Soccer Players Can't Cry

April 15, 2008
I should have seen the problem with our relationship a lot sooner than this. Not only did he wait to ask me out at the end of the year, but graduated that year while I was still a freshman. Also, he dated a good friend of mine, and while I transferred to a public school, he moved to England to play for Man. United. Although the distance between North Andover and Thamesmead amounts to the thousands, it still shocks and hurts me that I got dumped.
“Are you breaking up with me?!?!?!” I thought I should ask for the eightieth time. Clarity couldn’t hurt much now.
“I know this is crummy timing. It’s just that I think we need to see other people. It’s not an official breakup, I swear.” Andy contradicted.
“But…why?!?!” I kept reminding my self that soccer girls don’t cry. Okay, soccer captains don’t cry…
He hesitated on the other line. After a moment he mentioned that he met someone. Oh. Most guys that I know lie about something like that, but not Andy. Good Ol’ boyfriend (or ex-boyfriend *sniff*) refuses to lie, no matter how damaging the information is. One could not compete with that kind of sincerity. He must have sensed that too.
“Look, I really didn’t mean to hurt you at all. I’ll call tomorrow to see how you are holding up,” he promised.
At this point, I still can’t speak. I think the shock of the man I wanted to marry cutting me loose has my tongue. O r maybe the audacity of the fact that he wants to talk to me while he had a girlfriend knocks me speechless. Either way I can’t talk.
“Listen I gotta go, Elle. Elle? Elle?!”
“Yeah, tomorrow. Have a nice life, Andy.” I spat. Then I hung up, fully aware of how bitter I sound, but I didn’t care. Automatically, I walk over to the vanity mirror on the back of the bedroom door. Although I know that picking myself apart won’t make anything any better, I still ask “I look okay, right”. Granted, I didn’t come close to Adriana Lime, but at a toned 5’6” with strawberry blonde hair and aqua color eyes, I look okay, at least(right?). Regardless, he always said that he liked the way I look…
So what if it has nothing to do with appearance? What if I lack the intellect that his new girlfriend has? What if I bore him? Maybe top 10 in the class and keeping an open mind no longer suffices. All of a sudden, my stomach growls, reminding me that I hadn’t eaten all day and I was about to miss dinner.
My parents give me the standard hello when I get downstairs. However, when I don’t answer right away, my mom, of whom I am an exact replica of, sanz the eyes, scrutinizes my “disheveled” appearance (hair in a ponytail and practice uniform an hour after practice is not normal for me). Gratefully, my dad tells me that dinner is on the table, and I scamper off to go eat. Maybe sitting next to my twin, Silvia, was not the best idea if I was trying to hide the breakup. She takes one passing glance at me and says,
“So I guess he broke up with you.”
“Yeah.” I choke out.
“So did you tell him about the movie? And the England’s team deal? And since it is, you know, over, I guess you can go to prom with Tom guilt free?”
Now at that I had to laugh. Only Silvia could bounce back in such a manner that her prior commitment to the relationship gets questioned.
“I told him nothing. And as for prom, I already said yes. I assume we are both in town?”
Silvia and I play U-20 soccer for girls under 20. That means we constantly travel.
“Humph. I just wished you liked him more, Belsy. It only has to help that he is head over heals for you and he is too cute. Ooh! Maybe at the party….”
I could tell she got caught up in the fantasy she created. Silvia, by the way, has a good point. We have both known Tom since the 4th grade and he has always been a sweetheart to us both. But something happened freshman year that turned us from unattractive geeks to unattainable school socialites. Awkwardly enough, all the guys, including Tom, wanted my number. I would have dated him, too, if I did not care about out friendship. But I did, and I did not want to ruin it, so I turned him down. Most people did not know that I still like Tom, even more now that I have no boyfriend. But I was still unsure that 28 minutes was enough time to look for a new boyfriend. So the next day I had a chat with Mackenzie, my other love advisor.
“Kenz,” I began while staring at a bag of potato chips.
“What’s up Bell Z. Boy?” Kenz has her reasons for calling me a boy, I guess.
“What would you say if I start dating Tom?”
“Wait, what happened between you and Andy? You, of all people should know that retaliating like this is bad!” she accused.
“Um, well, he sort of dumped me last night.”
She blinked, not really comprehending. Like me, Kenz thinks that Andy and my relationship is invincible. Then, she gives me a bear hug.
“ I am sooo sorry, Belsy!” then she lets go. “Well, if he dumped you, then he can’t get mad if you move on. And I always said Andy was a player. See. Besides Tom is so much nicer and you two are perfect together.”
I guess she is right too. So that night, I position myself at the door so that I can greet everyone and so I grab Tom the minute he walks through the door. I guess he must have come through the back, because when I went to set my drink down, Tom was leaning against the banister, looking at me.
“Hey, can I talk to you for a minute?” he asked
“Sure. I think the stairs are free.”
So we walked upstairs and plopped down on the floor. Silence triumphed between us for a few minutes.
“Do you want to catch a movie sometime?” he blurted out.
Up until then I positively knew that I was ready to move on. At that exact moment, however, I couldn’t affirm that dating was the way to do it. So as I scramble for something to say, Silvia shows up at the bottom of the stairs.
“Someone’s here to see you,” she teases then skips away.
“Sorry,” I apologize, “I kind of have to go see who it is and what they want.”
“No problem. I guess we will talk tomorrow?” It almost sounds like he was begging. I assumed that my apprehension was due to cold feet, and that tomorrow I might be able to not look like a total dork. So I told him to call me so we can hang out tomorrow. Content with my progression, I head downstairs to explain the gathering to who I assume is the cops.
Then I wanted to die.
Because few older guys that my sister invited stand in the kitchen. Talking to Andy; the guy that dumped me. Before my stomach had the chance to drop all the way to the floor, he looks in my direction. I think he saw me, because he gave me his ‘let me explain’ smile. But I freak and run into my parents’ bedroom, possibly screaming. I sulk about the stupid circumstances for all of two minutes. Two, because Silvia found me by then.
“Um, the party is outside,” she announces.
“Andy is here,” I declare. There is no way I will have fun knowing that.
“Oh! So if you two talked why are you in here?” she questions.
“We didn’t talk.” I correct.
“I don’t understand…” but I bet she does.
“I saw him and I ran.” I confess.
“Oh. Be right back.”
Before I had a chance to disagree, she left. She was back in record time, with someone else in tow. Assuming that she walked into the wrong room; I continued to memorize my parents’ oriental rug. I didn’t even want to look when someone sat next to me on the bed. But I had to; it is human nature.
“Hi.” He said in response to my livid expression. I know what you are thinking: why didn’t you just get up and leave? Well, because Silvia locked me in the room with him. So I continued to stare angrily at him.
“Just so you know,” he began, apparently undeterred, “I didn’t really break up with you. I was really trying to surprise you. I had to do something creative, so I posed a fake break-up.”
Unable to truly comprehend what had just happened, I only understand that I still had a boyfriend. That, and the fact that the last two days was one big Punked episode, makes extremely happy.
That’s when we heard the sirens.

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