Note: Today’s post came from a 10-minute free-write challenge by writer Cheryl Strayed. You set a timer for 10 minutes, with no editing. I hope to use most of these as Monday posts. To see the list of writing prompts, visit this page.
Write about why you could not do it
It wasn’t right.
I knew that, even at age 15. I knew I had to break up with my girlfriend – we’ll call her Daphne – because … well, because isn’t important. The point is, the breakup was inevitable. Daphne was beyond sweet. A skinny, adorable girl I felt ages older than. Maybe it was the braces and smiling eyes.
I was a year older than her, after all.
Daphne came from a sweet family with pestering little brother. She was a cheerleader, a JV cheerleader. I was a football player. A varsity football player. I hardly played, except for on kick coverage. My uniform hardly got dirty.
The JV cheerleaders were legit, though.
Daphne had pep and sass and a wholesomeness I felt I’d surpassed. I was shaving and all, you know? I was big and bad. I had the highest weight in leg press. Did I mention I was a bench warmer?
I hung out with the injured guys and the trainers. I was a football player in name only.
So when I decided I had to move on from sweet Daphne, my friend – we’ll call him Skip – tapped into the piggish side of boyhood and said I should make a move on her.
It didn’t seem right.
I’d like to think it was more morals than being chicken to make an actual move on an actual girl. Daphne didn’t deserve that. Not at all.
I don’t remember how the breakup went, if I did it in person or by note. I do know that the older girl I wound up with next used me and tossed me aside. I really wanted to call Daphne back. I was too embarrassed to do it.
Back then, you had to use the phone in the living room for this kind of thing.
Years later, Daphne said “you dumped me for Bella (not her real name), didn’t you?” She smiled when she said it. Even then, she knew how dumb I’d been.I just looked Daphne up on Facebook.
She’s recently married, to a guy who probably I’d have looked a little like with some better living.
And her? She’s a knockout. Gorgeously pretty, and a business owner. Maybe I did her a favor – although, does junior-high love ever last? She looks … happy. Hugely happy.
And that seems right to me.