This is a short story based on a prompt someone shared that went something like “If heartbreak creates a hole in your heart, describe the grand canyon.”
This is one of the pieces I am not happy with. I feel like its a summary of a longer work, and I can’t quite get past that feeling. I decided to post it anyways. You might notice that as a running theme, but I think sometimes writer’s get so worried about something being perfect that they don’t share it, and as you can imagine, it makes it pretty impossible to get any feedback that way. Maybe, at some point this will become something more, but for now, I am letting it go and moving on.
He thought he knew what it meant to be in love, to have his heart broken.
He had been dumped before. There was Ally back in high school, who was his first love. They were both going away to different colleges and she was not interested in long distance. He thought then that he would never get over it. He did.
Then he met Carol in college. She was his everything, and in comparison he realized that what he had with Ally was small, a crack, this here was heartbreak. Two years of devotion, and she said they had chemistry, but that was it. They were too similar, too driven, too uninterested in making time for the other to be anything more then friends. She was just distant at first, but after two long years, they had made it back to being friends.
There were a lot of people after Carol. His sister younger Lanie claimed the reason Carol hadn’t worked out was that she was a rebound. His older sister Betty said that while Lanie was correct, until he learned to be happy alone he wouldn’t be happy with someone else.
He took the combination of these pieces of advice and came to the conclusion that the solution to his issues lay in some casual sex. Okay, a lot of casual sex, with a lot of people, and some dates. When the dates left it felt less like a heart break and more like a paper cut. It didn’t really help him get over Carol, but he learned a lot about himself. He knew what he wanted out of a relationship, and that really. That he wanted more than just sex; he wanted a relationship.
He knew though that his masters wouldn’t leave him time to do one justice, and the last thing his GPA needed was another heartbreak induced crash, and soo he tried to do what Betty had said, and work on himself. That was when he ran into William.
Literally in this case. He wasn’t looking where he was going, then he looked up, got blinded by the sunlight and ran into William so hard he actually fell backward onto the ground. Most people would have been pissed to have been body checked by a stranger, but not William. William didn’t ask what he was thinking, or why he couldn’t look where he was going.
William looked down at him, golden hair literally glowing in a white halo of sunlight like a fucking angel and asked. “Are you alright?”
He of course was utterly useless, jabbered a bit, stood up too fast and almost fell back over. William caught him, like the knight in shining armor, rescuing him from distress. After that, they were inseparable. He tried to ignore his feelings for William, just stay friends, but the day William leaned over and kissed him… It was the best day of his life, the day everything changed.
It was little things that changed, t he not being alone in the morning, or at night. The way William took charge and picked out his clothing, and his food. The way William forced him to try new things, places, hobbies getting him out of his comfort zone. The way William got jealous when he spent time with other people, it made him feel wanted. William made him a better person, and he made William his whole world. It was a year and a half of bliss that he rode until he and William graduated from their respective programs. Then it was over.
There wasn’t a fight, or even an argument. There was no lead up, problems, anything. It was just over. William was saying goodbye as if the last two years hadn’t happened. William had found a job and was moving across the country, that simple,. There was no consideration for a boyfriend, even though he himself didn’t have a job yet. If William had asked him he would have moved; he would have done anything for William. That was the worst part, the indifference. The way William took him by the chin, and said, “It was a college thing sweetheart, and college is over. There is so much more out there for both of us. We have choices now.” Thats what killed him really, that he had chosen William, and William had seen him as a lack of better options.
What he learned from William was that heartbreak wasn’t the word for this. That other people filled your heart up, and when they left they took that part back with them, With Carol it felt like a break, but with William he felt the grand canyon formed between the parts of his heart and he ached. He didn’t get out of bed for days, and it was Carol of all people that helped him through it.
Carol who found him the psychiatrist. Carol who took him to the appointments, and held him as he cried after. Carol that took him to the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions that made him a little fuzzy, but able to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It was all Carol.
He finally understood what his older sister had meant, that he needed to be happy with himself before he could be happy with someone else. It took a few years, but eventually he was content. He had a job, an apartment, a life that was sufficient. Then he met Elijah.
He was more than a little gun shy when Elijah kissed him, and unlike William Elijah backed off, became his friend. A real friend, a distinction he had learned in the intervening years. With Elijah he was allowed to have other friends. There was no upset, no jealously when he talked to Carol or spent time with his family.
It took another three years before he could trust it, trust himself. The feeling he got when he was with Elijah, his Eli. It was less intense than what he felt with William, but at the same time deeper, wider, more. He was a stuttering mess the day he asked Eli to go to dinner with him, and he wasn’t very clear at the reasoning. After all, it was halfway through the meal when Eli suddenly looked around the restaurant and back at him and asked, sounding a little bewildered. “Is this a date?” He had tried to backtrack, but he gave it away, and to his astonishment Eli was okay with it.
After that they went on dates now and then. Occasional dates turned to dating, turned to engagement, and to a wedding, and now he was here. Looking down at the bundle in his arms, and knowing. This was it; this was love. All consuming, all encompassing, the kind of love that would kill him if he lost it. It wasn’t something as paltry as the grand canyon, it was the whole world holding a single one of his fingers clasped in her tiny fist.
In a single moment his whole life changed, and now he knew all the pain he been though before was getting him ready for this, and he was so glad that he’d made it long enough to learn the true meaning of love.