Amanda Leduc ♿️ Profile picture
May 18, 2018 70 tweets 17 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
OKAY, OKAY, FINE, I WILL TWEET THE BROKEN-HEARTED CRUSH LETTER. But first, we'll need some backstory...
2/ It is 2008, & I live in Edinburgh. I work at a Blackwell's Bookshop, on the 2nd floor. My job is to order academic texts for the store. I am okay at it, not great. One afternoon, I'm working at the counter beside this lovely young chap named Greg. We are bantering, as we do.
3/ Then, suddenly, the cutest, sexiest blonde walks up to the counter. She's wearing a black leather jacket and has a motorcycle helmet under her arm.
4/ She plops her books on the counter. Greg is all over her, instantly. "I've always liked Scooby," he says. (She's getting comics.) He says something else to her, but the Motorcycle Blonde isn't having it. Instead, she looks only at me. "Do *you* like Scooby Doo?" she says.
5/ And this weird flush washes over me from head to toe. She's flirting, I know it. But also, she can't be. Right? People don't flirt with me. I am not the kind of person people notice. That's just how it goes. So I stare at the counter and mumble something. "Kind of," I say.
6/ Greg keeps on chattering beside us. My heart is pounding and I don't know what to say, so I say nothing. Motorcycle Blonde smiles at me, takes her bag, and leaves. She disappears down the stairs and I almost run after her, but do not.
7/ Then Greg turns to me. "She fancied you," he says. And I'm like, "SHIT. FUCK DAMN SHIT." And then I do, actually, run down the stairs and out the main door entrance.
8/ But, alas, the Motorcycle Blonde is gone. She has vroom-vroomed out of my existence, out of my life. I curse myself a hundred ways as I climb back up the stairs.
9/ So naturally, I spend the next however-many-weeks working and hoping that the Motorcycle Blonde will return. She does not. I am filled with despair. I will die lonely and alone and unloved, and soever shall it be, amen.
But then, several weeks later, because I am That Kind of person and grew up in That Kind of Age, I remember that tool beloved of shy people and creeps everywhere: the Missed Connection. In Edinburgh, at that time, you could post in the MC section of @gumtree. Which I did.
11/ (Of note here is the fact that the Missed Connections section had worked for me once before already, several years prior, when I was living in Victoria. So I had faith that it might work out.)
12/ Lo and behold, about two weeks or so after posting I get an email in my inbox, and it's from the Motorcycle Blonde. SHE FOUND ME. OBVIOUSLY WE ARE DESTINED TO BE MARRIED.
13/ Anyway, the MB is just as hip and interesting in her letters as I thought she might be. She has a house in Edinburgh but lives in Brighton, where she goes to school. She's vegan. We strike up a correspondence, and talk to each other for weeks. It is the highlight of my day.
14/ One day, the MB informs me that she is coming back to Edinburgh (I think it was for reading week, can't remember now for sure) and invites me over for dinner with her friends. As it turns out, we have a couple of mutual acquaintances--Edinburgh isn't that big.
15/ So she comes home, we meet, I meet more of her friends, we have a great time, and then I leave her with her friends because I am still awkward and even though this is great I am beginning to wonder if I have misunderstood and she is actually, seriously, only being chummy?
16/ A few more weeks go by. The MB returns to Brighton, we return to our daily emails. She tells me about her exes, one of whom is from Spain and has an allergy to animal protein and is basically her idea of the perfect woman. 16/
17/ THEN, just before Christmas, she messages me on Messenger (#nostalgia) with her plans to return home to Arran (where her family lives) for the holidays. "I'm jealous!" I write. "Jealous?" she says. "Don't be jealous. Come over!"
18/ And, uh, reader--I do. Me. ME. I book a train ticket to Glasgow and then a ferry ride over to Arran then when the time comes I get onto the train and go.
19/ The entire way there, I'm practically shaking with excitement and anticipation. I've never done anything like this before. I mean, sure, she talks about her ex all of the time but she *invited* me over, right? FOR DAYS. TO SLEEP OVER. DOESN'T THAT MEAN SOMETHING?
20/ So anyway, I arrive on the island. The MB picks me up in her motorcycle and we ride back to her mother's house. I hate motorcycles and am terrified the whole way. I even, I'll admit, close my eyes for a large portion of the ride.
21/ And we get back to her house and she introduces me to her mother and her mother's partner and we have a lovely dinner and then the MB and I go for a long walk in the woods and the stars come out and I can hear the faint whisper of waves on the beach and...nothing happens.
22/ We get home, still talking, and then say goodnight. I sleep downstairs on the pullout couch. The MB sleeps upstairs. The next day, we go for more long walks. I bring my camera, she brings her camera and the family dog. We talk. That is all we ever do. Nothing happens.
23/ (I'm not exactly sure what I expected to happen, tbh--we were in *her mother's house*--but oh, it felt so romantic at the time. Such a rush, and then such a slow fall as I began to realize what was going on.)
