“Just for a moment I was back at school, and felt that old familiar pain.”
— Dan Fogelberg, “Same Old Lang Syne”
Last night, from afar, I witnessed something that broke my heart.
Two high school kids I know rather well through my job of covering their exploits as student-athletes appeared to have broken up.
They’re both such good kids and, as boyfriend/girlfriend, they came straight out of central casting. He’s a handsome kid, she’s a pretty girl … in a perfect world, they buck the odds, grow old together, have babies and grand-babies and live happily every other.
As my generation knows all too well, though, a perfect world doesn’t exist.
The way they appeared to have broken up, though, is something my generation can barely fathom.
It happened on Twitter … in front of everybody; for them to see, to comment on, to take sides with.
Now I remember when I was 16 … all too well, probably.
And “love” as we knew it was the most intense and overwhelming of all the emotions we were learning to deal with as we grew up.
When a relationship ended, as most of them did at some point and time, it wasn’t easy. It hurt. A lot.
In my day, though, you were in love one day at school and not going out the next. And the break-up, as hard as it was, usually happened in private … shared with just a few friends over rotary phones.
This, needless to say, wasn’t like that.
There was a third-party involved — another girl with a cellphone at her fingers and who knows what going on in her own heart — and let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.
Messages flying back and forth in less than 140 characters … people’s opinions flying back and forth … and two hearts breaking as they wondered what was true and what wasn’t; what was real and what was just feeling surreal.
This morning’s Tweet is why I wanted to write about this.
“Please don’t not (Sic) ask me any questions about last night. I lost the person who makes life livable. And the rest is no one else’s business,” he wrote.
The 1970s rock band Nazareth once sang, “Love hurts. Love scars. Love wounds and marks.”
It was true then and, as these two young people know, it’s true today.
They’re feeling that hurt and, in turn, I’m hurting for them.
Some of you might scoff at the fact I’m writing about young love today. They’re kids. They’ll get it over it, right?
Of course. In time. (Plus, this is high school, they might get back together again … who knows?)
Time has taught us all that and it is our experience that unconsciously makes us roll our eyes at young people and their exploits and problems.
But we were young once and if there is one thing we must admit, it’s the fact that the feelings themselves don’t really change. It’s how we handle them that changes, our maturity. Our perspective now is different, but the emotions remain the same.
Consider: One of my friends back home has been sleeping on the couch at his apartment because he couldn’t bear to sleep in the bedroom after he and his longtime girlfriend broke up.
Is he not feeling the same pain of loss that these two young people are feeling this morning?
Love hurts, remember?
I believe wholeheartedly in soul mates. I believe there is someone for everyone (and Tommy’s love was Becky … right, Kenny Rogers?)
But I think mine has come and gone.
Depending on which side of the fence you sit on when it comes to matters of love, I’m either really smart or really dumb.
Almost 20 years ago, after just two post-divorce relationships, I made the decision that I wasn’t going to chase that carrot anymore.
I just didn’t want to deal with the emotions that come with that quest/game/part of life anymore, so I pushed the right buttons, pulled the right levers, and simply shut it down.
It’s made for a lot of lonely Saturday nights, but that’s on me.
I have freedom to do what I want when I went. I answer to nobody but myself and my maker. I don’t have to deal with the frustrations that come with letting love into my life.
Granted, I don’t get to share in any of the joys, either … but I weighed out my options and made my choice.
But I remain a sucker for young love – for the hope people have at a young age when the heart gets tugged on and you fall hard for that person as you get lost in their eyes.
It’s when you believe in forever, and I like the pureness of that.
Not everybody can be Missy Greeley and Keith Tasker, though.
Most of you probably wonder who they are, but some of you who grew up with us know they fell in love when they were in high school — juniors or seniors, I believe, and they’re still together today.
I think that’s pretty awesome.
That doesn’t mean the young couple I feel so sad for this morning were destined to stay together forever.
But a tiny bit of their innocence was lost last night and it played out on social media for far too many people to see.
Their generation is growing up in a vastly different world than I did, but one thing remains the same.