Monday, September 30, 2013
Breaking Up is Hard to Do
Bethany clung to her boyfriend Jordan and didn’t even try to fight the tears. Maybe if she held him tight enough she could keep her heart from shattering. “You can’t leave!” she wailed. “You just can’t. School’s starting.”
Jordan patted her awkwardly. “Don’t cry,” he pleaded. “Geez, Beth. I told you this would happen when we started dating. My family always heads south this time of year. We’ll be back in March, I promise.”
“That’s like a million years away. What’ll I do until then?”
“I dunno. Hey, I don’t like it either.”
“Then stay here. Stay in Talbot’s Peak. You can live with us. We never use the guest room.”
“I can’t,” he said wretchedly. “It’s my family. No,” he stopped her before she could wail again. “You can’t come with us. You’re fourteen. You’ll get the whole flock arrested. Look, I’ll email you every day. We can Skype. It’s just Nevada. It’s not like I’ll be in Europe or somewhere.”
“It’s not the same.” She squeezed him even tighter. “I want to be with you. I love you.”
“I love you too, Beth.” He kissed her hard and sloppily, but it didn’t help. She shoved away from him and fled, trailing hot, bitter tears in her wake.
# # #
Every time she had a crisis Bethany went straight to her sister Stacey. Stacey was seventeen and knew everything about everything. She knew enough not to ask questions when Bethany burst into her room. She sat her younger sister down on her bed and held her while she cried out her heartache. Every couple of minutes she offered a Kleenex.
Once the initial deluge abated and Bethany was able to speak without too much of a hitch, she sobbed out the crux of her misery. “Jordan broke up with me!”
“Jordan Mallard?” Stacey nodded wisely. “Yeah. It’s fall. I’m sorry, sweetie, but you had to know this was going to happen.”
“I thought he loved me.”
“I’m sure he does. I’ll bet he wasn’t happy either, was he? But he is what he is. You can’t fight instinct. I know. I used to date a Canada goose. The seasons change and they’re gone. It’s not you, it’s how they are. The Mallards, the Drakes, the Mergansers, they’re all pulling out. All the love in the world can’t stop them.” Stacey sat back a few inches to look her sister sternly in the face. “You’d better not be thinking about running away.”
“I wasn’t,” Bethany sniffled. Her hesitation said otherwise.
“C’mon, hon, it’s not so bad. If he really cares, you’ll hear from him. If he doesn’t, you’re better off. Anyway, it’s not forever. He’ll be back in the spring.” She whispered in her sister’s ear. “Just in time for prom.”
“But that’s so far away,” Bethany blew her nose into a Kleenex. “What am I supposed to do without him?”
“Weren’t you going to try out for cheerleading? He wouldn’t be with you there, would he? Or on the girls’ volleyball team.”
“Yeah. He sucks at volleyball.” She giggled a little through her tears. “But I’ll miss him.”
“I know you will, sweetie. I missed my gander for, like, ten minutes. Of course, he was a dickhead to start with. Jordan always struck me as okay. Except for the wet. He always seemed damp for some reason. Swim team?”
“Right.” Stacey offered up another Kleenex. Bethany waved it away. There might be several minor eruptions in the days to come, but the main storm appeared to be over.
“Do you think he has a girl down there?” Bethany asked.
“I’m thinking we have boys up here. Boys who stay put. How do you feel about fur?”