Piecing together his broken heart, Ben recovers in Texas

Ben Prat

I came home to El Paso, Texas, in part to try to work out things with my ex-boyfriend. We had lived together for a year before breaking up. I spent all of Fall Quarter obsessing over him. And I mean obsessing. Every minute thought that my tiny brain had was about him. I decided to come home.

We hadn’t spoken for a month when I returned. I called and called, never getting a call back. I went to shows and clubs hoping to see him. I made the 20-minute drive to his workplace just to catch a glimpse of him through the window. No luck. I needed to speak with him one more time: I had a book to give to him. He had been searching for this book unsuccessfully for more than three years. I found it for $108.

Just before Christmas, I drove to Andy’s house. His brother opened the door. The next 30 seconds seemed like an eternity. Andy walked down a couple of steps, then stopped. I stumbled through the speech I had just rehearsed. Andy took the box, said “OK,” and closed the door. I never received a thank you note.

After a while, hiding your feelings becomes second nature. You start hiding emotions not only from others but also from yourself. I needed help.

I finally faced my problems with my lunatic psychiatrist, Dr. Wilcox. Sessions have been going well, and I feel better. My latest obsessions have been Celexa (an anti-depressant), sleeping pills and cigarettes. I am smoking more now than I ever have before. Even a walk across the restaurant at which I work leaves me winded.

Things are good.

A few weeks ago, I was setting up the dining room of the restaurant. We had no customers, and the three other waiters were in the back, drinking. I walked outside to shake the doormat and saw Andy walking toward me. My mouth hit the floor.

We had an awkward conversation about what we’ve been doing, who we’ve been hanging out with. Andy kept smiling at me. I felt myself falling in love with him all over again. Then, as if it were nothing, he asked, “So, who you sleeping with?”

Again, my mouth hit the floor. I wanted to tell him about a boy whom I dated briefly. I wanted to make him jealous.

I said, “No one.”

He said he would call me sometime. After he left, I began to bawl. My coworkers had no idea what happened.

He still hasn’t called. Dr. Wilcox says that Andy hasn’t let go yet. He couldn’t call or write, Wilcox says, so he besieged me at work. His reasoning for asking whom I was with: “Andy still wants you, Ben. That was his way of letting you know.”

I feel strong enough now that if Andy came crawling back to me, I could turn him away – easily. I know it sounds cruel, but as my uncle has been reminding me lately, “everything happens for a reason.”

That’s still no reason not to ask whether I am living the life I want. And I know I am.

Ben Prat is a Education sophomore. He can be reached at [email protected]