I was 22 years old and had just gotten my heart broken by my first boyfriend of four years. My parents had taken to blowing up my phone because I was MIA for three days. I usually talked to them every day but couldn’t bring myself to talk to anyone. My dad left a voice mail threatening to come up to Austin if I didn’t call him back. Not wanting to deal with hovering parents while I grieved, I reluctantly called them back.
(In between cries and hiccups) Hi. Daddy. We. Broke. Up.
Is he crying right now?
Is he crying to his daddy?
Don’t you cry to your daddy.
Fine but you called me first!
That was our conversation in totality. Note how he didn’t even ask the whys and whens of the split. He didn’t need to know. It was enough that we were over. It was enough that I was crying and my ex was not.
The next day he called to apologize. He told me he was sorry to be so rough with me the day before but he just wanted me to see this break-up as practice. I remember being so perplexed on what he could possibly mean by “practice.”
“You know, when you meet that someone who is perfect for you and get married and have kids and live your life, what do you think will happen?”
I remember being afraid to let him finish this thought but I braced for it anyway.
“He’s going to die!”
My dad had tried to make me feel better about my first break-up by likening it to practice for when my future spouse dies. It’s so awful that the memory of this still makes me laugh 5 years later and this story still gets requested by my friends at gatherings.
Brutality aside, I think I get what he was trying to tell me. We are on borrowed time. Nothing and no one is really ours. Everything and everyone gets given back. A break-up is just one way things get taken from us and at the time, my break-up was just a small introduction to the greater losses life will bring me. No wonder I’m so scared of losing my loved ones. I can’t imagine how unbearable the pain will be when the losses become bigger.