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I am 18 going on…married

There’s a cute guy who comes to the restaurant on Saturdays. He works on this side of town.

I watch for his car to pull into the parking lot and then I primp and rush to the window.

We flirt.

He orders a milkshake. Or sometimes chicken fingers. With ketchup.

One Friday night I am sitting at home, bored, and alone. The next thing I know I have a phone book in my hand. I look up his number.

His last name is odd. There aren’t many in the white pages.

The phone is ringing. And so are my ears. I can’t breathe and my throat is tight.

“Hello,” he says. And I know it is him and not a wrong number. Or his parents. I know it.

“Oh…hi…this is…um…this is Miranda. From the restaurant.”

“Oh…hey! How are you?” He sounds excited that it’s me. I am excited that he answered.

“Oh, I’m fine. Fine thanks. Listen, if you’re not doing anything tonight, do you want to get dinner?”

“Oh, sure. What time?”

“Now?” I am unsure. He will think I am strange for asking him out on short notice.

“Sure. Can I pick you up?”

I ask him out to see if he is prom-date material, and five months later he proposes. I am 18.

Instead of planning my next outfit for Thursday night like most college freshmen, I am planning my wedding and choosing curtains and dishes.

Instead of “when I grow up” it’s “after the wedding.”

We choose a date in April. We settle on a location and pay the deposit. I buy a dress. A beautiful dress.

And then he breaks my heart.

He cheats. And I am devastated.

I have given up attending the college of my dreams for him. I have decided to live and love the small-town life for him. Friends have abandoned me because they do not understand this. And I am okay with losing them. Because I had him.

And suddenly? I have nothing. I am alone. My world has gone dark and I am wedged in with the knowledge of all I have given up to be with him.

He calls from time to time

“How are you doing?” he asks.

“You don’t get to ask that anymore. You didn’t want me,” I spit into the phone.

I put on my most angry self for those calls. I grit my teeth to keep from crying.

After we hang up, I cry. I weep and shout and throw things.

And one day he calls and I tell him I am leaving town. Moving away to that town I gave up for him. Trying something new.

“Wait,” he says, “…you can’t.”

“But I can. You decided I could when you chose her.”

And so I left.

I hated it. I hated that town where I knew almost no one and nothing was familiar.

I missed him. I missed the friends who hadn’t understood. I missed home.

And then one day I stopped being lonely. One day I realized that I no longer thought of him. Or of them.

One day I realized I wasn’t just surviving anymore. I was living.

I was strong. And brave. And better off than I would have been if I had stayed there.

And now, I sit here on this couch, in this house–in my home–and I am surrounded by life. My life.

And love.

Because I lost him, I now have them.


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Miss Chi

Thursday 28th of April 2011

Hi Miranda, just found your blog through the Kitch Witch. I read this post and my heart beats a little faster. This is me, a couple months ago (although i'm not 18 and not leaving town anytime soon). I feel your pain back then, but I also feel your strength and courage. It is difficult, but I know I will be able to do it, like you did.


Thursday 28th of April 2011

I didn't think I'd leave either, and then the opportunity presented itself and I took it. I knew I had to.

You will find your strength. It's there. Promise.


Wednesday 27th of April 2011

I love to find out the little pieces of where someone has come from. What makes them who they are now. This made you a fighter. It made you strong. Also? I love the words your mama puts on your page. She is encouraging and wonderful, I can feel it through my screen.


Wednesday 27th of April 2011

My Mama is awesome. So, so awesome. I love her.

Jess@Straight Talk

Wednesday 27th of April 2011

So true. It's amazing how wrapped up we get when we are younger. How the world revolves around someone. I had a relationship like that and I felt like my world was ending when he was gone. And then...just like you I met my husband and have my beautiful girl. Life happens for a reason. It's just hard to understand it.


Wednesday 27th of April 2011

It's so hard to understand it, but one day you just go "Huh. That makes total sense now." And it does.


Wednesday 27th of April 2011

I was in one of those for seven years. Thank God I didn't marry him... but it seemed like it. Some of the friends stayed, but it took a long time to gain the respect back. Still working on the self-respect. It's hard to know what to do after something like this happens, but it's good to feel good where you are now. It's the bad decisions we make that help us know how to make the good ones.


Wednesday 27th of April 2011

I shouldn't say that all of my friends left. But I still think that some didn't understand and after we'd broken up, the friendships were forever...different somehow.

But you're totally right when you say the bad decisions help us know how to make the good ones. They SO do.

Frume Sarah

Wednesday 27th of April 2011

So brave. So brave to realize that by cheating, he no longer had any say in what you did, how you felt, where you lived, etc. Good for you!!!


Wednesday 27th of April 2011

That was a brave front I put on for a long time. For a long, long time, I wanted nothing more than for him to say "I made a mistake. I'm sorry. Please take me back." And I would have. But by putting on that facade, I grew up. And I realized that I could be okay.

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