I was fourteen the first time I got my heart broken. I was laying lifelessly on the couch with mono when I received a large, silky teddy bear from my tall, lanky skater boyfriend, Matt. He had dropped by unannounced to surprise me with this gesture, not expecting to see me fifteen pounds lighter, with a wet rag on my forehead and a voice like Kermit the Frog.
I was so sick at the time, I didn't even have the energy to care that he was seeing me like this. I probably thought I was hallucinating when an almost life sized teddy bear was placed under my arms to console me. Without my parents company, I was alone and bed ridden for almost two weeks at that point with no recovery in near 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, too. Little did I know our final chapter was coming faster than I could have anticipated.
After Matt 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 me. I fell asleep after my thank you text and woke up three hours later to check my phone to see 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 that gave me mono - how could he just abandon me in my dreariness? Didn't he care at all that he was the reason I was bedridden for almost a month?
Days had passed and then a week with no answer to my calls or texts. That's when the real sickness occurred - when the kissing disease creeped out of my mouth and infected my brain. I started to concoct a list of explanations for his absence that I thought at the time might just be valid.
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 Matt!
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 month long sickness, Matt had not been abducted by aliens or the government, but had actually started dating someone else. (Cue mini violin, a cascade of tears and the harsh reality of a first bleeding heartbreak).
Ah, that summer was a sweet one. The end of June and beginning of July had already been wasted to a poor lack of hygiene, liquid foods, and endless sleep - thank you Matt! 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 on love and heartbreak. At that point, I had taught myself through my writing 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 one love that will forever remain is the love I have and hold for myself.
I write this today to not only share a comical and heartfelt story on my first heartbreak, but to shed some 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 in-between, and we also have the magic. Most of what we are going through, at some point or another, can be looked back on with laughter, with a sense of gratitude for all that we have learned, and with a hopeful perspective for more lessons to come our way.