This past Friday was Valentine’s Day and since my wife is 38 weeks heavy with child, her idea of a good time was staying home and eating Chinese food and watching a James Bond movie (this is my idea of a good time every day, so I was cool with it). But prior to our watching of Moonraker (go easy, we’re going chronological here, it couldn’t be avoided) we spent some time playing with Simon before we put him to bed. As I sat there watching Simon excitedly open a Valentine from my Mom, I began thinking about all the heartbreak this poor little guy is going to go through in his life. Right now it’s all about candy and toys but in a few years, he’s going to be liking girls and giving and receiving Valentines and soon enough his little heart will be broken. How do I know this? Because it’s happened to me before him.
Three very memorable times.
1) The first real heartbreak ever.
My first real heartbreak occurred in seventh grade. I met this girl on the first day (whom I will call Jackie) and it was crush at first sight. I thought she was incredible and the thing was, she actually spoke to me. We sat near each other in homeroom (or TLC as it was called) and she was really nice to everyone. She would go on to become a cheerleader and join the class presidency in 9th grade but at the start of 7th grade she was just a normal lost 7th grader like the rest of us.
I had a secret crush on this girl for months and around the start of the new year, my mom found out. She told me that I should tell this girl that I liked her. I thought she was crazy but my mom said that maybe if I wrote her a note and told her, it might turn out that she liked me too. Now what my mom should have said is, “Travis, you tuck your t-shirt into your jeans and you read comic books. Maybe you should keep quiet until after puberty.” But my mom (like all moms) was completely blinded to these facts and told me to write her a note.
So I did.
It was short, heartfelt and to the point. I left it in her locker and waited to see what she would say. Turns out what she would say… is nothing. She literally never spoke to me again. Our once semi-existing relationship faded away completely. She started sitting in a new seat, talking to new people and that was that. The rest of 7th grade in that one class was terrible. Everyday, I would have to look at her and think about how I destroyed any hope of this girl liking me. That was my first heartbreak.
2) Heartbreak and tears
A couple years after the Jackie debacle, I would experience my first heartbreak that would actually cause more than emotional anguish, this one would cause real tears. In eighth grade, I met this girl that I had somehow never seen before despite the fact that she had been in school with me for the entire year of seventh grade. Her name was “Erin” and she was so much better than Jackie. But unlike Jackie she was fairly down to earth. She never became a cheerleader or overly popular, she was just a cute, nice girl that hung out with some friends of my friends.
This meant that our time together did overlap a bit more but I still wouldn’t say I was hanging out with her. I harbored my crush on her in complete secrecy No one but the other Travis knew anything about it because I was no fool, I saw first hand what confessing my feelings would bring. Well in the middle of 9th grade we had our Christmas stomp. Now a “Stomp’ was not a dance in the traditional sense. You didn’t bring dates or anything everyone just went and hung out together… in the dark.
Well I decided at this dance that I would ask Erin to dance for one of the slow songs. It took the entire dance to garner up the courage but I finally did it.
She said no.
I am not messing with you , she told me no. I was crushed and almost immediately tears begin to come to my eyes. I quickly left and went into the bathroom. Right as I walked in there was guy standing at the sink. He looked at me with this sort of pathetic look. I told him that I had knocked my knee (as if that were any better) and he just said okay and left. I slipped into the stall and let the tears come. To this day, I don’t know why she said no but it broke my heart.
1) The biggest heartbreak I ever experienced.
There are many other tales and stories from Junior High but the biggest heartbreak I ever experienced came from a girl I met my sophomore year of High School. I was crushing hard on this one and it was just my luck that she actually liked me as a friend quite a bit. We talked a lot on the phone, got lunch together and went for walks at night. It used to drive the other Travis crazy because he would have to deal with how emotionally involved I was with her. Everything she did was analyzed and critiqued. I was trying to make sense of when the time to make the move from friend to boyfriend would happen. He hated it.
The other Travis would tell you a completely different version of this story but for me, I remember these times pretty happily. I asked her to Prom my junior year and literally rolled red carpet to her door. I rented a limo and went all out and when I dropped her off she told me she had fun and went inside. No smootches? What’s a guy to do!?! It was hard but I was okay with it. I would be patient.
I tried to be there for her after every one of her break-ups, doing everything I could to make her happy and show her how much I cared. This more or less lasted two years but it paid off… sorta. One night she called me up and went for a walk and she told me that she liked me and wanted to go out. I was so happy. This was everything I had ever hoped for and it lasted… about a month. After about a month, she had become weirdly distant so I bought her some flowers and met her after work. It was there that she told me that she had met someone and they were going to get married.
And they did.
I still know this girl and her husband and they are very happy but for the few months they were getting married and what not were some of the worst months of my life. The other Travis does not speak fondly of this time but like with Jackie and Erin, eventually I would move on.
Now this would be the most depressing Valentine’s day post if I left it here. But I never leave it here in depressing land. You see as I sat watching Simon briefly recounting these memories something happened. My focus shifted. Sitting behind Simon was my wife. My beautiful, 38 week pregnant wife. Suddenly I was flooded with memories.
I remembered when I first told Tia on the phone that I liked her more than a friend. She didn’t even wait a heartbeat to tell me that she felt the same and we talked longer than we had ever talked before. Take that Jackie.
I remembered when I was on my first official date with Tia and we were parked on this dirt road looking at the stars. You could hear the music vaguely from my car so I asked her dance. She said yes and despite the music being muffled and us standing next to a cornfield it was the best dance I ever had. Stick it Erin.
I remembered the first kiss Tia and I ever had. I remembered when I proposed. I remembered getting married. I remembered nights spent going on walks with her. I remembered every little detail of every day I spent with her. I remembered how nothing in the world was better than when I was with her.
So coming at you several day’s late, is my confession: I am no longer worried about Simon. You see, if Simon has to endure a hundred broken hearts to meet someone as amazing as Tia, if will be good for him. Because I wouldn’t change anything that led to her because every heartbreak made my time with her so much sweeter.
And you know what? My heart hasn’t been broken once in the 8 years we’ve been together. That’s pretty amazing.