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Monday

Used'ta Beens & Never Was's & Thank God For 'Em


One time he left and took my heart with him. I waited patiently at times, and impatiently at others, perched on the front porch where I could see him better, in case he came strolling coolly down the street. Months of anonymity went by. Him somewhere else, me standing still, writing letters and sending them to mailboxes rumored to be his on college campuses. No response didn’t deter me. Someone I knew knew him and confirmed that he wasn’t a phantom on campus but a breathing being who sat in a class or two with him. Months of anonymity went by.

He returned. My phone rang. His voice as familiar as my own breath sounded through the receiver and the empty space where my heart had been no longer smelled so stale. I could feel the blood coursing through me, reminding me that I’d not lived as though I were actually alive for far too long. Too young and in love to notice that I’d allowed him to hold me captive, feet in concrete, while he continued on his journey. The sadness of that escaped me a little while longer.

Still perched on the front porch, I did see him better as he strolled coolly down the street toward me. He came to hand me my heart back. It looked oddly like a strawberry. It was dipped in chocolate. It was big and pretty. And it was from him. A gift. I took it and I took him and pushed past the urge to cuss and scream and instead gave him room to say his piece.

It was a beautiful tale. All about a boy who loved a girl so much it scared him. He couldn’t stand still and let it consume him, he had to give himself some distance from that girl to see if it was real. It was and he had to come back to see if her smile still resided at the same address. He was thankful to find that it did, not replaced by a scowl created by his insensitive departure with no word, no explanation. The boy knew he didn’t deserve the girl’s forgiveness, but he asked it of her anyway. The story ended and he waited to see if I, the girl, would grant it. I did.

The chocolate on the strawberry sweat with the heat I was feeling for him. The heat turned into a raging fire that we put out with the waters created by two in love. Or so she wanted to believe.

This memory has hit me for some reason, years later. It makes me laugh. He walked away several times, and I stood semi-still each time. You couldn’t tell me he wasn’t my world. Luckily, I was able to recover and discover how much bigger than him the world really is. When I see him now I’m thankful not to still be under his spell. He’s so lackluster to me now, the spark and shine he once carried now dulled by not being so kind to himself. My own spark could be dulled if I had stayed put waiting on him...forever. Our old neighborhood still heralds us as “the young lovers” and wonder what happened. They’re stuck where we left off. Out of all of us, I’m the one that successfully moved on.

Ironies.

Certainly not the last time I fell in love. The absurdity of love and youth colliding came back today to inspire a chuckle. More than anything, I’m thankful to be able to laugh at it, no longer shedding tears. At least not on his behalf.

Watch me move.

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