Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the anniversary of my first big dumping.
I was in college, and I’d protected my heart pretty well for the prior eighteen years, too scared to get into it with anyone, too tender to dare to be touched before Kathie. But she was pretty and she was smart and she liked me and even though she’d been seeing Scott when we had gotten together, we’d started dating earlier in the month, and I felt like I was growing up. I was old enough to vote now, and I was kissing a girl. Except this is the anniversary of the day that I wasn’t anymore.
Kathie decided she had unfinished business with Scott, that she truly loved him, and that it was that true love that had made her try to flee him into my welcoming arms. She was sorry for hurting me, and she hoped we could still be friends. And I was alone, again.
I would never love anyone again – until Kathie came back to me, weeks later. It was college, and the drama was high.
I took her back, of course, because I didn’t deserve anything better than part-time loving. I had been scared to be available for anyone in the first place, and saw how right my tentative approach had been. Dipping anything more than a toe into the lake of love was most unwise. By winter break, Kathie had dumped me again to go back to her high school boyfriend. Anyone, apparently, was better than me. And still I missed her. Still I thought, this is all the romance I was worthy of. And who knows? I remain snarky and distant and cruel to even my nearest and dearest. To this day, affection escapes me, and a brutal honesty is why I consider one of my most valuable traits. Maybe Kathie’s constant betrayal is, in fact, the most that I deserved.
Sometime in January, we got back together, for the third time – “but this is IT!” I swore.
And it was. When she left me again, this time for Chris, it was for good. Last I heard, Kathie was still with Chris, so she finally found what she was looking for, and she found it her first year of college. Good for her.
Me, I’ve gotten dumped very rarely since then, because I’ve made very little active romantic effort. Far better to opine from a distance and sigh, the baking about what might have been, then to let my tender heart be touched again and again. I didn’t like the light mauling it received way back when, or the few other times it came out for air. It’s smarter that way.
I’ve got a very smart heart.
Clearly, its weak and withered. Wizened. But perhaps, in its own weathered way, it’s also wise.

About Jonathan Berger

I used to write quite a bit more.
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