Here's a great breakup story from Bobbie Pyron, debut author of The Ring. Leave a comment and win a signed copy!
It wasn't the first time I'd slashed someone's tires. I sat hunched beside one of his back rear tires and flicked open my Swiss Army Knife. I pushed the point against the rubber, took a deep breath and closed my eyes.
This was my first time in Mill Creek Canyon since he'd broken up with me back in the fall. He'd said those four putrid words, “I need some space.” Those words were quickly followed by that equally putrid, useless phrase, “It's not you, it's me. You're great.” Right. I sat beside him on the muddy bank of a stream in Mill Creek Canyon, every word he uttered to the sky a knife in my heart. The words to a Christine Lavin song looped over and over in my head. If you want space, move to Utah... And here we were. I couldn't breath and every part of me was flying away in a million little pieces.
Of course, I should have seen it coming. I'd spent the last six months of our one-year-old relationship convincing him he could indeed love someone other than himself. He'd call me at work and have these long, rambling discussions with himself about how he was probably incapable of love. I'd grit my teeth, twist and untwist the phone cord and calmly, rationally point out to him all the ways he had shown love. We'd eventually hang up, the relationship in tact. It was like talking a jumper off the roof. Still, he often declared to me and his friends that he wanted to go live in the wilderness with no contact with the modern world in a house the size of a storage shed. Kind of like the Unibomber.
So after we broke up, I went into therapy and stayed away from Mill Creek Canyon. I missed the brilliant changing of the aspen leaves and the long winter of skiing the canyon road. Staying away from it like staying away from the best part of my self.
Instead, I sat on my therapist's couch once a week and cried. I wrote poetry, some bad some not too bad. I dreamed violent dreams, disturbing dreams. My therapist particularly liked the one in which I was some kind of wild canid—wolf, or fox, or coyote—who broke into his house, disemboweled his prized leather couch and peed on his bed. She said I was making progress.
Now the summer sun warmed my back as I sat hunched behind his rear left tire. I'd finally decided it was time to reclaim that canyon that meant so much to me. I was finally strong enough. So of course, life being the comical thing that it is, his car was in the parking lot of my favorite Mill Creek trailhead. I about choked the life out of my steering wheel as I sat there staring at his car and saying over and over, “damn, damn, damn.” I felt the familiar beginnings of a major anxiety attack coming on.
My dog yipped, pawed at the car door to get out. She was so happy to be back in the canyon—our canyon!
I scanned the trails from the parking lot. He could be anywhere up there. He'd probably been coming and going in this canyon for months without a thought, without memory as a knife in the heart.
I placed the point of my knife against the rubber of his tire. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes. Centering my weight behind my knife hand and locking my arms, I pushed. The knife went into the almost-bald tires easy as sliced bread. He'd always been a cheap SOB. Air escaped the tire with a satisfying hiss. I performed the same ritual on one of the front tires, then whistled up my dog, and got back in the car.
As we drove down canyon for a different trailhead, I thought about how satisfying that hiss had been. Almost as good as peeing on his bed. I didn't know when his tires would actually deflate. It might take two hours or two days. It didn't matter. I'd left my mark. The canyon was mine again. It wasn't the first time I'd slashed someone's tires, but it would be the last.
About Bobbie Pyron
Bobbie lives and writes in Park City, Utah. She's the author of The Ring (Westside Books) as well as the middle-grade novel A Dog's Way Home (Katherine Tegen Books, Spring 2011). Find out more at: www.bobbiepyron.com.
Here's a the book trailer for The Ring:
If you'd like to win a signed copy of The Ring by Bobbie Pyron, tell me whether you could ever get angry enough at an ex to slash his or her tires. Contest ends Wednesday, January 20th and is open to anyone, anywhere in the world. Please leave your contact information.
If you're in Utah, Bobbie and I will be signing books Saturday, January 17th at the Murray Barnes & Noble.