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  • Kristan Higgins

Being dumped

Updated: May 4, 2022

Nora! He's a jerk! Dump him!

Nora! He’s a jerk! Dump him!

In the opening chapter of NOW THAT YOU MENTION, Nora Stuart, M.D., finds herself in an emergency room, not as a doctor, but as a patient this time. She’s been hit by a van from Beantown Bug Killers, a pest control company, and thinks she’s probably dead. I mean, all signs point to dying. She saw a light (CAT scan) and feels floaty (pain meds plus concussion). As she considers which outfit would look best for the open casket, she hears her boyfriend flirting with another woman. Over her corpse (well, not really, but that’s what she thinks, anyway). Suffice it to say, their relationship comes to a grinding halt.

Which brings me to my own best breakup story: John of the Rock, as my plotting friends call him. I do have to say I think I won “most humiliating way to be dumped” on one of our weekends when I shared this story, and ever since, my girlies have been waiting to see J of the R used as a character in a book.

Girlies, wait no longer.



John of the Rock, you’re saying. That sounds kind of noble and saintly. No. It’s not. He wasn’t. I mean, to his credit, he was a nice person and had a good sense of humor, yadda yadda whatever. But this is how he dumped me, people. Pull up a chair and listen to your Auntie Kristan.

We’d been dating a couple of years. John and his buddies rowed single scull boaty things…you know, crew and all that snooty prep school stuff. We went to someone’s house for the weekend and the guys decided to have a mini-regatta (race to you and me, the great unwashed). Since I didn’t row and was a girlfriend, not one of the gang, I offered to be timekeeper. John rowed me out to a rock (you see where this is going, right?).

I would not have been sad if a shark had eaten them, to be honest.

I would not have been sad if a shark had eaten them, to be honest.

I arranged myself attractively, smiled, and for the next hour or so, I dutifully called out times as the skinny little boats went past, pretending to enjoy the Prep School Glory Days Reenactment.

Then…the boats stopped coming. I guessed they were taking a break. It was fine. A lovely day. Fine. I kept looking at my watch. More minutes passed. Then some more. And still more.

It dawned on me that John and his pals had forgotten about me. I was not in view of the lake shore, so I couldn’t stand up and wave. I was in the middle of a lake, in shorts and a t-shirt and sneakers.

I waited some more.

How I may have looked that day.

How I may have looked that day.

Then, finally, fury kicked in, as it will when you leave a woman on a rock in the middle of a lake. I jumped in the water, swam to shore, stomped through the woods and bypassed the little lakeside party altogether. Walked back to the house where we were staying, sodden and murderous.

Suffice it to say, John and I broke up that day, and a few months later, I met a cute Irish boy while standing in line. Next week, that Irish boy and I will have been married for 26 years, and he brings me coffee every morning, tells me he loves me at least three times a day, and has never once abandoned me in a body of water.

McSweetie and me

McSweetie and me

So thanks, John of the Rock! And thanks for being good fodder, too. As my friend Huntley said, “It’s about time you used him.”  : )


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