So who among us has had their heart broken? Raise your hand. I think it is a rare thing to have never experienced heart ache over the loss of a romantic relationship. I still remember the first time I had my heart broken. While Charlie Brown had his little red haired girl that made him swoon, when I was ten I had a little red haired boy. I have forgotten his name after all these decades but I still remember his hair was the color of fire. And that I wanted to touch it. He lived in my neighborhood just down the street. At that early of an age, I had to fall in love with a "bad" boy. "Red" as I shall name him lived in a home for wayward children. The boys living there were deemed as young delinquents or some such thing.
I would ride my bike past where Red lived every day after school. One day he was sitting on the curb and I slowly pedaled by on my banana seat bike with glow in the dark reflectors on the wheels and streamers coming out of the handle bars. Didn't everyone have a bike like this? Maybe it was my Marsha Brady hair or the fact that my reflectors shone the sun into his eyes but he squinted at me in such a way that showed interest. And then he asked me to come and sit with him on the curb. We sat and talked for the longest time about the things which fascinate ten year olds. Red shared some gum with me and I pulled out the gum wrapper bracelet I was making from my coat pocket. I added his wrapper to the chain. Won over by my talents of origami magic, he leaned over and gave me my first kiss. It was over before I knew it but oh what a kiss!
When I left Red to go home for dinner (the rule in those days was to come home before the street lights came on) I was giddy and light as a feather. I floated home. As I rushed into the house, my older sister was there visiting from college. She knew instantly that there was something up with me. She asked me what I was so happy about. And so I told in excruciating detail about "THE KISS." My sister giggled with me but she also warned, "Be careful. Boys are not always nice." I ignored her warning and planned when I would see Red the next day. And sure enough I did see him all right. He was sitting...with another girl!
I rode by to try to catch his eye. But Red wasn't seeing me. He was looking at this other girl the way he had looked at me just the other day. And when I saw him hold her hand I sped away. I felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I couldn't even cry, it hurt so bad. I had never experienced this horrible feeling and I just wanted it gone. When I went home and told my sister the sordid tale she consoled me but also gave me more advice, "This won't be the last time you feel this."
Of course my sister was right. That experience merely paved the way for much deeper pain to come. I was fifteen. We met in high school. We were what most people would deem as high school sweethearts. I met him while standing outside waiting with my friends for school to start. It was cold. He gave me his jacket to wear. This was the beginning to our off and on relationship that lasted into our young adult years. We had one of those turbulent stormy relationships where we would be together, fight, and break it off only to get back together again. Lots of drama. Instead of admitting to myself that he wasn't right for me, I didn't want to be a quitter. I kept trying. I suppose what I learned in that relationship was that there are some things which are unaffected by hard work. Hard work cannot make something fit which does not.