Cher Helps Liz Wagner Mend Her Broken Heart
by Liz Wagner
High school graduation brought with it the end of many things: long waits in hot lunch lines, crammed lockers, gym class and my first love. I had been dating the same guy throughout high school, and like the youngsters we were, we thought it would last forever. But school was over and decisions had to be made. He was going off to college in Michigan, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Even with all the uncertainty, one thing I was sure of was that I needed some time, at least a few months, to “find myself.” In order to do that, I needed to distance myself from everything, basically from my life as I knew it. I decided to make some big changes like taking a year off before starting college, moving out of my parents’ house, and the big one: leaving my boyfriend. It was such a hard decision, because he was a great guy, but, like Guns N’ Roses sings, “Sometimes I need some time on my own.”
The day I got the courage to tell him our time together was over, I packed up all the stuff I had of his: his high school ring, some CD’s and a shirt he’d left at my house. It was a beautiful summer day. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, the grass was green and the birds were chirping. Perfect for a drive through the country – he lived just outside of Wausau. The beauty of the day almost made me forget my heartbreaking mission.
Our goodbye that day was the last time we spoke. He was upset with me–not surprisingly–and wasn’t exactly interested in pursuing a friendship. After all, we had promised ourselves to each other, and often talked about our future. We had planned on going to college together, raising a family and even growing old with each other. And although he was sure of his life path, I was too mixed up about mine to follow through with our “plan.”
As I drove away down the dusty road (yeah, it was literally dusty), Cher’s “Believe” came on the radio. I don’t usually listen to pop rock, but maybe the gods had something to tell me that afternoon. I cranked up the volume, rolled down my window, stepped on the gas and took the long way home – past the VanDerGeest dairy farms and through the ginseng fields that dot western Marathon County. I sang out loud at the top of my lungs (although I didn’t know all the words) and cried my eyes out.
When Cher sang “Do you believe in life after love? I really don’t think you’re strong enough,” I felt like she was singing directly to my seventeen-year-old heart. I didn’t know if I would be strong enough, and I had no idea what the future held. But I knew one thing for sure – if Cher could find life after love, then damn it, so could I!