A breakup, on the bench in front of MacCracken
She stumbled into her dorm room.
Her eyes filled with tears that overflowed down her red, splotchy face and onto her grey T-shirt. She tried to speak, but her mouth contorted and her eyes squeezed shut and words didn't come out.
The phone conversation had gone something like this:
"We don't talk," he said.
"I'm sorry. But you're always busy with football, and I have class and friends."
"You go out all the time."
"I do not go out all the time," she replied. "Stop."
"Well, we don't talk."
"I'll be back at home in October and we can see each other then."
"You think I'm just going to wait around?"
"Are you saying we should break up?"
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"I don't know," he said. "What do you think?"
"I think we should."
And that's how she broke up with her boyfriend of two-and-a-half years.
On the phone. On a bench. In front of MacCracken Hall, right in the middle of campus.
She was angry. She felt blamed for the breakup, like the life she was creating for herself was being judged. Like she was being shamed for taking advantage of the freedom that college offers.
But she didn't want to talk about it. She didn't want to tell her parents that they would no longer be seeing their daughter's perfect boyfriend, whom they loved.
Instead, she turned off the lights. She got into bed, opened her computer, put in her earbuds, and pulled the covers all the way up to her chin.
Their time together would be capped at two-and-a-half years.
And two-and-a-half hours after the breakup, she sat up, turned to her roommate and made plans to go to their favorite frat house.