When Your Heart Is Breaking (first verse)


Rue sat at his computer, searching through the posts on the message board. God, I am so tired, he thought. I really should just go to bed. He'd gotten home from work about an hour ago. Sophie would be up any time now. But his mom was going to watch her. He really needed to get a few hours of sleep before his ten o'clock class. His mom was never too happy to have to get up early if Rue was still up. It was like, well, if you're here, you should be watching her. She's your daughter.

Just a few minutes more, then he'd hit the sack. He knew as soon as he turned the computer off, she'd post. Then he wouldn't be able to talk to her until this afternoon. And he really, really wanted to talk to her. "C'mon. C'mon." He muttered under his breath. "Please, say something."

There it was. She had just posted in a thread titled "More Harry Potter One-liners." No wonder it took him so long to find her. He wasn't really into Hogwarts and Dumbledore.

Hey, Rider! What's up this morning? [/I}It was like a little game - her posting in some obscure thread, him trying to locate her.

He quickly hit the post reply button. Not much. How're things with you? Pretty lame, but definitely neutral. He liked to start out casual. He hit submit and sent it off into cyberspace.

O.K. It's been pretty quiet around here all day. Talked to my mom on the phone.

Her mom. Let's see - her mom had been ill, about a week ago? Not enough time to check the file where he stored all her messages. How's she doing? That was vague enough.

Oh fine. She's back home. Dad's happy. He can't cook worth a darn.

She never swore, at least, not on-line. Rue wondered if she was really religious. That was a tricky subject to get into, especially when all your words could be saved, to be used against you at a later date. God, I think I'm getting paranoid, he thought. Two failed realtionships in one year will do it to you.

He typed What did you do today? Did you make it to the zoo? He glanced over at the photo of Sophie sitting in its pink and blue frame by the monitor. He was holding her in his arms, just a tiny baby then. I should get a more recent shot, he thought. I should take her to the zoo, when it gets warmer.

No. It rained most of the day. Aaron has a cold and his mom didn't want me to take him.

Aaron was the little boy she looked after. At least, that was the name she used when she talked about him. It was probably not his real name, what with so many weirdoes on the web. You could never be too careful.

Too bad. What did you do instead? Rue rested his chin in his hand, his elbow propped on the table. He was so tired. These past few days, he had been hard pressed to understand exactly what compelled him to keep messaging with her, this semi-anonymous female who used the name "BlackElfGirl". During the day, and into his long, tiring nights, he would think about her, wondering if she was black, where she lived, how old she was, whether she was married or had a boyfriend, did she go to school, why did she keep posting messages to him. Was she really a girl? Could be it was some narly old dude who got his jollies by posing as a chick in cyberland. But, there was absolutley no sexual content in their messages. Couldn't be - it was a "family-friendly" site. So Rue was pretty sure she was at least female.

Oh, the usual. Played cars. Watched a movie. Read books. He's starting to read some so he likes to try to read to me. It's so cute.

Cute. Now, would that be a word used more by a teenager? Someone in their twenties? Thirties? Forties - God, he hoped not. He was always on the alert for clues by which he could deduce more about her. Of course, he could come right out and ask. She might be willing to tell him, or tell him whatever she wanted to tell him. People said whatever they wanted about themselves on the internet. You never knew what the truth was.

*******************************

Rue thought about how, two weeks ago, he had not given much thought to the reply that had been posted in response to his new thread, "Poll - songs for when your heart is breaking" The morning before, he had been sitting in front of the computer, as usual, cup of coffee in his hand, rehashing in his head the argument he had the night before with Clarissa. It was the beginning of the end with Clarissa, he had sensed it this time. At least he wasn't completely blind-sided as he had been with Jill. And after what happened with Jill, he had been much more cautious about making a big emotional investment. So, his heart wasn't truly breaking over the impending break up with Clarissa. He was just down, wondering if the threads of his life were ever going to come back together. Well, you're the one who took the knife to them, dude, that obnoxious little voice in his head reminded him.

I've never had a broken heart - yet- but I love the song "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. It makes me wish I felt so intensely about someone, even if it might result in alot of pain.

Reading the post over again, Rue began to wonder about the author. It must be someone fairly young never to have had a broken heart. Well, maybe that just depended on your definition of a broken heart. Rue actually counted on his fingers - he could think of at least three women, girls, who had broken his heart. And he was only twenty. Maybe he was too sensitive. He looked at the post again, wondering about the author. Male or female? Well, the user name was definitely female. He clicked on the profile. No information there. Being careful, no doubt. So, perhaps a female old enough to use caution? But weren't all young girls having it hammered into their heads nowadays not to give out personal information over the Net? He jumped back to the thread. I love the song. Love - guys didn't "love" songs, did they? That sounded just like what a girl would say. And that second sentence - the word choice and structure seemed very . . . like someone trying to sound more mature than they really were? Hmmmm . . . It was hard to say. Young, old, male, female. It didn't really matter. Except he really liked Iris too.

