Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Newly recognized syndrome has an old name

For millennia humans have mourned over it. It's the subject of many a songwriter's works. Vincent Van Gogh painted with inspiration from it... and we've all suffered it's symptoms. I don't know who originally coined the phrase, but the term BROKEN HEART seems a perfect choice of words.

Now the medical world has acknowledged its effect on the human body. The symptoms are not contrived, nor imagined, they are real. Not irreparable, according to doctors, as a heart attack is. But every bit as painful.

I remember my first broken heart. I was 16. (transitional harp sound and picture goes fuzzy)

We'll call her Pam, (because that was her name) and she lived just down the street from where I worked. We met at school, and as we became better acquainted, found we were very much alike. She would call me after school, and some nights we'd talk for 4 or 5 hours. Finally I got up the courage to offer her my class ring. She said she was wondering what took me so long. Yippeeee! Life was good.

Pam always did the sweetest things... she'd bring lunch to me during my weekend on-air shifts. I remember finding cute little notes on my car window... I can still see clearly in my mind the way she'd make me tea, stir it with her finger and sit right next to me to watch TV. She's the first girl that I ever really kissed.

Her parents had dreamed of vacationing in Alaska for as long as I'd known them. Her brother was stationed in Anchorage, so finally they made their plans. I was excited for them, but dreaded the absence - it was a 2 week trip! So I offered to be their airport transportation. Honestly, It was just an excuse to get to hang out with Pam a little longer before they left. As I kissed her goodbye at the gate, she gave me an extra squeeze and promised she'd call.

She never did.

The first week, I thought about how she probably just couldn't find a phone. Or they were too busy taking tours... or visiting her brother. Or a glacier must have broken loose and severed the phone lines. Finally, since I didn't have a phone number, I sent a rose to her brother's address. A note was attached, "miss you, call me."

In the middle of week two, the phone rang. It was her Father's voice on the other end, he was calling to arrange the time to pick them up at the airport. We worked it out, then I asked to talk to Pam.

"She's... uh... out right now Dave." His voice was steady but a little stressed. I knew something was up.

"She hasn't called me, you guys must really be busy. Did she get the rose I sent?"

"Yeah, she got it." Long silence. "I don't know what to tell you son."

"Uh... well... okay. So... 7 o'clock - I'll meet you at the gate." We hung up and I knew it was over. Pam had met a guy on vacation and we were finished. When I picked them up at the gate, she didn't speak to me. Not a word. The ride back was uncomfortable... I dropped them off and went home.

I cried all night that night. I probably didn't sleep for 3 days. I told Mom I would never feel the same about another person... and how life as I knew it was over. My buddy Ken and I took a weekend road trip to Mizzou to see an Alabama concert, but even the gorgeous college girls couldn't take away the pain.

But as young love often does, it faded pretty fast. Between my school and work, my mind had plenty to do, and I found myself thinking about it less and less...

And within a month, I was dating Pam's cousin.

(transitional harp again, fuzzy memory segment over)

I'm not sure if my story has a moral, but I do know this. Broken hearts are real. I know exactly where the cracks are in mine. Evidence of physical irreparable damage? The experts say there's none.

I might have to disagree.


gary said...

You want to hear about a strange coincidence...I remember back when I was..oh...about 21 or so. I was up in Ancorage and I met this girl there who was on vacation and...wait a minute..I mean...NEVER MIND!!!

Love ya bro!

kdillon said...

Man...I SO remember all of that. Mainly because MY first real broken heart happened that same damn Summer.
I remember the road trip, the tears, the heartache, and all that. You nailed her Dad's "Don't know what to tell ya, Son," dead on, too...I can still hear him say stuff like that.

Luckily, we both are WAY better off now than we were then...and whether or not it makes you feel any better, or worse, she contacted me at my old radio station, as she could hear us on the web, and still jots some notes every now and then. I think she is married, with 14 kids, less teeth than that, and weighs about 328.


Anonymous Midwest Girl said...

This was a fantastic entry...and then I got to this line:

"And within a month, I was dating Pam's cousin."

You could not have ended it better. I actually may have peed my pants a little I laughed so hard.