“I’ve had my share of difficult breakups,” Karen sniffed. “I don’t think I have to tell you how outrageously sexist that notion is.”

“All right then, let’s compare notes,” I said. “Tell me about your worst, most devastating breakup, and I’ll do the same. One example doesn’t make a trend, but it’ll be ‘strong qualitative evidence’ as my professor used to put it.”

Karen set her jaw. “Fine. That would have to be Aaron. He was a musician, and a poet, but it just wasn’t working out and I was leaving to come to SMU. So I talked to him on the stairs in the old house he shared, and…it was devastating. The sadness in his eyes, the way he crumpled as he sat down on the stairs…I felt like a monster.”

“You had to see the look of sadness in his eyes,” I deadpanned. “That’s it? O tragic tale that hath such sadness in it. How did you ever survive a sad and reproachful glance from a person you were breaking up with?”

“I just told you how badly it affected me,” Karen shot back, her eyes burning.

I took a deep breath. “Okay, first of all: it can’t be a bad breakup if you’re the one doing the breaking. Have you ever even been the dumpee and not the dumper?”

“Well, sometimes it was a mut-”

I nodded smugly. “I didn’t think so. I, on the other hand, have never been the dumper, and I think my best breakup was worse than your worst. Want to hear some real angst?”

Karen, continuing to glare, didn’t say anything. She beckoned for me to continue with a sarcastic hand gesture.

“First: Camilla. She decided that the best way to break up would be to agree to every date I proposed and then just not show up, with the coup de grace being when she finally showed up…with someone else.”

“Maybe she-”

“Second,” I said, counting the instances off on my fingers. “Beck. She sent me a Dear John. In the form of a MySpace message. From her new boyfriend’s account, or rather his shitty emo band’s account. The best part is that I’m the one who took her to one of their shows in the first place hoping to impress her.”

“Well, if your music tast-”

“Third.” I was pressing a bit too hard, maybe, but there was no stopping in the heat of a passionate argument. “Steph. Turns out she was still carrying a torch for her ex. She ditched me for him. At the mall. They ran into each other randomly, I have it on good authority that they made out in the food court’s family bathroom, and then left together. I combed the mall for two hours before she deigned to text me. From his cell phone.”

Karen was silent, one eyebrow cocked. “You about finished there, Mr. Lonelyhearts? Maybe, if you like, we could have an actual discussion without all the emotional hand grenades you’re throwing. Or are we done here?”

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