He had typed Yeah. I like it too. "And I'd give up forever to touch you Cause I know that you feel me somehow You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be And I don't want to go home right now And all I can taste is this moment And all I can breathe is your life And sooner or later it's over I just don't want to miss you tonight" It would be nice to feel that way. Pushing submit, he had looked at the clock, knowing he had to get to bed.

The next morning, he had noticed that BlackElf Girl had posted again. Haven't you ever felt that way? If you never felt so in love, how could you have a broken heart?

Well, that was a good question. Let's see. He typed I guess it depends on your perspective. I have to admit, I'm in the beginnings of a break up right now, but, no, I'm not suffering from a broken heart. But I have in the past. At least, that's the way I felt at the time. Still do. Why? Do you think your heart can only break if you love so deeply, like in the song? He hit submit and rubbed his eyes. This was too much thinking for so early in the morning and so little sleep. He moved on to checking the RP he was in and was about to log off when he noticed the latest post in the Choir Of Eru. It was in his thread, posted by BlackElfGirl.

Clicking on the thread link, he read I don't know. seems to me your heart can only really break once, right? Then it's broken for all eternity. There's no way to put it back together is there? Like I said, can't speak from personal experience. Just musing.

O.K. BlackElf Girl was definitely a girl. Only a girl would write like that. Or maybe a gay guy. Or . . . well, it didn't make any difference. Just another TORC geek, like me, he thought. Maybe Clarissa was right. Maybe he needed to get a life. Wait a minute. He did have a life - it was just in a state of utter chaos at the moment. Maybe posting on a messageboard was all he could handle at the moment. It was becoming painfully obvious that he couldn't maintain a RL relationship. Yeah. It would definitely be great to find someone to care about like in Iris.

"Daddy! Daaaaaaddy!" Sophie was funny. two and a half years old, and she still hadn't realized she could hop up out of her bed and walk into his bedroom. Every morning, she'd call out, her little voice getting louder and louder until he came in to her. Of course, most mornings it was his mom, sometimes dad, that got her up. Rue stood up, stretching, and went in to her. "Daddy, Daddy. Daddy." As she held out her arms to him, he noticed her upper lip and cheeks were smeared with blood. Bright red blood was trickling out of her nose.

"Oh, baby. Not again." He picked her up, carrying her into the bathroom. She wriggled and pushed his hand away as he tried to stop the bleeding with a wad of kleenex. The harder he tried, the harder she struggled, making it bleed even more. Within a minute, there was blood everywhere, all over her face, her hands, her nightshirt, his hands, even his uniform shirt. His one clean uniform shirt. "Oh, please, Sophie. Stop wriggling so much. Stay still and let Daddy see your nose."

"Nose! Nose!" Sophie said exuberantly, patting Rue's nose.

"Yes. that's my nose, sweetie. Now let Daddy see your nose."

"Rue, is anything the matter." His mom poked her head in the door. Already dressed, she was obviously ready for Sophie to wake up.

"It's her nose again. Another nose bleed. I can't get her to stay still long enough for me to make it stop."

"Another one?" his mom asked, distressed. "Did you remember to use those saline drops on her last night before you went to work?"

Rue sighed. "No. Guess I forgot." He didn't bother to add 'again', and his mother kindly refrained from shaking her head in that exasperating way she had. "Got any ideas?" he asked, deftly changing the subject.

"Well, dear." she said, throwing a towel over her shoulder and reaching for the child. "As I already told you, I don't remember you or your sister having nosebleeds at this age. I turned on the humidifier when I put her to bed." I did my part, being the unspoken implication. "Here, let me have her. Come to Noni, my little rosebud." When Rue had become a father at eighteen, and his mother a grandmother at the ripe old age of thirty-nine, she had absolutely refused to be referred to as "Grandma" or any known variation thereof. She had come up with the sobriquet 'Noni' and as Sophie began to talk, she had taught her little granddaughter to call her by this unusual petname."I'll take her downstairs and try to distract her with something to eat. It looks like it's already stopping." Rue examined his daughter's nose and wasn't sure he saw any visible signs of the nosebleed diminishing. But he was tired and his mom was willing to take over. "You better get to bed, Rupert. You spend too much time on that computer. You need sleep." It was always Rupert when she felt she had something of importance to impart to her son.

Rue nodded, too tired to argue. He went back into his bedroom, noticing his screensaver had kicked in, Eowyn's hair and gown blowing in the wind on the steps of Meduseld. Moving the mouse, he thought sleepily, maybe Black Elf Girl looks like Miranda Otto. No, if she's an elf, she must look like Liv Tyler. He smiled at that one, and was about to log out when he had the urge to write something totally ludicrous to this elf girl who thought she knew so much about broken hearts. He hit the reply button and typed Hey, BEG, do you know how to stop a two year old's nose bleeds? There. Maybe she needed to learn a little bit about reality. Like being a single dad at the age of twenty. And going to college. And working. And having to move back in with your parents so your kid wasn't taken away by social services. Flopping down on his bed, the last thought which ran through his mind was that he needed to wash the blood out of his shirt so he could wear it tonight to work. Sleep overcame him as he unbuttoned the first button.

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