24/ We have a lovely, chaste, friendly time on Arran. Then we take the train back to Edinburgh together. It's New Year's Eve, and she has plans to celebrate #Hogmanay with her friends, so we part ways at the train station, and i go home and cry.
25/ Because yes, ladies and gents, I am firmly in the Friend Zone. I have always been in the Friend Zone with the MB. 'Twas always thus, 'twas never otherwise. I will die lonely and unloved. It is written.
26/ But the MB writes back in the new year, asks how my NY's Eve went. She is friendly and chatty as ever, and will be in Edinburgh for some time. Shall we go for coffee? she asks. Sure, I reply. Why not.
27/ So we strike up our correspondence again, and go for coffee and lunch and occasionally to see movies with another one of her exes. She is bright and chipper and I am dying inside.
28/ And, guys, the death builds. IT BUILDS. It grows inside of me until I can taste it. I don't know what to do, what to say. I am madly in love with this girl. But she is not in love with me. Or maybe she is? Maybe she's toying with me? PLEASE TOY WITH ME, MB. I AM UP FOR IT.
29/ But instead of confronting her like a normal person & saying all of this out loud--I really like you, do you like me, I feel like you're flirting and I don't know what to do AND IT IS DRIVING ME UP. THE. WALL-- I instead opt for the writer's route and send her an email.
30/ (Side note: my heart is still pounding in pre-humiliation panic.)
31/ I start the letter, predictably, by talking about the weather. It is a lovely summer's night in Edinburgh. I have just returned from a cup of tea at the Dalriada Pub with a friend. (I have recently moved to my own apartment, by the beach.)
32/ I have so much more space in this new house, I tell her. Space in which to stop and think and take stock of my life and what I want. And what I want, with regards to the MB, is perhaps to disappear from her life for a while.
33/ "I'm in love with you," I say. "And basically, I just can’t spend anymore time with you, and send emails back and forth, and listen to you talk about how beautiful all of these other people are, and how your heart may or may not be breaking because of them."
34/ "I thought I could handle it – this is not, after all, something I’m unused to. I am forever the sensible friend who offers advice on innumerable romantic situations. I’ve also been the sensible, secretly-and-not-so-secretly-in-love friend before, and I’m just…tired of it."
35/ "Most people do not place an ad in the ‘Missed Connections’ section on Gumtree because they’re looking for platonic friends and witty email banter. I certainly didn’t. And yes, I knew from the beginning that it was a long shot. I wasn't even sure if you were gay."
36/ "But try as hard as I could, I couldn’t forget you. Part of it was b/c of the novel, & the fact that you are exactly what I pictured when I dreamt that girl up." (<<< VERY IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: The MB looked *exactly* like how I'd described a character in one of my books.)
37/ "I did not really stop to think, at the time, that maybe you answered the ad because you thought it was interesting, that you kept up the emails on such a regular basis because it was just unusual to have met a friend this way."
38/ "And while I wasn’t sure, that night after your dinner party, whether romance was in fact in the future, the invitation to Arran suggested it in a huge way."
39/ (SIDE NOTE NO. 308: This whole situation was not helped by the fact that the few people I talked to were firmly convinced of the situation’s romantic potential. "People only ask people on island getaways like this if they are a) close family, or b) someone they want to bone.)
40/ "So we had those days in Arran, and it was lovely, and then I went home and cried and tried to settle for a friendship. But every time we met you were talking about someone else who'd broken your heart."
41/ "And you were doing it so callously. To be perfectly honest--I don't want to be one of those people that you talk about so flippantly."
42/ "Part of the reason I get so worked up about this is because I’m angry, at least a little, at how easily I’m slicing my heart in half over someone who doesn’t seem to be giving hearts the attention they deserve, even when people put them in your keeping."
43/ "And no, it’s not your fault if someone misinterprets signals and gets all misty-eyed and mushy. No, you have no responsibility, on the face of it, to expect to care for a heart if you didn’t even ask for it."
44/ "But you can’t expect to be a good person, and try for more honesty (like you've talked about in the past), and then think you can mess with people and not have to answer for it in some type of way."
45/ "Aside from the rather obvious fact that you don’t seem to have ever thought of me in a romantic way, it doesn’t seem to be a case you’d consider anyway. You're in Brighton, I'm up here. You're not moving back, I'm not moving down."
46/ "You are a crazy vegan activist who goes for girls with dark hair and European accents, and I am a quasi-meat eater with a North American twang who is only about 50% gay." (<<< Favourite line of the whole letter right here, folks.)
47/ "And still, I wonder. I think about moving to France with you. I dream about days spent baking & reading books & staying in bed. I wonder about Montreal, and fantasize about a day in the future when I am maybe doing a PhD and you suddenly arrive at my door."
48/ "But I can’t help it. I see your name in my inbox and my stomach gives a horrid little lurch. The Motorcycle Blonde! The Motorcycle Blonde has written me! Same with your letters. I go to open them and I am supremely happy for all of about two minutes."
