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Never too old to hurt
by Jackie K. Cooper

A few weeks ago I got a call from a friend asking me to contact him the next time I was in Atlanta. So when I knew I was going to be in that city, I gave him a ring and told him I would drop by and visit for a while.

In Atlanta on Wednesday, I called him and went by his house. He met me at the door with red eyes. As soon as I got inside and took a seat he began his sad story. It seems he and his girlfriend were over. This is a fifty-eight year old man; his girlfriend is in her late thirties. They have been keeping company for some five years now.

My friend Todd is divorced; his friend Janet has never been married. Janet is a career woman who lives in Seattle, and Todd is a retiree who lives in Atlanta. Ever since they met, locale has been an issue. She can't find a suitable position in Atlanta and he doesn't want to move to Seattle, so they have been visiting back and forth for years.

The last time he was in Seattle she broke it to him. She had found a new "friend" and she still wanted to stay friends with Todd. She even introduced Todd to her new friend Edwin. How "friendly" can you get?

My immediate reaction was that Todd was better off without her. He didn't agree. I then stressed that he certainly didn't want to stay friends with her. He didn't agree. He said he didn't think he could stand not hearing from her. (They sent a lot of e-mails.) I said he should cut it loose, wrap it up and move on. He said he still loves her.

In my mind I was thinking we are too old for these high school games. Todd was always the cool guy who never showed his emotions. His first wife always complained he was too remote and didn't seem to care about her or their kids. Now here was that same man blubbering about his lost love. It just didn't seem to fit the image I had of him.

I tried to be as comforting as I could, but I really couldn't relate to all this heartbreak. I do remember when the cheerleader and I broke up while we were both in college. I honestly couldn't believe she had dumped me. We had been together for something like six years and I thought it would go on forever. I know I was sad, but I soon bounced back and moved on.

After that I met the girl who became my wife and never had any more experience with heartbreak. I have listened to all those sad country songs about desertion and desperation but never pondered over them. Love has always been a happy thing for me, not a sad emotion.

When I left my friend's house he was still wiping his eyes. I promised I would check on him and I have. He is still down in the dumps but getting a little better with each passing day. I think he is going to make it.

What all this proves to me is that age does not protect us against feelings of loneliness, heartbreak or despair. We can still feel the same emotions at sixty that we did at sixteen. Love can lift us up or tear us down--and the game of love goes on forever.


Jackie K. Cooper was born in South Carolina and now lives in Georgia. He is the married father of two sons and the proud grandparent of a boy and a girl.

He is familiar to people living in the middle Georgia area as the "entertainment man" since his entertainment reviews run in newspapers and are shown on television there. His short stories have also been used as commentary on Georgia Public Radio.

Cooper has lived an exceptionally interesting life. Portions of it were contained in his first book JOURNEY OF A GENTLE SOUTHERN MAN. Now the journey continues in his second book titled CHANCES AND CHOICES.

Write Jackie Cooper at this e-mail address
and be sure to visit his excellent web site: jackiekcooper.com.

~Read more of Jackie's stories at USADEEPSOUTH~
Jackie White
Online Dating
Finding Your Face
In Praise of Red-Headed Girls
Fear Itself
Men and Their Automobiles
It's All About Me!
Moments of Memories
The Customer is Always Wrong
Alzheimer's: The value of humor
Greatest Generation


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