How To Break A Heart In 96 Easy Steps


Get drunk off boxed wine while making Thanksgiving stuffing in the basement of your dorm. Let him walk you back to your room. Kiss him in your doorway. Kiss him in your bed. Beg him to fuck you and wonder why he won’t. Think it means nothing. Realize that to him, it means a lot. Tell him you just want to be friends. Drink more wine. Kiss him again. Tell him you just want to be friends.

Get drunk off tequila. Beg him to fuck you, more convincingly this time. Start sleeping over on the weekends. Start sleeping over on weeknights. Cook for his roommates so they won’t mind as much. Continue to do this until winter break. Visit his home town. Build a gingerbread house. Build a blanket fort and drink cocoa and watch your favorite movie while he watches you. Know it’s not right. Tell him you can’t do this anymore. Drive home at 1am.

Invite him to your New Year’s Eve party. Kiss him before everyone else arrives. Introduce him as a friend. Refuse to kiss him at midnight. Watch him cry as he boards the train the next morning. Do not apologize. Do not try to talk to him until you get back to school. Offer to help him move in. Drink more wine. Act like nothing happened, and when he asks if you are sleeping over, say “Of course.” Act like his girlfriend until late April, when you meet a boy who’s on the football team. Tell him you can’t do this anymore. Offer no explanation. Sleep with the boy on the football team. Realize the boy on the football team is sleeping with three other people.

Text him. Do not apologize. Say you just want to be friends, even though you both know this won’t happen. Act like his girlfriend until you leave for the summer. Move to California. Tell him you are seeing other people. Fall in love with a poet. Get back to school and immediately back into his bed.

Finally agree to be his girlfriend. Know it’s not right. Agree to put it on Facebook anyway. Know it’s not right. Say “I’ve never given him the chance he deserves, and I’m starting to really like him!” Say it to your friends. Say it to your parents. Say it to yourself until you believe it. Feel safe. Feel loved. Cook him dinner and let him borrow your car and sleep together every night for two months straight. Say you love him. Mean it, but not the same way that he does. Know it’s not right. Keep trying. Fight constantly. Make up. Know it’s not right. Try three separate times to end it, but fail.

Tell him that you’re leaving. Hold him while he drips tears and snot and slobber all over your sweater. Hear him beg you not to leave. Remember the hickey he left on your collarbone last night. Think about how pathetic he looks now. Kiss him on the forehead. Leave.

Let him come over the next morning. Hear him beg you to come back. Hear him apologize for not treating you right. Try to explain. Try to remind him of all the awful things you’ve done to him. Say you don’t want to hurt him anymore. Watch him ignore you. Watch him keep begging. Watch him leave in tears.

Find his boxers in your laundry and his longboard in the backseat of your car. Wonder if you should return his things in person or give them to one of his friends. Wonder which will hurt him less. Decide to wait until he asks for them back. Hope it does not happen soon so that you don’t have to see him. Hope it happens soon so that you can see him.

See him on the bus. Watch him pretend he does not see you. See his friends on the bus. Watch them whisper and stare. Decide to walk from now on. Walk home on the coldest day of the year and make yourself grilled cheese. Realize that this is the first time in twelve months that you’ve had leftover tomato soup. Wonder why Campbell’s insists on selling soup in two serving cans. Feel lonely. Remember that he feels worse. TC Mark

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