Heartbreaker Blues by River Jordan
I started out this morning before dawn. Sitting outside with coffee, tiki torches lit, waiting for the world to wake up around me. There's that fall wind in the trees thing going on and the birds are calling like crazy. A male cardinal lands a foot away and stares at me. Okay, I get it. Up to get birdseed. Scatter. Sit back down. Now, I am like Tarzana, the woods alive with scampering and scatterings and chatterings of all manner. The light is coming and the night is being peeled away, layer-by-layer, all too soon.
And then, for reasons that escape me, I'm thinking about a good boy that I done wrong. Just a nice boy that I had liked 'oh, so much' then had stopped liking for reasons I cannot remember that had nothing to do with anything other than being too young to be liking anyone and being at an age where Fickle is a four letter word. I had told him, Yes I'd go to his senior high dinner (dinner instead of a prom because his school was from back up in the woods and they weren't having a prom) And I bought a dress to go (a long green thing that I can now see made me look like Kermit the Frog) but somewhere between the buying of the dress and the wearing of the dress I fell out of like and the falling had a great, ugly resounding crash. I fulfilled my commitment as if it had been a cold business deal with a handshake. Not smiling very much. Not seeming to having a good time. And later refusing to join the groups of young couples that made their way to the beach to does young couple stuff. Drive around. Ride a few rides. Laugh a little. So for the remainder of the night my young date had to sail forth stag and I put on my pajamas and happily stayed home. Now, I look back and think of all the things that a penitent sinner might think of on their death bed. Or from the place of being a mother, a better human being, a grown-up, I think great cosmic thoughts like, "Oh, my." And, "Poor boy," and "Shame on me," for being whatever young, petulant age I was and breaking that boy's heart. And the only thing left to me is to lift up a small prayer of blessing over his life today. Something southern and simple like, "Lord, if that boy is still alive just bless him, bless him, bless him." So I'm now spiritual Tarzana surrounded by the torches and birds and chipmunks offering up prayers for this old beau.
And then immediately I flash forward a few years and think of another boy. One that I had a crush on the size of Texas. He used to stop into the drugstore where I worked selling lipsticks and gifts for the holidays and wrapping Christmas presents, and he would hang around and talk with me and my crush just knew no bounds. It grew everyday like the Grinch's heart until the glory, hallelujah of days when he finally asked me if I'd like to go out with him to the movies or some such thing. He could have said to walk his dog and I would have been nodding, "Yes!" I remember telling my mother about this upcoming event with great excitement. I remember buying a new shirt for the occasion. I remember him coming into the store that most anticipated high and holy day of 'the big date' and telling me as I stood behind the drugstore counter that he couldn't go (wherever) after all because his aunt had come to town and his mother said he had to stay home to visit. I stood there just wiped away. In a flash one big eraser had crossed the chalkboard of my happiness and then blam, happy dream date is gone. The disappointment lay in my mouth like bruised fruit. Tangible, overripe, sour. So later, at my mother's encouragement to help me over the hump of this teenage tragedy, I went out with a group of friends to the local Pizza place and who do you think I saw there sans the old aunt come to visit? That's right; it was His majesty with a group of laughing friends having a great, big old time without me. Two things happened at once. He broke my little heart and broke that crush thing right off of me at the same time, he did. And the only thing I can do when I think of him now is offer up that southern prayer saying, "If that boy is still alive, bless him Lord, just bless him," through slightly, gritted teeth because praying is not the first thing that comes to Tarzana's mind this time.
Which all makes a good case for not allowing kids to 'date' until they are thirty or married whichever comes first. And it also shows me from a long way off, something I couldn't see at that young state. Which is that from here I can tell who grew to be the stronger man. I can put those two boys side by side and I can tell you the one that was overlooked, was pushed aside, was the better of the two.
But now, surrounded by sunrise and peaceful morning, I realize that in our beautiful and broken human state we always manage to go through life hurting a few people and being hurt by others and sometimes the best we can do is to try to be decent, fair and truthful to that circle of friends and new found strangers that we're fortunate enough to meet. And to keep well the ones who know us with all our good, bad, and ugly, and somehow continue to make a choice to love us anyway in spite of ourselves.
And all I can say to that is Bless us, Lord, just bless us. Bless our broken and breaking hearts as we keep treading the daily waters of our existence.