Heartbreak ‘Round the Bend

I got a surprise call from an old friend today. Surprise, because he called, and surprise, why he called.

Todd* came into my life about 15 years ago when he began dating a friend of mine, Dani.* The two of them were inseparable for several years, seeming to bring out the best in each other and destined for a happy future. As time went by, however, I began to see some cracks in the glossy surface, and when they eventually broke up, I wasn’t surprised.

But it was a shock for Todd, who was inconsolable for years after Dani called it off. In an effort to get over her, he moved back to his former home town, and I hadn’t heard from him, save the occasional Facebook post, for nearly four years.

He’s not over her. He’s moved back to win her heart all over again.

It seems Dani knows nothing of this; in fact, she’s engaged to another man. As Todd points out, they’ve been engaged for more than three years, and she’s well into her thirties. I admit that does seem a bit strange, but I don’t think it’s enough of a sign for Todd to believe she’s still in love with him.

He’s asked for my support as he pursues her. I know Todd. He’s going to believe until the wall tumbles down and buries him. I told him I wouldn’t support anything illegal, unethical or just plain stupid, and Dani is my friend, too (although I’ve been out of contact with her since they broke up).

Right after I hung up from my call with Todd, I heard from Sandy, a mutual friend.

“I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW STUPID HE’S BEING,” she fumed. Apparently, he called her first.

I made my decision right then. Todd has my support.

I don’t believe he’s going to win Dani back, but I believe he’s going to need friends.

I called him once again, told him (sort of) what Sandy said, and promised I’d be there for him. I also told him I had no reason to believe Dani still cared for him, but that wasn’t what was important to me. What did matter was he knew I get it, I know how his mind works, and I believe he’s going to need someone to bounce thoughts off of from time to time.

Like, before he drives by her house at midnight on a Saturday night to see if she’s home or not. He’s 38 years old, for crying out loud. If he’s going to pursue her, he’s going to do it legit.

So we’ll see. I see heartbreak ahead…but until the break is complete, he can’t heal.


*Names, of course, were changed.

Over You

“You’re going to leave me alone at Christmas…”

“You’ll be okay. You said you had to work that day. You’ll be too busy to notice I’m gone.”

That’s not exactly how it would work, and we both knew it. I’d had it. I had gone out of my way to get you really thoughtful birthday gifts just a week before, even though you’d been treating me like crap. I’d been doing everything I could to make this work. All of the effort was on my part, and now you were flying back home for Christmas and leaving me alone in a new city, a new state to fend for myself.

“Go to church. Lots of people go to church on Christmas.”

You went on with your plans. “I’ll be back January 3rd. We’re going out New Year’s Eve so I want a couple of days to recover.” Oh, great.

I began to think how wise I’d been not to move in with you. It’s not that I was such a conservative give-me-the-ring kind of person. It’s that I wasn’t sure of you. This move had been good for me, but not because of us. I’d never been able to explain that to you. I’d needed to leave home, to get away from the place I’d lived all my life and experience something new.

We celebrated our Christmas the Saturday before you left. You were disappointed with the gifts I got you, and said so. “You did so good with my birthday gifts…” Not that your gifts to me were anything to brag about, but you couldn’t — or wouldn’t — see that. I didn’t say anything.

I drove you to the airport the next morning and dropped you off at the terminal. “See you January 3rd!” you said cheerily.

“No,” I said firmly. “That’s it. It’s over. I’ll take care of your house while you’re gone, feed your cat like I promised, but I’m done.” You looked at me quizzically and left. I knew you didn’t believe me.

Not one phone call for nearly the entire three weeks, but you had an excuse: I’d broken up with you. Finally, New Year’s Eve day, you called. I didn’t answer, but you left a message. “I’m coming home early. My flight gets in at 10:00 p.m.”

I’m not picking you up. I had no plans, but I turned all the lights out about 9:45, just in case you were early. I knew you’d have a hard time getting a cab home to your place, you lived so far from the city limits. I knew you’d head to my apartment. You did.

Pounding on my door. I didn’t answer. Swearing.

The next day around noon you called. I still didn’t answer. I put your key in a padded envelope and mailed it to you.

You called again.”What the hell are you doing mailing my house key to me? Anybody could’ve gotten it and broken into my house.”

This time I returned your call. “It’s over.” I said. “Got it? It’s over.” Silence. You hang up.

You tried calling a few more times, but I’m done. I’m over you.

Sad love heart symbol background

Photo Credits: (swan) © Indiloo Designs – Fotolia; (heart in window) © robsonphoto — Fotolia

New Magic

A million thoughts — a thousand regrets — a dozen things I’d change today to bring back the magic. Do you ever think of me?

I dreamed of you the other night, and you were kind to me. I suppose I’m healing.

And moving on. I’m dreaming about someone else these days, but scared to let him know, to open the door to heartache.

A dozen ways to bring back the magic. Maybe not with you, no, I know, never with you.

New magic.


Image Credit: (Girl) Sophie Anderson (public domain); (Background, Light Rays and Light Dust) © Roman Dekan — Fotolia

Chance Encounter

Today, I planned to meet a friend for lunch. She works in the courthouse building, and I scrambled to get there at the appointed time.

Just as I was getting on the elevator, only moments from her office, I received a text. She couldn’t make it today.

I barely noticed the young woman who graciously allowed me to enter the elevator first. I asked her what floor she wanted so I could push the appropriate button, then really saw her. Long brown hair, pretty, and…lost.

“Two,”  she said. Her eyes widened, and I noticed how small she looked. Not because of her size, although she was petite, but something else I couldn’t place.

Fotolia_93820319_XS“I’m getting an annulment,” she said.

“Oh, I am so sorry,” I told her. “How painful. How heartbreaking!!”

“He’s already married,” she said. “Marrying me was illegal.”

“Not to mention a horrible thing to do to you.”

We both got off on the second floor, and I helped her find the circuit clerk’s office. I know the ladies who work there; they are kind and would be supportive to this poor young woman. Really, almost a girl.

I thought about her throughout the rest of the day, and hoped she has the support she will need in the coming weeks as she processes this betrayal. Anyone who starts talking to a distracted stranger about something so personal, so painful, clearly needs to talk.

Where were her friends, her family? Why did she have to go down to the courthouse alone? Perhaps they had always suspected something was off about this man, maybe they had even warned her. Were they smugly saying, “we told her so” instead of reaching out to her?

Or had someone offered to stand by her, and she refused? Maybe she hadn’t even told her friends and family about it yet. Did she have a big wedding, or did they elope? Was Magic Castle And Princess With Princeshe afraid of what others might say to her, or ashamed to admit she’d been duped?

The numbers and human nature say she will fall in love again, but no doubt her ability to trust has been damaged. I hope she meets a loving, patient man, who is willing to bear the burden of her fear.

I hope she has the fairy tale ending we all deserve.

These chance encounters, they stay with you sometimes.


Image Credits: (Sailor’s Lass) © Thomas Mucha — Fotolia; (Broken Heart) © chuugo — Fotolia; (Fairy Tale Ending) © JackyBrown — Bigstock