The Hearts We Break

© E. M. Jenkinson, 2017

Note: I wrote this piece earlier this year as part of a contest being hosted on Wattpad to coincide with 13 Reasons Why’s television series. I don’t tend to delve too deeply into some of the more personal aspects of my life. By that, I mean things that may stigmatize me. This short though, totaling 499 words, addressed the prompt of “what if.” As such, there is something in here that many of my close friends and family members may not have known until now. Yes, it is true, and yes, I am getting help. Please show your support and read more of my work by following me on Wattpad.

I did a lot of moving around my teenage years. In fact, I attended four high schools, three of which were in the same year and in different states. It was while I was living with my mother in a small Arkansas town of less than two thousand people that I met the boy I would later dump. He was the first guy to talk to me, much to the chagrin of my cousin’s friends. She and her crew were the popular bunch and my soon-to-be boyfriend was rather nerdy. I distinctly remember being told, “Don’t talk to him. He’s gross.”

Clearly I’m great at taking advice, because by time junior prom came around, we were dating. Senior year, I was offered an undisclosed amount of cash to break up with my boyfriend and move to what would be my fourth high school. Given the fact I was seventeen years old and had never held that much money in my hand at one time, I accepted. I dumped my high school sweetheart.

Now, ten years later on down the road, we’re dating again and I can’t help but wonder, “What if?” What if I hadn’t broken up with him and moved to Oklahoma? What if we’d stayed together, geeking out over video games? Would it have saved us the heart break we have both suffered? Would we have worked out? Would our lives be extremely different from the way they are now? Would I have moved out to California? Would either of us have suffered our extremely abusive relationships, some emotional and some physical, since then?

The hardest question that I find myself wondering is this: would I still have attempted suicide? It’s not an easy thing to admit, attempting to take your own life. When you’ve reached a point in your life so low that you feel like the only option you can take is to end your own existence, it is horrible. I felt worthless, useless, stupid, and most of all, I felt as if I were a waste of space. The very breath I drew was worthless.

Him? Well, he’s got a kid now. A beautiful little girl with a brilliant smile that lights up the room. She lives with her mother, but she’s his entire world. The way he looks at her, the love I can see in his eyes… it warms my heart.

I often feel that I don’t deserve another chance with him, but he passes off my actions in high school as something kids tend to do. His logic has a point, but it doesn’t really assuage the guilt that I often feel when I lay next to him. The thing about life, though? We don’t get do-overs. We only have the cards that fate has dealt us, and it is up to us to make something out of that. I can’t go back and “un-breakup” with him, but I can certainly ensure that we both have a future free of heartbreak.

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