My First Broken Heart
David Sedaris, writer

I've never gone in for clothing with writing on it. Team jackets, T-shirts kitted out with goofy slogans—I can't even bear a discreet logo. At some point, though, I must have owned a pair of pants with KICK ME embroidered in bright letters across the ass. How else to explain "M," whom I met while in my early 20s. We worked different shifts in the same small-town restaurant, and what attracted me, aside from his looks, was an unspoken guarantee that he would never return my feelings. Unlike myself, M was sexy and popular. He liked clubs and dancing, and had once gone to Studio 54 on the arm of a wallpaper designer.

I could not have fallen for anyone more unsuitable, yet still I pursued him. We slept together only twice, and when he gave me the inevitable brush-off, I acted as though he'd ended a 30-year marriage. My crying and begging were completely uncalled for, but what really shames me are the letters I sent—60 in all. Roughly amounting to five pages for every hour we spent together, they were the ravings of a certified crazy person, and I can only hope that he threw them directly into the trash can.

A broken heart is a rite of passage and, looking back, I must have wanted one pretty badly. "Kick me," I demanded, and when somebody finally did, I burst like a cheap piñata. It's been almost 30 years since I last slept with M, but sometimes, when bending to tie my shoe, I can still feel his ghostly footprint, booting me into adulthood.


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