Updated: Oct 26
I was fourteen the first time my heart was broken. I was laying lifelessly on the couch with mono when I received a large silky teddy bear from my lanky skater boyfriend, Mike. He had dropped by unannounced with this surprise, not expecting to see me twenty pounds lighter with a wet rag on my forehead and a voice like Kermit the Frog.
I didn't have the energy to care that he was seeing me like this. I thought I was hallucinating when a human size teddy bear was placed under my arms to console me. Without my parents company, I was alone and bedridden for almost four weeks with no recovery in sight.
I remember watching TV with him and barely being able to make conversation because my throat was so swollen. Despite being in three day old clothes, donning a greasy head and speaking in a newly fashioned, sexy manner, I still didn't want him to leave. He was the first boy I ever fell in love with. He was the reason I started writing love poems. He had taken me on my first real date. He was the beginning of my love story and at the time, I had wanted him to be my ending. Little did I know, our final chapter was coming faster than I could have anticipated.
After Mike left my house, I texted him on my new flip phone (cell phones were just becoming a thing at the time) thanking him for the teddy bear and for stopping by to visit. I fell asleep after my thank you text and woke up three hours later to no new messages. Another hour passed and then another, until it was the next day and I still hadn't heard from him.
I began to worry. Was he so repulsed by my sick appearance that he decided to just call it quits? Wasn't he the one who gave me mono? How could he abandon me in my dreariness? Didn't he care that he was the reason I was bedridden for a month?
Days passed and then a week with no answer to my calls or texts. That's when the real sickness occurred - when the kissing disease crept out of my throat, crawled into my head and infected my brain. I began formulating a list of explanations for his absence.
Maybe he was abducted by aliens! He does love the idea of life on other planets.
Maybe the government got to him! He was a proud anarchist after all.
Maybe he's on an impromptu family trip and forgot his phone at home. Silly Mike!
No, I got it! He's finally writing that book he's been talking about and has shut himself off from the world to focus! Yes, that must be it! My scholarly and motivated boyfriend!
When the sickness subsided and I was finally able to eat solid food again, my delusions disappeared from view and I had learned that during my six week infirmity, Mike had not been abducted by aliens or the government, but started dating someone else. (Cue the melancholy sounds of a tiny violin, a cascade of tears and the harsh reality of a first heartbreak).
Ah, that summer was a sweet one. The end of June to the beginning of July had already been wasted to poor hygiene, liquid foods and endless sleep - thank you Mike! Thank you mono! (I did lose twenty pounds though). The end of July to the beginning of September was occupied by heartache, loneliness and the comfort of my journals. (This is where my love for writing blossomed and began to flourish).
After our breakup, I had filled three journals, beginning to end, with sad poetry and confessions of love and heartbreak. At that point, I had taught myself that the only person who can truly love me, is me. There are going to be many loves that walk in and out of my life, but the love that forever remains is the love I have for myself.
I write this to not only share a comical and heartfelt story of my first heartbreak, but to shed light on the process of life and the natural order of things. We have our highs, we have our lows, we have the ordinary and the in-between, but we also have unremitting resilience. Most of what we’re going through, at some point or another, can be looked back on with laughter, a sense of gratitude for all that we’ve learned, and a hopeful perspective for more lessons to come our way.