Break-Up: A Short Story About Fate


Sylvia McDonald

"Hypnopompic Bradys"
By Jeff Westover
I'm three days past my sixth break-up. I've now had more lovers than I can count on one hand. I'm depressed about this. I'm afraid of a future where I will resort to toes.

Besides, I still see him everywhere. I traipse through my house on a mission for Kali, the Hindu Goddess of destruction. She and I ferret out everything that reminds me of him: his blue toothbrush, his stupid coffee mug with the fish on it, the Band-Aids he rushed out to buy when I cut my hand washing dishes, that god-awful circa 1970s tie that we fought over, the scented lotion he once rubbed on my body -- it all hits the dumpster.

In the aftermath of this purge, I jump in my car and head for the bookstore. A friend has suggested I read HOW TO BREAK YOUR ADDICTION TO A PERSON and I'm there, I'm all over that one.

The problem becomes clear when the clerk at the bookstore can't find the last copy even though his computer promised it was on the shelf. Clearly, I'm going to have to do some work.

I follow him back to the service desk and he literally shouts to the girl in the back, "Where can this lady find more books on obsessive relationships?"

I think that I'm glad I didn't ask for Tampax.

He takes me to the section labeled, "Recovery." We sort through alcoholism, drug addiction, over-eating, gambling, and sexual obsession. He hands me the book on sexual addiction and grins (stupid boy in his 20s) and I say, "No -- I want 'relationship addiction' -- it's NOT the same thing!"

A dark haired man approaches to my left. "Ma'am," he says politely, "Excuse me. I couldn't help but overhear. I don't know what you need exactly, but I found this book two aisles over."

I kid you not - the guy hands me a copy of HOW TO BREAK YOUR ADDICTION TO A PERSON. I'm truly amazed.

"Wow," I exclaim to the airheaded clerk -- "Look at this. That's why we couldn't find it. He has it and he just put it in my hands. Isn't that incredible?"

The clerk just chuckles and moves on.

The man reaches over and removes HIS book from MY grasp.

I say, "Where did you get that? Show me!"

I follow him two aisles over. Of course, I quickly realize that he is holding the last copy. I browse the shelves anyway and almost buy HOW TO SURVIVE BEING DUMPED.

I decide against it though, and absentmindedly say out loud, "Boy, there certainly are a lot of books on relationships. I guess none of them really work!"

He chuckles, and I realize I am talking to a man who is very likely as obsessive as I about relationships. I shake my head at my own behavior, and move silently back to the recovery section. Would you believe the guy follows me?

He hands me another book on breaking the cycle of obsessive love. I glance at it, but I'm already favoring the copy of LOVE ADDICTION: OVERCOMING EMOTIONAL DEPENDENCE that I hold in my hand. I glance from one cover to the other, as if I owe him my consideration.

I act as if I'm weighing their literary merits in my hands, then I return his book to him and remark, "Thanks anyway. I've decided on this one. It's written by a woman so it is probably better anyway."

He's a little indignant when he snorts, "That's a sexist remark."

I respond innocently, "Do you think? But don't you suppose that men and women do relational obsession somewhat differently?"

He doesn't say, one way or another, what he thinks. I wish he would just give me the damn book I came for and stop being so selfish. I realize I'm talking with him, interacting with him, entertaining the idea of sitting down with him in the café and discussing at length the different ways that men and women obsess about one another.

I see us married with two kids, him telling the amazing synchronicity of our story, "Yeah, she picked me up at the bookstore. We were both buying books on love addiction."

I turn my back on this guy and walk away as fast as I can. I buy my book and leave. He doesn't follow me out to the parking lot so I consider it a good night after all.

Whew! That was a close one!

Sylvia is a self-proclaimed writer, adventurer, thinker, and spiritual seeker who lives in Western Michigan. She shares her love with her ten- year-old son and her 13-year-old Cairn Terrier; as well as a strong and varied group of wise and supportive women. She seeks ever-expanding community and invites dialogue with others who are creating their own unique visions of life through outward expression of their inner selves. Sylvia can be reached at

Lyrically || Break-Up: A Short Story About Fate ||
The Hook-Up || A Friend of Convenience

* Back to
* Cover
* Art * Columns * Inspirations * Nonfiction
* Opinions * Poetry * Song &
* Cosmic
* Letters to
the Editor
* Awards &
* About
* Write
to Us


© 1998 All Rights Reserved

Moondance Logo by Cassi Bassolino