49/ "And then I think that I am an idiot to be wasting romantic energy where it obviously isn’t wanted, and that I need to grow up and move on and stop pining over people who remain blissfully oblivious over how much I hurt." LIFE LESSON, PEOPLE. I STILL HAVEN'T LEARNED IT.
50/ "I am terribly good at falling for ideas, and the whole meet-in-a-bookstore and look-like-a-character-in-my-novel bit was an idea of the worst kind. I should have let it go. You walked out of that bookstore & I wasn’t quick enough, & that should have been that."
51/ "When, two months later, the impossible happened, I shldn’t have allowed myself to get caught up in everything. I shld have listened more to the voice that whispered maybe you were just the kind of person who took up random acquaintances because hey, they could be fun."
52/ "But I didn’t listen, and I didn’t let go. I went all the way along for the ride, & now here we are. I don’t regret anything. But I also don’t want to keep hoping, in my tiny, ridiculous, naïve kind of way."
53/ "And every single time I see your name in my Inbox, or get a letter in the post, hope springs anew. Every time I see you, or get a letter from you, I feel like my heart gets smaller. As though it sheds layers when you’re around."
54/ "But the thing is: I like having you in my life. A lot. And because I value your friendship as much as I do, I didn’t want to fade away without telling you about it. So instead I wrote a huge stupid email. A huge, stupid, in many ways potentially terrible email."
(Side note No. 439: it's actually not as ridiculous an email as I feared. I mean, it's ridiculous, but mostly just in an "Oh, young Amanda" kind of way. I'm feeling all tender toward Young Me and her soft heart...)
56/ "I am just…trying to be proactive. Taking responsibility for my own heart. It’s been months since we wrote on a regular basis & I am much better during those in-between times, when I can concentrate on my life here & not wonder if I'll have the chance to speak to MB today."
57/ "It won’t be forever. It might not even be that long. Maybe I’ll cave in a few weeks’ time and write to see how things are going as you make your way across the States." (Side note: it *was* forever, more or less.)
58/ "I want you to be happy, of course. But I want even more for you to be happy with *me*. Even though I’ve never had a relationship with a woman & am a whole country away and blah blah blah -- innumerable reasons why not."
59/ "And I can’t sit here right now and say that I am glad that you are happy with your lovely person, because … I’m not. And that thought makes me feel very small, and I just want to be rid of it. Rid of everything."
60/ "I’ve weighed & weighed this. Even now, I think abt erasing all of the above & sending you a cheery bon voyage email, where I ask you to send lots of pictures and tell me abt your adventures. Where I pretend, as usual, that nothing is wrong. But it's hard, pretending."
61/ "Would you continue to pretend, if this was you? Or would you think it worthwhile to cut ties for a time, to recoup and rethink, and maybe reconnect a few months down the line? What would you do if it was your own heart you were trying to protect?"
62/ "I'm not telling you this because I think you have to take any kind of responsibility for how I feel. Like I said – you are not to blame if other people decide they want to put their hearts in your keeping." (BUT YOU ARE, THO. BE GENTLE WITH HEARTS PPL, FOR GOD'S SAKE.)
63/ "And, as much as my little heart might be sore over this, I wouldn’t chose to do anything differently. (I don’t actually know if I’m capable of doing things differently, but then, that is another story altogether.)" <<< UPDATE: I AM NOT CAPABLE OF DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY.
64/ "I have stories to tell, and I have had these months with you in at least one kind of capacity, and that has been a huge gift." IT'S FINE, MB, I'LL WRITE ABOUT THIS ONE DAY. IT'LL BE WORTH IT, I SWEAR.
65/ "I hope I haven’t offended you. I hope very much that you can understand. And of course, if you have things to say in response, say them. Don't hold back for fear of what I might think."
66/ "My heart might be sore, but I’ll survive. It is The Little Heart That Could … sooner or later, it will come round. I’ve no doubt." <<< The End.
67/ We poked around each other online for a little while--a year?--after this. She got married to the girl from Sweden. I suspect they're living some blissful vegan life in Europe, driving motorcycles around & basically just being romantically European everywhere they go.
Final thoughts: it wasn't such a terrible letter after all. Some of it (I didn't tweet the whole thing, because kindness) was actually written very well. Ah, the Motorcycle Blonde. It's been ages since I thought about her. What a crazy time.
(The puppy does not care about the broken-hearted antics of my youth and is Very Put Out that her afternoon walk has been delayed for an hour while I searched for GIFs. Time to walk off all the old memories...)
unroll, please. 😊

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More from @AmandaLeduc

May 27, 2018
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Before I go any further, I want to give a shout-out to @depalm @eatonhamilton @BergBronwyn & @AddyPottle, who speak about and draw attention to this ableism every day. I am constantly in awe of their strength and brilliance. Thank you, my friends, for your words. 2/
There has been a lot of talk in recent times about the accessibility (or inaccessibility) of venues where literary events are being held. Questions around what constitutes an accessible space, what people believe to be an accessible space, etc. 3/
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