I’m participating in The Scintilla Project for the second year. It’s pretty much amazing.

Prompt: Tell a story about something interesting (anything!) that happened to you, but tell it in the form of an instruction manual.



1. Realize your only required class to graduate college is third level Spanish. Know your chances of passing are minimal without some serious tutoring. Ask a slightly intimidating but gorgeous Spanish major friend for help.

2. Spend a summer in a college town drinking cheap wine, watching Buffy, and having amazing sex with a friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-uhaul.

3. Move into a cute studio when the girlfriend leaves for Spain to study abroad for a year. Take 20 credit hours to graduate in December, and to try and not pay attention to how terribly sad you are.

4. Graduate, move to Colorado, realize that skiing doesn’t replace human contact. Find a cheap (round trip) plane ticket to Spain and feel very adult about going to Europe without asking anyone for permission.

5. Spend 10 hours in a cramped coach seat. Arrive in Spain, kiss the girl, realize nothing has changed. Revel in holding hands in the sunshine and walking along the water.

6. Tell the girl that you love her. Watch her face fall as she turns away from you. Hear nothing but silence for the next two days.

7. Call your brother while pacing in front of a hostel. Hear brother tell you go to the train station and book an overnight train to   anywhere, else. Go back to the apartment, ask the girl for directions to the train station. Be shocked as she actually accompanies you and acts enthusiastic about your leaving.

barca train station

8. Book a train ticket to Paris. Get a glorious night of sleep in a second class sleeper car. Find a Dominican church in Paris. Walk through the abandoned cloister and spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Go out to dinner with an ex who knew us both and happened to be living in the 13th.


9. Board an overnight train to Lourdes. Spend the night in a cramped seat, now painfully aware of the difference between second class and second class sleeper. Sit up very straight when the French police come on and check passports the next morning.

10. Spend two hours walking around in circles after getting lost in Lourdes. Finally find the Lourdes Best Western(!) and collapse for 15 hours. Trade emails with your friends at home, finally admitting how bad things have gotten. Think about suicide for not the first or the last time.

11. Immerse your whole body in the waters of Lourdes. Walk out into the sunshine and tell yourself that you might actually survive losing her. Regain some faith in your ability to survive. Remember you came to Lourdes for healing.

12. Spend three days searching for peace and only finding calm. Gain some of your appetite back. Have a kind bartender making you hot water with lemon and honey when you start crying during lunch.


13. Go back to Paris. Remind yourself why things didn’t work with the ex, but still rely on her for friendship and comfort.

14. Get on a train to Barcelona with some dread and some hope. Realize as soon as you get back that nothing has changed and it’s still over.

15. Fly back to Colorado and try not to think about either of the women you just left in Europe.

…. realize, all these years later, why I haven’t let myself fall for another female, and that maybe it’s time to let go of the heartbreak.


8 thoughts on “How to: Learn to Love Again

  1. Oh, love. This was so sad and so honest. And brave. And yes, heartbreak is something that fights to stay but it’s not worth it. Love, on the other hand, most definitely is ♥

  2. Ouch. Heartbreak never ceases to sting, sometimes years later… but I love the Europe trip you got out of it. Do not forget to appreciate that. 😉

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