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On the way to the party (the one he’d extended with a half-invitation), we crawled under a dormant train.  I remembered being six years old in the small town where my mother grew up called Wicks, Arkansas.  The 300 residents of Wicks live around railroad tracks that divide the town in half.  During summer visits to my grandparents, I would cross the railroad tracks on my daily run to EZ Mart for candy cigarettes.  I often stopped to balance a penny on one of the tracks in anticipation of a train’s arrival, knowing what would happen when the two met.  And every time, I delighted when the train’s wheels flattened the coin before tossing it aside into the rocky dirt for me to search for later.  All traces of Abe vanished.

Thirty years later, after safely navigating the train’s underbelly, I joked about what a hairbrained idea taking that route was.  We laughed and remarked that had we died while crawling under the train, our friends and families would be so confused by our uncharacteristic showing of stupidity.  With four university degrees between us, we were much smarter than that.  I told him that our story would have been at the top of the Darwin Awards for sure.

So now, two weeks after he dumped me and an hour after I finished reading the book titled, Men Who Can’t Love – How to Recognize a Commitmentphobic Man Before he Breaks Your Heart, I know that I do in fact belong at the top of a list—the Darwin Dating Awards list—for thinking we would work out.

My story would read something like this:

Penny on a Train Track

2010 Darwin Dating Award Nominee (a brillion votes)

(24 May 2010, Texas)  Munday, 36, had known Pipsqueak (name has been changed to protect the perpetrator’s anonymity) for three years when she finally decided to give in to his advances.  He had been throwing himself at her (and undoubtedly countless other women) since the day they met.  For years she never took him seriously for various reasons:  he had to stand on his tip toes to hug her when she was wearing boots, he had nine decorative pillows on his bed and seven on the guest bed, plus, his longest relationship at 38, had been for just two months.  One day, she let her guard down for various similar reasons:  turns out she preferred to wear flip flops over boots anyway, she saw a show on the Home and Garden Network in which decorative pillows for men actually looked pretty cool, and she thought it seemed perfectly reasonable that every girl he had dated before her was a crazy nutjob looneybag.  So when they started dating, she ignored that he only let her come around certain friends, took a hiatus of at least two days between most dates, and would never refer to her as his girlfriend.  At three months into relationship he bailed.  He “didn’t want to be in a committed relationship.”  She was devastated.  She felt flattened and lay lifeless in her bed for weeks.  She felt tossed aside and cried on the phone to her friends for hours.  She felt helpless and like all traces of her self-trust, self-love, and self-esteem had vanished.  She felt like an idiot.  She felt so stupid.  And worst of all, she felt like she should have known better.


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