To the One Who Broke Your Heart

She was a lucky girl, she thought, because you finally noticed her.

You smiled her way, flirted here and there. Eventually, you found the courage to ask her out.

You took her to the fancy new restaurant in town, the one that served the pizza in the brick oven that everyone was raving about.

You behaved like a gentleman because your mama raised you that way.

You said some right things, but more wrong things. You were nervous, you told her.

She thought your fumbles were cute.

By the end of the date, the two of you, so uncertain at the start, were like old friends.

You picked up the check, walked her to her door, kissed her goodnight.

This same scenario—the flirting, the picking up, the taking out, the kissing—played out for as long as it could.

But it wouldn’t have mattered to her anyway the length of time the two of you would last.

Because she had already fallen for you with that first smile.

And she had fallen hard, as young women often do.

Who knows why. Some things are simply meant to be.

And that’s what she innocently believed of your relationship.

Your love would last, it would work out in the best possible way.

Things were running so smoothly.

Then there was the first bump. A missed call. A harsh text. A broken date.

She brushed it off. She had to; she had already invested so much.

So much time, so much emotion.

So much heart.

She prayed you would brush it off, too.

But then the second bump came. And the third.

She was jealous. Or an over-thinker, or boring, or just not pretty enough.

You were pushy. Or not pushy enough. Or more interested in someone else.

Regardless, you were over her.

And just like that, her tender heart was left in pieces.

The two of you became strangers.

You passed each other from time to time, in the halls at school, or the car, or down the street, or on Facebook. Yet you never spoke a word.

Now she can’t believe there was ever a time you were inseparable.

A time she would have moved Heaven or Hell to be with you forever.

She spends nights crying into her pillow. Over and over again she listens to your song, lamenting that she’d ever believed you when you had playfully sung the lyrics and promised you meant them.

Days drag on. She shakes her head over all that happened. She wondered where you two went wrong.

But as the months go on, a funny thing takes place.

Her broken heart begins to beat again.

Sometimes she doesn’t even know how or when.

She realizes a young woman has a heart with an amazing capacity to heal.

And she experiences this the first time she meets the cute new friend of a friend.

The butterflies swarm. They surprise her; she hasn’t felt this way in so long.

Oh, she had dated a few times after you. She had tried her best to get back out there. But it never was…it just never was…

This. What she feels now, with this person, in this moment.

He asks her out.

She accepts, nervous, but excited to finally feel again.

They have a great time. He promises to call.

And he does.

In fact, he keeps all of the promises he makes. He’s there when he says he’ll be there. He doesn’t hurt her the way you did.

When she’s brave, she tells him all about you. Little by little, she peels back the layers of your love story.

He listens. Maybe he has a story, too.

He was the guy with a broken heart.

Or he was the heartbreaker.

No matter. She had already fallen for him with that first smile.

But this time is different.

Because she’s older now. Her heart has hardened—cracks and all.

But those cracks open only in the good parts.

The parts where the light shines in.

And that’s what he is for her. A bright light shining after dark days.

He’s not perfect, not by any means. But he’s the grace she needed to be able to tell you something very important:

Thank you.

She can finally say thank you for what you shared.

The good and the bad. The smiles and the tears.

All of it made her the woman she is today. Broken in all the right places. The places that make her stronger.

And she now understands that you were not a bad person.

You were a young boy trying to find his way, just like her.

We all believe the luckiest girls in the world are the ones who never had to endure such heartbreak.

They marry their high school sweetheart or their first love. Live happily ever after.

Maybe there’s some truth to that.

But this girl would disagree.

The girl with the broken heart thinks the luckiest girls in the world are the ones who don’t spend their days wishing for what used to be.

The luckiest girls are happy in the present. Content with the here and now.

They are okay.

Even luckier is the girl who has the bittersweet privilege to one day encounter the boy who broke her heart.

Maybe she sees you at a crowded high school reunion, laughing with old friends.

Or maybe you pass each other on a day out with your spouses and children.

She stops and says hello.

You smile. It’s good to see you again, you might say.

Neither of you talk about the past. It’s not necessary. What’s over has passed.

When all is said, you go your separate ways, strangers once more.

But her heart is full.

Because she can finally say, I’m glad life ended up the way it did.

And she’s happy you’re okay.