Thursday, February 14, 2008

Breaking Up is Easy to Do--A Perfect Post for Valentine's Day

How many of you are thinking that I am crazy and have no idea what I am writing about? Be honest. You do think I'm batty and forgot what it feels like to say goodbye to a relationship. Yet, I am not referring to face to face, or even a phone call. I am remembering how it felt to not get that closure, that break-up, in a letter. Flashback with me to my senior year in high school.

I'd spent a week in Washington, D.C. at a student conference designed to teach us about government, politics, and how the two interact. We traveled all over the city, met congress members, some of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and heard lectures by others involved in the inner workings of the government. As with all student conferences, we found ways to have fun as well. Just being with other like-minded teens made for a great atmosphere.

During that week, I met a former participant who had a staff position, helping with logistics and small problems. Think camp counselor, but without the bug spray, and in a tie, and super cute. Because he was. Dark blond hair with sparkling green eyes coupled with just enough cockiness to cause me to melt in his presence. Being two years older, I knew he couldn't be interested in me, a mere high school girl. Oh, how wrong I was.

He finagled his schedule so that he would be in the office when the students had down time. He made sure he would be on the same bus when we traveled to an off-site location. His name tag sprouted the words "Special Security", his friend's jibe at how much time he spent with me. On the morning that I left, we both were near to tears at having to go our separate ways. Odd to say it now, but I loved him. (Go ahead. Scoff as much as you want. Love at 17 does not happen.)

We wrote letters to each other. Four of his to me survived. Were there more? Possibly. I read those letters and wish, just wish with all my heart, that later in the year he had the fortitude to write that he had moved on with his romantic life and that he no longer thought I was "intelligent, [with] a great personality, and beautiful." Couldn't he have given me that closure? A send off would have preferable than never receiving another letter from him. Would it have hurt? Oh gawd, yes. But, I would not have spent the next year writing letters to him in my journal.

He wrote song lyrics to me, sent me letters that still cause me to smile and droop my shoulders at how deeply I fell for him. It is the passage in this letter that bothers me the most:
I wish you would write the words to the poem you read, Sarabeth. I wish you'd say how you feel. There's nothing bad in saying how you feel. So I'll start.

I really like you, S.B. I'll say it flat out. You mean so much to me. I love to hear from you. I hope you feel the same way. If you want to say something, don't be afraid to tell me. I hope you're not afraid to tell me anything.

And there is one promise that I will make you right now, that we will see each other again. But until then we have to carry on with our lives and hold on to our dreams for what they are; dreams. At least until we can make them come true.

So until we come together again, I'll keep dreaming of you.

Write back.

Love always, [name doesn't matter]

There's a line from a song. It's by U2 . . .
And I don't think I have to explain it.

And all the promises we made
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you.

I wanted that break-up letter, which he never had the strength to pen. I needed it at that age. Luckily, by the time I met Phill, I had closed off the pain of non-goodbye. I'd also matured to the point that I knew what I wanted and what I would not tolerate. I have the men I dated to thank for that.

The bitter slice of me that remains would like to point to the last lines of that song by U2:

All the promises we break
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you.

This post is in honor of Annette Fix's book, The Break-Up Diet. Scoot on over to the WOW! Women on Writing Blog to see the other bloggers who are adding their stories.

The Break-Up Diet: a memoir by Annette Fix goes on sale today! You can order it on or from your local bookseller.

The Break-Up Diet is the true story of a 30-something single mother/aspiring writer who is working as an exotic dancer, searching for Prince Charming, and trying to find a perfect balance between her dreams and her day-to-day life as Supermom.

Please visit The Break-Up Story Forum (
A place where women can go to read and share their break-up and dating stories. Check it out and join the fun!

Annette Fix is the Senior Editor for WOW! Women On Writing, an author, and spoken-word storyteller, living in Laguna Niguel, California with her Danish Prince Charming, her aspiring photographer son, and two rescued dogs.

Book Website:
The Break-Up Story Forum:


Annette said...


Thank you for supporting my book! =)

I can totttally relate to your post! I think most women/girls can. And especially at that young age, the emotions are so much more amplified because they aren't dulled by the cynicism that comes from repeated heartbreak.

I had a young love, Mark Duff, who was my first everything, and I still wonder what he's doing now. I know how to get a hold of him--his mother and sister still own the same flower shop 27 years later--but I think it might be kinda weird to contact him now. It would just be nice to say hello.

But I've been overdosing a lot on nostalgia lately. So, I guess I'll have to dig around in my old letters too. LOL

I hope you have a great Valentine's Day!


Angela said...

Happy Valentine's Day Sarabeth!

I loved your story ~ so true...

jmb said...

I hope you had a happy Valentine's Day Sarabeth.

Even the old lady has a similar story. But I was 20 when the love of my life disappeared from my life with no goodbye. I didn't get over it for a very long time and always wondered if I had done something but never knew what.

I used to wonder about him, even after I was married, what happened to him, if he ever got married. It certainly is pretty cowardly to just disappear.

Sarabeth said...

Annette, glad to do it. Your book fit right in with the post I wanted to write.

Angela, thank you.

JMB, isn't is amazing how we can share the same feeling being such different ages. That's why I read your blog.