I got this message from my friend D:
In 1969 I was in my first year at University of Illinois in Chicago. My high school girlfriend had gone to school at U of I in Champaign/Urbana. As often happens, she met someone else. Her calls were fewer, I suspected something was amiss. I drove down to see her. I arrived, she told me plainly, without challenge, we were kaput. I drove back to Chicago that night. Tail between my legs. Humiliated. Dumped. A two hour drive in the dark of night, on a lightless highway pitiably punching in buttons on the car radio looking for a station. In the middle of nowhere I got reception. But every button I pushed was Glen Campbell singing about the lonely Wichita Lineman. There was no escaping the song. It was like a bad joke.He pointed out that a whole book has been devoted to the message of Wichita Lineman, Wichita Lineman: Searching in the Sun for the World's Greatest Unfinished Song. His message brought one of my own sad personal memories up. It was the mid seventies and I was going overseas to work for a year, ending up working in Israel as an electrician. I flew to Miami and then took a Greyhound bus to Tampa to say goodbye to my then girlfriend and first love, who was attending the university there. It is a very long bus ride. Unfortunately for me, the road back would be even longer.
When I got there we met on a bridge over the river, I guess it is the Tampa River. She greeted me and broke the news that we were now officially quits, like D she had another guy and I was now geographically undesirable and we had a couple other mutual issues that made our relationship no longer tenable for her. The shock hit me like a brick on the side of my head.
I had never loved anybody so much before and I was completely devastated. Wasn't going to jump in and drown but I wasn't dancing any jig either. Honestly, I was miserable. Have hated Florida ever since, to tell you the truth.
I somehow found my way back to the bus station and embarked on the melancholy five and a half hour ride across Alligator Alley back to Miami. The dirty, belching bus and my equally miserable compatriots on the journey only added to my angst ridden gloom and pallor. Greyhound is the perfect ticket for those without any other options.
It was pouring rain and very cold, which Northern Florida can sometimes get. In the next row was a black woman and her child and they were plainly freezing. In a fleeting moment of compassion and chivalry I gave them my only coat to stay warm and I shivered all the way back, my physical discomfort essentially meaningless at that point compared to my busted and broken heart. Couldn't have felt worse if I tried. Was down a love and a jacket.
I'm happy to say that things worked out well for both of us and after all these years we remain friends and happily married to our respective spouses. But you never forget the pain you felt when your childhood heart breaks, the Wichita lineman, still on the line.
Have you ever been dumped? Or had to cut the cord yourself? Care to write about it? I will publish your story, anonymously if you wish. I actually started a book once about another similar experience, will probably never finish it. It had its own sad song.