I have always said I will try to never break any hearts, and I thought so far I had avoided doing just that. Little did I know I was a walking heart-breaker all these years and hadn't a clue.



I remember the oddest couple I've yet to see. Thumb out, praying for a ride which finally came - a nice, windy ride in the bed of an old pickup, an elderly black man at the wheel, an elderly white man in the passenger seat. I could tell they'd known each other longer than you'd think, there was nothing between them except 60 centimeters of bench seat. They both agreed to pick me up, simply by turning their heads in my direction at the same time. I was instantly jealous and grateful at the same time.



There is a hole in my heart. It will never be filled. I want it to be wrapped snuggly with her love, is that too much to ask?

She was a girl I had meet and known, sort of, as best an 8 year old could do, I suppose. We liked each other, that much was true, but neither one knew what it really meant. Something drew us together, maybe the same thing that made us wave goodbye at the end of those short 6 days three summers all spread out over 5 years.

Did I know the last time I waved goodbye would be the last time in 10 years? No, I didn't. If I had known, I would have still waved. I would have still cried.

Brad says it is like something out of a movie, only a movie without a writer. A would-be writer, perhaps, except he never gets around to writing anything because everything happens better than he thought it ever could.

I have visited her church three times. It was through a church family conference that we'd met, so I assume that's appropriate, right? Cut me some slack, can't you see I'm dying here? The first two times her family was on vacation. The first time my best friend Nate next to me could not help from nearly laughing when the morning announcements included, "Remember the Pastor's family, as they are on vacation in Wisconsin." What was that thing Nate had not said then? Oh, he didn't say, "I'm sorry, maybe next time, it's going to be okay." Instead, he did say, "Oh, that's rich man, that's rich. Your life sucks." You see, she was the pastor's daughter.

But he was wrong, see, because my life is a movie now, filled with strangely wonderful things, none of which I can explain. I'm just an actor, after all, I'm not paid to have brains.



If you could see the future, would you really want to?



This time she was there, I just didn't know it. Or, rather, almost didn't know it. I was pulled aside after the church service, by the extremely nice youth pastor, who directed me to the best Sunday school class for me, supposedly - College and Careers. I didn't tell him that perhaps, "Alone, Lost, and Afraid" might be a better choice, but nor was I about to. He had put me at ease 5 minutes earlier, when he shook my hand, already convinced I was a person who knew where his feet stood.

I knew they were on carpet. I did not know what to do with them next.

My feet took me to the correct room. They made me take a seat, engage in small talk with those around me. They laughed at my heart, they pulled on strings and shouted mean things about how pointless it was to be there, since she wasn't there, wasn't coming, and when's the next time you'll be able to sneak away 200 miles for a stupid church service and why are you here anyway and this sentence has already stretched deep into run-on so just shut up.

My feet were too busy laughing to see her come in the door, to watch her glide her way to the seat next to mine. They did hear my heart start thumping, they saw my eyes look at the clock and calculate how much time was allotted for her to realise who I was and say something, for me to do what I'd come there to do in the first place and walk out running, running, running, away from this thing which made my heart thump thump thump so fast. But this is a movie. The lead characters never do what's best for them - only what is best for you, the audience, you greedy, drama loving fuckers you.

This is not drama though, this is my life, damnit, and I am sitting in this chair and she is next to me and there is only 50 minutes to do something about it. I am going to do the only thing I know how - sit and wait.



Yawn. Coffee is served best with friends.



50 minutes passed faster than you know it when your heart rate is double what it should be, and before I knew it, the unseen, unwriting writer, who was busy not writing anything about this whole mess and instead just watching and waiting for it to all play out, had landed me square into the limelight. The man standing at the front of the room was curious about who I was. He was more curious about why I was, made apparent when he asked, "So, how did you know about this church?"

How did I know? I knew because of the girl sitting next to me, that's how. Some things you can never forget. Some things are not easy to explain.

But I did explain, and I watched from the corner of my eye as it dawned on her who I was and why I was, and I heard her say "Oh my gosh, I can't believe it's you!" over the sound of my beating heart, pounding in my ear and echoing against the walls of the room, and making the people around me shake, like unknowing actors in an earthquake movie where there is only an earthquake inside of one person.

My feet were not shaking, oh no. They were firmly planted on the ground. They didn't know they were in an earthquake movie.

And I said "Hello how are you?" because it was all I could think to say and maybe it was all she could think to say - but I hope not - when she said, "You broke my heart those years ago." She said this out loud, to all those unknowing actors in the room, who unknowingly were finding something out about me at the same time I was.

She said it with a twinkle in her eye, and it made me realise why I had felt the way I did when I stepped out of the car that morning, had felt the day to be much like that sunny day when I'd found her letter in the mail. The grass in my toes from that day was absent, because there were shoes firmly attached to my feet, which were likewise firmly planted to the pavement. That was 4 years in the past, and since that day she had never received any mail from me. Four copies of unwritten letters lay dying in my head.

My feet had left the ground, when my eyes had seen her toss her head back and remember how I had broken her heart. Like it was a good memory, that heart breaking, simply because I was a part of it.

So there I was, a heartbreaker, with non-functional feet.

This time, somebody didn't say it was going to be okay, because the unseen writer who was so busy not writing any of this had thrown away his pen for good - for he could never have timed those knowing glances and smiles so well.

The radio played Dave Edmund's classic tune, "I hear you knocking" on the way to her house. How fitting it could have been. Go read the lyrics for yourself, I'm too lazy to put them here.

Except this one: You went away and left me, long time ago
And now you're knocking, on the door
I hear you knocking, but you can't come in.
I hear you knocking, go back where you been.

They were all wrong though. I didn't have to knock at all. She was already at the door, the open door, waiting. Waiting for me, and smiling.