I tossed my cell phone on the bed and watched it bounce to the floor of my bedroom. It hadn’t rung or beeped or buzzed in hours, and I was frustrated with watching it.
I was 20 and the guy I had been dating hadn’t called me in a few days. I had been pacing the room and analyzing our last conversation with my roommates. I had waited and waited and finally, I vowed to let him go and move on. Then one Sunday afternoon, I tagged along with my roommate to the bookstore, and my phone buzzed and blinked.
My heart stopped, and I showed the message to my roommate.
“It’s him,” she said with a gasp, eyeing me closely to see what I would do.
It was him alright, asking if he could steal me away from studying Spanish for a Sunday drive. It sounded so romantic. So perfect. So wonderful. So I overlooked the fact that it had been three days since he called me.
So I said yes.
We drove that Sunday into the sunset and around a glistening lake, listening to old songs spinning on a CD. We ate at a noisy restaurant, his voice carrying above it, our laughter breaking through. I leaned into the table and watched him reach for his wallet to pay. He was handsome and sweet and I loved it when he smiled.
For weeks, we dined and watched movies and spent time together. We talked about God and our families and our dreams. He hugged me every time he left.
But our dates were sporadic. He would charm me for a few days, but then I wouldn’t hear from him. It was exhausting and frustrating. I realized I couldn’t continue to be strung along, and it took everything I had to turn away from that last kiss, so instead, for one last time, he pulled me into his chest, and I let him go. And my heart broke.
I didn’t eat a lot of ice cream or watch Lifetime, but I think I wanted to. I replayed it all over and over again and I watched him walk away every time. Then I looked back again, and I saw that he wasn’t ready to commit. He reached for my hand, but never squeezed it. He hugged me close, but never long enough. He asked me how my day was, but sometimes his eyes wandered.
I hadn’t seen it before, and I didn’t want to at first. Instead, I wondered what I could have done differently. I wondered when the awful ache in my chest would go away.
I want to tell you that it went away in three days after a lot of ice cream and bad movies, but it didn’t. Me? Mourning a boy? Me? Tough and guarded, smart and careful, crying on the floor of my apartment for a boy? I couldn’t believe it.
“What is this pain in my chest?” I asked my roommate.
“That’s your heart,” she said matter-of-factly.
It was the first time I had felt that way and it certainly wasn’t the last, but I couldn’t shake the thought: He didn’t pick me. He didn’t fight for me.
So this one is for you ladies, for when your heart breaks, for you who know that ache, who are replaying the relationship over and over. Let it ache.
Let it ache.
Let it ache.
That heartache is your soul’s way of letting you know that you were meant to be valued, that you were meant to give love, that your hand is meant to be squeezed in the dark, that you’re meant to be held long, that you’re meant to be loved.