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Column 3 – Part 1

A completely different place.

Almost three years ago I was on a completely different path in my life. I was in a serious relationship, but not with Sarah Chapman. It was one of those high school things that went into college.

She was such a great gal in so many ways, and I thought she was my first love, but when times were bad, they were the worst. In these times, there were some evident differences that I started to realize were insurmountable. I always had that nagging feeling that we weren’t right for each other, but I often forgot, because it was easier to forget than to actually do something about it. Finally, I did make the heart wrenching decision to break things off instead of starting another year of college with that feeling.

There is never a good time

We were getting together the first weekend after she moved into her new apartment. Overjoyed to see me, she showered me with a flurry of kisses and hugs as soon as I arrived. Our excitement of her first year off campus and not having been together for over a week overwhelmed the day, and then it was gone.

Day two, she woke me up with a kiss and a smile. We had breakfast together, and later went out to the pool during a warm stretch of the day. We got out later on, opened the door to her apartment, and her roommates immediately rushed us off on a hunt for sweets. The consensus was ice cream, on a distant part of campus. The great fun we were having laughing and talking made the long walk seemed like a stroll to the mailbox. Before I had known it the second day had come and went, and I grew more uneasy.

We need to talk

The third day I woke up to her making me a farmers breakfast and that was an indicator that only I was in control of the day. I made up my mind to do something about it the next moment I got her alone.

We sat in front of the TV playing Nintendo 64. We were playing Mario Cart, if that is what she was doing. I was beating the hell out of her. I finished, put down my controller and waited for her to catch up. She kept going off the path because Bowser and friends were abnormally brutal.

I watched her throw a small smirk at me as I struggled to hide my nerves. I was sick to my stomach, I had a headache and I knew, she wouldn’t understand.

As I got caught up in my thoughts, she had finished and jumped up to the kitchen to make some popcorn. I sat there and waited, turned off the 64 and watched some TV. She came back in, plopped down on the thatch couch next to me, and planted a “I love being here with you” peck on my cheek. I turned to her and asked, “Can we go talk in private?”

You dropped the bomb on me, baby.

We went back to her room and we sat opposite each other. I used all my strength to not break down, and as I thought of the first thing to speak, I nervously rubbed my perspiring hands. She picked up on my wayward glances, popped a couple of kernels into her mouth, threw her hair back and with a small giggle said “What? Are you going to break up with me or something?”

Her next giggling mouthful of popcorn was cut short when I said, “yes”.

She looked at me in disbelief, her cheek bulged mid chew.

She kind of giggled uncomfortably, swallowed and asked. “Are you serious?”

My eyes started to tear up. I lifted my eyes separate of my head as I mustered a nod, and a faint breath, “Yes,” and quickly looked away.

“No… you’re not…no, no you can’t.” The bag of popcorn sounded like a dropped textbook as the kernels rolled under the bed.

“You’re not breaking up with me, your not.” Her voice choked on her tears. I knew what she was feeling, suffocation, your throat dries right up and swallowing feels like cement.

She started to cry more heavily.

“You’re not serious?” “Is it something I did?

I shook my head no.

“Then what? We have always worked things out, if something’s wrong, we’ll just work it out. We have to.”

Her longing eyes stared into mine looking for hope. “I love you”, she said. I felt helpless as I started to watch her drown in her own shock.

Little did I know it would only get worse.

The three stages of the breakup

No one had ever broken up with me before but after the night was over I realized there are three stages.

Stage one is intense denial. Questions. Trying to find the verbal bandage to hem the near fatal wound that has just been dealt to you.

The second is anger and lashing out. You start to blame the instigator. Blame them for all the things they didn’t do. How it isn’t fair. How could you? After all that I have done? What about that thing I did for you on that one date? How could you do this to me? You are such an (expletive). How can you do this to me so suddenly? Who is going to want to date you? I hate you. I hate you.

The final stage is apologies, one after another. Apologies for all the nasty things you just said ten minutes previous about the other person, now realizing why they might want to break up with you. All the while your brain is in search for the real reason.

Can’t see the obvious

It can’t be the reason given. It must be something else they’re not telling you. It’s a test, that’s all it is. If I figure out what is wrong and apologize, things will be fine. You apologize for everything. You beg. You plead. Just give me one more chance. I can change. I want to fix things. I don’t want to lose you.

I cried through most of the night, more than I thought physically possible. My ride came to pick me up and just when I thought I couldn’t feel any worse, I had to leave her a mess there at school. I didn’t feel relieved, not for a long time.

She wanted to see me a couple of times after that, looking for some hope to get back together. That it still was just a dream. She was a mess, trying to convince me how she has changed, and if we would just get back together, things would be different. All she did was re-assert our differences and after a couple of months I didn’t have anything left to talk to her about. Things became weird, and then this girl that was always around, was gone.

Continue to Part 2…..

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