I have always said I will try to never break any hearts, and I
thought so far I had avoided doing just that. Little did I know I was
a walking heart-breaker all these years and hadn't a clue.
I remember the oddest couple I've yet to see. Thumb out, praying for
a ride which finally came - a nice, windy ride in the bed of an old
pickup, an elderly black man at the wheel, an elderly white man in the
passenger seat. I could tell they'd known each other longer than you'd
think, there was nothing between them except 60 centimeters of bench
seat. They both agreed to pick me up, simply by turning their heads in
my direction at the same time. I was instantly jealous and grateful
at the same time.
There is a hole in my heart. It will never be filled. I want it to
be wrapped snuggly with her love, is that too much to ask?
She was a girl I had meet and known, sort of, as best an 8 year old
could do, I suppose. We liked each other, that much was true, but
neither one knew what it really meant. Something drew us together,
maybe the same thing that made us wave goodbye at the end of those short
6 days three summers all spread out over 5 years.
Did I know the last time I waved goodbye would be the last time in 10
years? No, I didn't. If I had known, I would have still waved. I
would have still cried.
Brad says it is like something out of a movie, only a movie without
a writer. A would-be writer, perhaps, except he never gets around to
writing anything because everything happens better than he thought it
I have visited her church three times. It was through a church
family conference that we'd met, so I assume that's appropriate, right?
Cut me some slack, can't you see I'm dying here? The first two
times her family was on vacation. The first time my best friend Nate
next to me could not help from nearly laughing when the morning
announcements included, "Remember the Pastor's family, as they are on
vacation in Wisconsin." What was that thing Nate had not said then?
Oh, he didn't say, "I'm sorry, maybe next time, it's going to be okay."
Instead, he did say, "Oh, that's rich man, that's rich. Your life
sucks." You see, she was the pastor's daughter.
But he was wrong, see, because my life is a movie now, filled with
strangely wonderful things, none of which I can explain. I'm just an
actor, after all, I'm not paid to have brains.
If you could see the future, would you really want to?
This time she was there, I just didn't know it. Or, rather, almost
didn't know it. I was pulled aside after the church service, by the
extremely nice youth pastor, who directed me to the best Sunday school
class for me, supposedly - College and Careers. I didn't tell him that
perhaps, "Alone, Lost, and Afraid" might be a better choice, but nor
was I about to. He had put me at ease 5 minutes earlier, when he shook
my hand, already convinced I was a person who knew where his feet
I knew they were on carpet. I did not know what to do
with them next.
My feet took me to the correct room. They made me take a seat,
engage in small talk with those around me. They laughed at my heart,
they pulled on strings and shouted mean things about how pointless it
was to be there, since she wasn't there, wasn't coming, and when's the
next time you'll be able to sneak away 200 miles for a stupid church
service and why are you here anyway and this sentence has already stretched deep into run-on so just shut up.
My feet were too busy laughing to see her come in the door, to watch her
glide her way to the seat next to mine. They did hear my heart start
thumping, they saw my eyes look at the clock and calculate how much time
was allotted for her to realise who I was and say something, for me to
do what I'd come there to do in the first place and walk out running,
running, running, away from this thing which made my heart thump thump thump
so fast. But this is a movie. The lead characters never do what's best
for them - only what is best for you, the audience, you greedy, drama
loving fuckers you.
This is not drama though, this is my life, damnit, and I am sitting
in this chair and she is next to me and there is only 50 minutes to do
something about it. I am going to do the only thing I know how - sit
Yawn. Coffee is served best with friends.
50 minutes passed faster than you know it when your heart rate is
double what it should be, and before I knew it, the unseen, unwriting
writer, who was busy not writing anything about this whole mess and
instead just watching and waiting for it to all play out, had landed me
square into the limelight. The man standing at the front of the room
was curious about who I was. He was more curious about why I was, made
apparent when he asked, "So, how did you know about this church?"
How did I know? I knew because of the girl sitting next to me,
that's how. Some things you can never forget. Some things are not easy
But I did explain, and I watched from the corner of my eye as it
dawned on her who I was and why I was, and I heard her say "Oh my gosh, I
can't believe it's you!" over the sound of my beating heart, pounding
in my ear and echoing against the walls of the room, and making the
people around me shake, like unknowing actors in an earthquake movie
where there is only an earthquake inside of one person.
My feet were not shaking, oh no. They were firmly planted on the
ground. They didn't know they were in an earthquake movie.
And I said "Hello how are you?" because it was all I could think to
say and maybe it was all she could think to say - but I hope not - when
she said, "You broke my heart those years ago." She said this out
loud, to all those unknowing actors in the room, who unknowingly were
finding something out about me at the same time I was.
She said it with a twinkle in her eye, and it made me realise why I
had felt the way I did when I stepped out of the car that morning,
had felt the day to be much like that sunny day when I'd found her
letter in the mail. The grass in my toes from that day was absent, because there were
shoes firmly attached to my feet, which were likewise firmly planted to
the pavement. That was 4 years in the past, and since that day she had
never received any mail from me. Four copies of unwritten letters lay
dying in my head.
My feet had left the ground, when my eyes had seen her toss her head
back and remember how I had broken her heart. Like it was a good
memory, that heart breaking, simply because I was a part of it.
So there I was, a heartbreaker, with non-functional
This time, somebody didn't say it was going to be okay, because the
unseen writer who was so busy not writing any of this had thrown away
his pen for good - for he could never have timed those knowing glances
and smiles so well.
The radio played Dave Edmund's classic tune, "I hear you
knocking" on the way to her house. How fitting it could have been. Go
read the lyrics for yourself, I'm too lazy to put them here.
Except this one: You went away and left me, long time ago
And now you're knocking, on the door
I hear you knocking, but you can't come in.
I hear you knocking, go back where you been.
They were all wrong though. I didn't have to knock at all. She
was already at the door, the open door, waiting. Waiting for me, and