Chapter 8: The Break Up

I'm starting to formulate a soundtrack for our life.  Haha!  I guess that's what happens when two music lovers get together - everything relates to a song.  Anyway, here's the continuation of chapter 7.  (Spoiler alert: we are married now...)

Chapter 8: The Break Up

Herb was grouchy, tired, and stressed out; I wanted to talk about our relationship all the time.  We’d argue, and then both promise to change.  Rinse and repeat.  This is how things went down for the rest of the summer.  I couldn’t believe this relationship had turned so sour, and I couldn’t put my finger on what caused it.  How could things have gone from planning our future music studio to barely speaking?  We managed to salvage anything we could from the relationship and hold on until the middle of September. 

On September 22, 2004, our relationship ended in the same way it started - on instant messenger.

I told Herb he would not be dumping me online and that he needed to man up and come do it in person. 

He arrived at my apartment wearing his Old Navy ringer tee.  I’ll never forget the feeling of sobbing on his shoulder and the stain that my tears left as he left me.  There was nothing left to hash out, no stone left unturned.  We were going in different directions (so he thought).

I spent the next few days on auto pilot.  I went to class, work, and the gym, but I was a walking zombie.  I had Dashboard Confessional on repeat in the car, so I could sob for the entire ride to work.  The song was about being nervous for a first date, but it brought me to the place of remembering our “good days” together, and then at the end of the song Chris Carrabba would wail, “And everything will be okay,” then I would weep until I couldn’t see or breathe.

In hindsight, this was probably not a good driving ritual.

Unfortunately, we still had a lot of classes together, still ate meals together, and still ran around with the same group of friends.  There was no escaping Herb’s presence.  I thought I could handle just being friends, but being around him would send me into a tailspin of disappointment and puddle of tears.

In the meantime, Herb’s brother got engaged and his grandma was diagnosed with stage four cancer.  When he went to visit her in the hospital she gave him a piece of her mind.

“You know, your daddy left your mom before they got married...I just hope you make up your mind quickly.” She continued with their happy ending and pleaded with Herb to make the right decision concerning me. 
I tried to bounce back into my former days of considering other men as Prince Charming.  I tried to focus on my education and began to look into graduate schools.  I even explored the idea of studying abroad or graduating early.  I spent time with friends who I had been putting on the back burner; I got involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible.  My brother was a freshman at the same university that year, and we spent a lot of time together, too.

Herb lived with two other music majors, so I often found any reason possible to go to their apartment.  I talked them into hosting a Halloween party, I offered their place for study groups, and I invited myself over to watch the 2004 presidential election results pour in. 

I held on to our good memories, and journaled lists about all the things I loved about him.  When we started dating, I knew there was a possibility that we would not stay together forever.  But what I really struggled with was that it appeared that God has truly brought us together, and if that was true, why was the break up so painful?

At some point, about six weeks into the break up, the clouds parted and a glimmer of hope peeked through.  Herb emailed me to say there was a song he had been listening to that made him think of me, but he needed some more time to pray about it.  He sent me the link to the song, and of course I immediately did a search for the lyrics.  My eyes welled with tears as I read these words,

            I’ve been taking the wrong way just so I won’t fall for you
            Everytime I hear your voice it just cleaves my heart in two
            Like a kamikaze strapped with fifty megatons
            You’ve been gunning my battleship, you fly the rising sun

            I’ve been walking in circles, while you wait so patiently
            I even grew out a mustache, so you wouldn’t fall for me
            But when you hit my hull, my heart will detonate
            I’ll wave the white flag as I show up two weeks late

            I can’t take it anymore
            I guess you win, but who’s keeping score?

            After the dark, the sun must rise
            Say sayonara to sad goodbyes
            See the dawn light up your somber skies
            Say sayonara to sad goodbyes

            You’re the beautiful starlight, peering through the skies
            You’re the peace that I’ve prayed for aren’t you, green eyes?

“Green eyes?!  I have green eyes!!”  I thought with excitement.  I read, reread, and shared the lyrics with anyone who would listen.

Continue to Chapter 9


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