Blog posts often kick around in my head for awhile before I actually write them. This would be one of them.
In the film High Fidelity, John Cusack plays Rob, a record store owner and compulsive list-maker. He visits the objects of one of his lists, his All-Time Top Five Breakups. The trips to each successive former girlfriend winds up being a tour of his midlife crisis, as he tries to explore the reasons for the breakups. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to confront some of my exes and try to finish the unfinished business, but I think this movie talked me out of it. I’ll tell you what, though: if you haven’t already, go to your Netflix and watch it. You’ll see exactly what a bunch of sad sacks guys are.
At any rate, here’s a taste of what I’d say to some of my breakups, in no particular order. I’m not naming names in this particular forum, but I may throw out a clue that the target may recognize.
- You broke my heart, but in retrospect I realize that you were pretty broken, too. We were doomed from the start so it’s probably better that we never really got very far off the ground. I just wish you’d said something instead of letting me find out the hard way.
- It’s telling that, after all this time, you still harbor so much resentment toward me. It sort of warms my heart that I’m still worth that much energy on your part.
- We had a very rough breakup, but in the end I don’t harbor any ill will or hard feelings. And yes, I do have some good memories. In the long run you did well, and you Did It Yourself. Kudos.
- I’m sorry things didn’t end the way I’d hoped they would. People have big mouths, and I was sick as hell the day I’d chosen to tell you (and you already knew). And the hell of it is, that wasn’t even the worst I’d done at breaking up with anyone.
- Yes, I was bad, but kicking my broken limb wasn’t cool, even if you were angry with me. I’m glad we managed to get past that, though.
- The last time we had contact was the day after Mother Theresa died. I wonder what happened to you?
- We were the original On Again, Off Again couple. I was so easily distracted; I think it’s part of the reason that, in retrospect, I think I was kind of a jerk in my younger days.
- My second Great Summer Romance started at the end of the summer and ran into October. I kind of wish you’d been more persistent (and I, less passive). We were both too neurotic to last, but it would have been fun for awhile longer.
- One of the things that led to this post was the overwhelming sense that something bad had happened to you. I wrote you a letter but you never responded. I wonder why.
- To the one I didn’t break up with: thanks for putting up with me.
We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.