Broken hearts, it's something that many young men and ladies experience. You will recover from your first heartbreak but you will never forget them. Here is the story of my first experience.
Now I had quit school at sixteen and went to work despite all the negative warnings from my former teachers and guidance counselor. I found work almost immediately and away from school and the day-to-day harassment from my fellow students I did very well.
I excelled at my job and in short order, I received a pay bonus and more responsibility. I lost weight and gained almost a foot in height and something I lacked in school, self-confidence. I started to enjoy life as a working adult.
It was about two years later, enjoying my day off that I discovered one of the old stores on one of the main streets had been converted into a youth center. The interior resembled a typical teenager's bedroom of the day sans the bed. Posters of rock stars shared the walls along with posters requesting that we end the war in Viet Nam.
There were numerous comfortable chairs and couches along with a jukebox that was set up to operate on a dime. I met the male and female responsible for opening it. They were both in college working on their degrees in psychology and we had a long talk about their reasons for opening this place and about how a few businesses were causing them grief.
Then there were the repairs required to satisfy the city inspector but the cost was way beyond the grant money they received to operate such a place. I asked if they would accept assistance from me and they welcomed it.
I used the contacts that I made at the Italian restaurant where I worked with those of a questionable background to assist in making the necessary repairs and to speak with the few businesses that were making waves. They were more than happy to help. The harassment stopped and the center began to flourish. It was a place for teens to hang out, listen to music, smoke cigarettes, and share their problems with an adult other than a teacher or parent.
It was there that I met her. Her name was Shannon and she was the embodiment of everything that I desired in a female. She was tall and tanned with a killer figure and a mane of thick black hair that fell past her shoulders. She possessed flashing green eyes and a dazzling smile.
She was friends of those that started the place and over the course of the next few months, we saw a great deal of each other as she seemed to be there every day. Upon her arrival, she would stop by the office to greet her friends and then greet the others in the room before seeking me out. She always looked fantastic in her tight blouses, high-heeled boots, and dress slacks.
I figured that by her looks and speech that she was only a year or two older than I was but I was cautioned to never ask a lady her age. She always joined me on the couch or pulled up a chair next to mine if I was seated at one of the long tables and offered her opinions to those seeking answers. Her sparkling eyes, pretty face, and exotic perfume captured my soul and I fell in love although I wouldn't admit it.
Summer seemed to fly by and so did the Fall and before I knew it we were planning the center's first Christmas party. One of the local pizza shops that use to have problems with teenage loiterers donated a dozen extra-large pizzas out of gratitude. The sub shop that was now free of loiterers thanks to the center sent over a six-foot sub sandwich. Even the police stopped by with boxes of doughnuts.
A tree had been donated and decorated by the teens that frequented the place. Strings of lights that were also donated lined the walls and windows and the place took a total Christmas feeling. I was there early to help with the set-up and meet the first arrivals. All while counting the minutes until Shannon arrived.
When she finally appeared I was stunned by her holiday outfit. She was clad in a black mini-dress that featured a crisscross pattern that showed the flesh on her upper chest that allowed the top of her bra to be visible. She circled the room greeting everyone before she approached me.
"So tell me, are you going to spend the evening trying to look up my skirt or are you going to stare at my breasts?" she asked in a serious tone as saw my wide-eyed stare.
"Actually I plan to divide my staring time between both," I responded in a similar serious tone and an English accent.
"Very good," she replied with a smile and a laugh and a similar accent.
The best part of the evening occurred when she caught me standing under the mistletoe. I received a firm hug and a quick kiss on the lips. As the evening progressed I noticed that she did not do that to any of the young men that pointed out the plant hanging over her head.
Halfway through the party, I decided to step outside for a smoke and I invited Shannon to join me. The temperature inside the build was a tad stifling what with the number of people in attendance and the weather was mild for December so the cold was barely felt. We smoked and chatted while I summoned up the courage to ask her out, I waited until she crushed her cigarette out under her high heels.
"Shannon can you spare a minute?" asked just as she was turning to head back inside.
"What can I do for you?" was her response.
"Would you consider going out with me? Nothing fancy just dinner and a movie," I managed to say in a firm unwavering tone.
Shannon's face lost her smile and her eyes seemed to glisten as one hand went to her heart.
"Oh sweetie, I can't go out with you," she responded and I cut her off before she could continue.
"Is it my age or my looks?" I questioned.
"Your age is not an issue as I am not that much older than you are and no matter what the girls at school told you, you are quite handsome," she continued.
"Then what's the problem?" I asked struggling to maintain my composure.
"The problem is that I'm married," she responded.
I suddenly felt all the happiness leave my body and there was a tightness across my chest and I felt my stomach contract at the word marriage.
"But you're not wearing a ring," was the only thing I could think of saying.
"I broke my hand shortly before we met and my ring finger has never recovered its original size. The rings have been sent out to be resized.
I just stood there with a blank face struggling not to cry.
"We can still be friends, right? I really do enjoy hanging out with you. You're a good talker and a great listener and you always make me laugh no matter how bad I am feeling and there's a lot to be said for that," she said placing her hands on my shoulders.
"Yeah, OK," I responded.
She gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and suggested we go back inside. I told her that I would go in thru the side door and I waited until she was inside and in the middle of the crowd before I headed to my car. My street rod was very loud and the engine's distinct growl could be easily heard from inside so I waited until I was sure she was in the center of the room before starting my car. That way she couldn't run outside and stop me.
I got inside the car and once hidden from the world I began to cry. I cried for the love and the togetherness that we would never share. I started the engine and headed home. Driving was made difficult by the tears in my eyes streaming down my face.
I lived in the dormer above my parent's garage and the presence of my car in the driveway indicated that I was home. As I didn't wish to talk to or see anyone I parked in the lot of the trucking firm behind my parent's house. The owner allowed me to park there to keep the snow off my car and the space my car occupied made it invisible to everyone.
Alone in my apartment, the tears continued. Every time I closed my eyes I saw her pretty face and my dreams were of her and I swear I could hear her voice and smell her perfume.
I was a miserable person for the next few months. My eyes were always red and I used the excuse that I was fighting off a cold. My attitude was to the point that no one wanted to be around me for very long, which suited me just fine.
I never returned to the youth center and began working as much overtime as I was offered. When a position opened at the other restaurant across town that my bosses owned I applied for it. Now if anyone came looking for me at my old job they received was that I no longer worked there.
My phone went unanswered as did any knocking at my door. I sat in the dark and wept and this went on for months.
I happened to bump into one of the young ladies that was a regular at the center and I was questioned about my lack of attendance. I gave her the standard answer of having to work, she didn't buy it.
"It's because that Shannon bitch brushed you off isn't it?" she asked.
"Yeah, something like that," I responded.
"Well you should stop by again as that bitch quit coming to the center," she stated. "It was right after the Christmas party that she no longer showed up, my friend Kathy saw her leave that evening and swore that she was crying," she continued.
I was unmoved by her statement. I don't remember how long I lived under the black cloud of depression but it seemed like forever. Eventually, the tears stopped and my attitude improved.
The youth center continued to flourish, but I had no desire to stop in. I eventually left the restaurant trade and took a job that involved a lot of traveling. Being on the road and meeting new people agreed with me and I was pretty satisfied with my new position.
They say time heals all wounds, and for the most part, that's true. No one ever mentions the ghosts of the past that visit uninvited. I can be at a party or performing on stage in some theatrical production when I will get a glimpse of a tall raven-haired lovely and suddenly for just a moment, I'm that heartbroken eighteen-year-old teen again.