Thursday, August 15, 2013

Supposed To

black and white photo of a dock on a frozen lake

I sat where all lucky little girls go when they are scared and confused--my mother's lap. It was 1995, and I was 24 years old. We sat outside on a beautiful June day, surrounded by my best childhood friends at a wedding reception. I argued with myself in the guise of speaking to my mom, "But I really think I'm supposed to marry this person."

My boyfriend and I had been together for years. We had been teenagers on our first date. We'd weathered college graduation and living apart for two years. I loved him and thought he was The One, but--

The whys aren't important. It's not solely my story to tell, so I won't. There isn't really a story to tell anyway--things just weren't good between us anymore. So, although I felt in my bones that I was supposed to marry him, I broke up with him.

I was terrified and relieved at the same time. I learned that love and loss present a complicated set of emotions.

We spoke some in those first post-break-up weeks, and I saw him once at the end of that summer. In October, I called him when I had a layover at his airport, and we sipped iced teas and tried to figure out how to talk to each other. In January, I learned he was seriously dating someone else. I tried to be happy for him, but I was too sad for myself.

All through the summer and fall, I had only felt numb. By winter, all I felt was sadness. I drank too many beers, ate too many cheeseburgers, and drove around weeping to country songs.

When spring rolled around, I decided I needed closure. Hoping to heal the hole in my heart, I called him. After a few phone calls, we agreed to meet one Friday night to talk. He stayed the whole weekend.

It's now been twenty-two years since our first date, seventeen years since our closure talk, and thirteen years since our wedding. Breaking up with him was the scariest thing I've ever done and contrary to everything I believed about the future of our relationship. It turns out I was right after all--it just took a little time and distance to get there.

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I have joined a new group of bloggers, and we plan to join weekly in writing about a chosen writing prompt.  Today's prompt was "The Scariest Thing I Ever Did--and Why I Did It." Please follow this link to read the other responses. I'm pleased to say that there are some truly excellent writers among this group, and I'd love if you'd read their words too.


  1. This was beautiful. And obviously, you guys were meant to be! I also enjoyed the surprise ending! :)

  2. This is a great writing. I can relate to this. You and Chris are great together.

  3. Susie; Friends before lovers and relationships that last!!!!!!!!!!!!You have to become a friend first and go from there.

  4. I remember sitting with you (and a few beers) on the Norwood dock in '96 (or was it '95? -- I've never been good with dates) talking about your complicated feelings for him. I also remember cheering for you (and him) when I went to bed that night. It was an easy storyline to cheer for.

    1. Z, I love this comment so much. Thanks for remembering and telling me. I too remember that night (and it was more than a few). That was spring, i.e., well into the deep sadness phase. You were wonderful to humor what had by that point become my rather maudlin demeanor.

  5. I love this post, because I remember it all going down, but mainly because of how beautifully you wrote the story. And thank you for linking to the other blogs - I enjoyed reading their stories, too.

  6. Thanks, Karen. As the first few comments came in today remarking on the "surprise ending," I realized that the story would read very differently for those who knew me well at the time of the events. I knew that you in particular, as the woman on the ground (or should I say in the crappy apartment), would remember this time well. Thanks for being there!

  7. I actually said "Aaawwwwe" at the end. Love this!

  8. Oh! This broke my heart and my eyes were welling up by the time you were eating too many cheeseburgers. And then, I broke out in a huge smile. What a beautiful reminder that love is so unpredictable - and that our job is to show up, with an open heart and see what "happens next". Thank you so much for sharing this.