This is a story about my first breakup.
It was my birthday. It was also international day at school, so I was trussed up in dirndl to sing “Heidenroslein” in front of everyone. I was to meet Jamie* after my performance at the tree where we usually sat for lunch. I was so eager to leave that I didn’t bother to change first.
As I approached the tree, I saw Jamie… kissing someone else. All-black clothing, floppy bleached-blonde hair. Gareth*. I knew Gareth from fencing, and he had asked me out just the other week. I refused because I was seeing someone else. When they noticed me, Jamie’s eyes met mine with a challenge. “I dare you to say something. I dare you to make a scene.”
I didn’t. I raised an eyebrow. “So, that’s it, huh?” It wasn’t a question. I turned and left. When I got home, I put on an awful rendition of Pachelbel’s Canon in D set to ocean sounds (of all things) and thought about how lonely I felt. I indulged my melodramatic feelings and cried soppy tears of self-pity. When my 58 minutes of Canon were up and the music stopped, I remembered that I still had physics homework to do. I stopped crying and did that instead.
Weeks later, I heard that Jamie was telling anyone who would listen that I was awful and that she would never forgive me. Forgive me? I didn’t understand, but I was told. She would never forgive me because I didn’t make a scene. I didn’t fight for her. I didn’t spend enough time with her. I didn’t show her that I cared.
Strangely enough, even though I knew it was over that moment under the tree, I never disapproved of her actions. I instantly forgave her, if forgiveness is even the word for that.
* Names altered to protect the innocent