, we think our parents are all-knowing super heroes. I now know that to be true.

But then, all I wanted was for the counselor to take pity on me, to be on my side. Unfortunately, I was to fight this battle alone. We left the office that day, and my relationship with my mom was more strained than before. She thought I was being rebellious, and I thought she was being over bearing, and the next few months of my life were painful indeed.

There is a time when love should be your first priority, when everything else is pushed aside for your pursuit of the pinnacle of human emotion. But not when these acts become completely selfish. I alienated good friends, and adults who once respected me looked on me with worried eyes. I had become someone I had not been before. I was like a child on Halloween, who puts on the clothes of some terrible beast, all the while hiding their true, innocent selves. I look back now, and hate the person I had become. We threw caution to the wind. The world could think what it wanted, because we were in love, and we did  not care. He had grasped me, and would not let go, but I did not notice. I did not realize his grasp was choking the life out of me.

Then, just a few months later, I finally gave up my blindfold and saw the truth. He had been using both mine and his own emotions against me. He was holding me in one place, stunting my personal, emotional, and spiritual growth. I had to escape. I told Charlie I had had enough; I could no longer live secluded from the world with him.  He told me I was wrong.

“Let me go,” I begged.

“No, I can’t let you go,” he replied resolutely.

I was an animal, clawing helplessly at the iron bars of the trap I had gotten myself into. My mind had once been a sanctuary, a place to find inner peace. But it had turned into a place of madness. I had never felt so close to insanity. His voice was the bane of my existence, his presence made me ill. At times, I loved him with all of my heart; at times, I hated him with every fiber of my being.

But finally, like the sun bursting forth from the horizon, like a bird flying free from its cage, I escaped. I ended emotional and psychological trap I had brought myself into. I was broken, bruised, battered, but not defeated. I will not be defeated. I am a phoenix, rising from the ashes of my past. I am golden. I burn with a flame of unimaginable, unconquerable heat.

I sit at the food court silently watching droves of small, but rowdy middle school kids run by, their oversized Vans clunk-clunk-clunking all along. They’ll learn, I think to myself. They always do. I return to my coffee, pondering life and love.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Brad permalink
    June 17, 2009 4:13 am

    Ok…i don’t “hate” Disney World, it just that i’ve been there so many times with my family that it’s never really fun anymore unless i go with some friends. Phew! Glad i got that off my chest! The year and a half wasn’t all so fictitious; after all how could someone possibly spend that much time with another person and not grow affectionate towards them? Geez you make me seem like a monster. Haha its ok though. :) Nice writing by the way; it’s very…poetic.

    • AmyCanWrite permalink
      June 17, 2009 3:07 pm

      Well, you never spoke very highly of the place haha. You have to admit, the whole not liking Disney thing is an oddity! But I’m glad you let that out, and that you’re not as much of a douchebag as everyone in my writing class now thinks you are. ;) And thanks! I try.

  2. August 21, 2009 4:50 am

    I just posted a comment and it deleted it. I’m mad at the internet.

  3. August 21, 2009 5:06 am

    I remember all of these relationships, and reading your thoughts gives me a slightly renewed perspective on your circumstances. Oh, and I like how Brad commented on this. I didn’t think it was really him at first, haha.
    Don’t give up on love. I think it’s some sort of right of passage that we have to suffer through some pathetic relationship(s) to get to the real deal. Here’s the thing, we can’t find or create love. So often do we find ourselves seeking out love in places where it won’t be found. Love finds us at our weakest moments, looks us in the eyes and says, “It’s time for you to stop being afraid.”

  4. Amy permalink
    January 29, 2011 2:13 pm

    I’m rereading this little trilogy of mine, and I realized it contains some of the worst things I’ve ever written about other people, especially Brad. I’m sorry! Talk about bitterness…geez. I’m revising it for someone to use, and I’ll post it when I’m finished. Hopefully it’ll be less awful!

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