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  • Writer's picturehannahhogan221

Ashley's Valentine's Day Story

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

It is 2015 and life isn’t going as planned. I hit a major depression despite my

sobriety and collection of AA and NA chips. I’m talking a lot onstage about how

sobriety isn’t helping my mental state.

I am battling insomnia and unable to sleep, sometimes for two days at a time. I am

heavily medicated for depression, anxiety, and insomnia. I gain some weight and

am at my heaviest.

After struggling financially for the past year, I take on a job in apartment leasing

with a great salary. I am fired within two weeks for being too empathetic and not

catching on quicker. I had never been fired before. This was a new type of

rejection I hadn’t felt before. I was at a new low. My mother insisted on moving me

back home to Nashville from Chicago. I agree. I give up. Big city life isn’t working

out for me. My plans to rise in the Chicago comedy scene and then continue on to

New York and land in LA have been derailed by my own failure.

I am depressed, miserable, heartbroken, and soon I will be having the first of ten

surgeries over the course of the next five years, but there’s still love. I can’t give

up on the idea that one day I will meet someone and he will rescue me and I will

get back to being funny, healthy and skinny again.

I start a Bumble account.

I find a guy on Bumble who I went to high school with. I always thought he was

cute and I am really excited to talk with him. We meet up, we get along. He has

depth and I am so drawn to him. He is kind to me and seems genuinely interested

in my pursuit of comedy. We agree to keep seeing each other. We see each other

regularly. We talk on the phone. He texts me, “good morning” and we text

throughout the day. Every day. I adore him.

Turns out I am not the only one going through a difficult season of life. My new

love interest is separated from his wife. It’s not a pretty story. My heart breaks for

him, but I am relieved at knowing he has his eyes set on me now.

I am excited at where my life is heading. I have a new job. I make decent money. I

am two years sober now. I am surrounded by great friends. I am off some of this

crazy medication. I am able to sleep. The weight is even coming off me now. I may

have a boyfriend soon. Maybe things are finally looking up for me.

He texts me one day as he leaves his lawyer. “Papers are filed”. I assure him I am

there for him. This is huge. They’ve been together since their teens.

I have thoughts in my mind that this may not be good timing. He has a lot going on

right now. I am still a mess and I know it, but maybe our paths crossed for a reason

and we are exactly what each other needs.

In between the phone calls and the dates with my new guy, my ex starts calling

and texting me as well. I am not interested. Why won’t he leave me alone? I have

told him I have moved on. He wants to meet and talk “face to face”. I don’t care to

see him again.

Now my friends are calling me to tell me my ex has been calling them. He wants to

know who my new guy is. He wants me back. He expected us to be together after I

moved back home. He is not happy. He is sorry. He is so deeply sorry and they

must relay to me how sorry he is and how much he loves me. I am annoyed. I even

feel disrespected. Why won’t he take no for an answer?

I take my new guy to my work party. He meets my friends. My feet hurt from my

new heels and he carries me on his back through the parking lot to my car. I feel

like we are living in our own rom-com. I giggle like a schoolgirl all the time. I am

genuinely happy.

I am getting back onstage regularly now. I am getting booked again. I am even

producing my own show and people are coming to see it! Wow. Things are really

looking up for me.

After one of my shows, my ex shows up. He tells me to get in the car with him. I

don’t want to. He wants me to hear him out. I want him to go away. I think to

myself maybe if I sit him down and tell him I don’t want him, maybe if I give him

this “face to face” he so desperately believes he needs, he will back off.

“I have moved on now. It’s over. You need to move on too,” I tell him as gently as I


“No, we belong together”, he tells me. He’s scaring me now. This seems

delusional. I haven’t loved him in years.

I leave and drive home thinking of how I hate to see someone hurt, but I have to do

what is best for me and right now my new guy is my priority, not someone who

never appreciated me and cut me down for years.

I tell my new guy about my ex. He tells me he is concerned I will go back to him. I

assure him I would never. He’s all I want now.

My new guy comes to a show I’m producing in town. He supports me. I feel so

appreciated for the first time in a long time.

We spend many nights together hanging out and talking about life and how

wronged we feel by it. I cry a lot on his shoulder. I feel safe and not judged by him.

Afterall, he is going through a rough time too.

I come home from one of our dates and there’s my ex...sitting in his car outside my

house waiting for me to come home from my date. I am taken aback. What is he

doing? Why is he trying to jeopardize my new love? Why won’t he let me go?

“Please, stop this,” I beg, afraid now that my ex and my new guy may eventually

meet if this continues.

“No, I love you,” he replies with tears streaming down his face.

“But, I don’t love you,” I explain.

I know it sounds harsh, but this has to stop. My new guy can’t find out about this.

He’s going to scare him away! I can’t lose this! I am angry.

Valentine’s Day is coming up. What am I going to do with my new guy? Is he going

to take me to a fancy date? Is he going to even get me a gift? It seems soon for big

gifts. I will get him something-nothing big, just a cute little gift to let him know I am

thinking of him. It’s a few days before and I give him an air freshener for his car.

The air freshener he currently has in his car is a butterfly. I joke on him for it and

he tells me it was his wife’s. I give him my gift. He chuckles. I’m so cute and clever

without being needy or putting expectations on him during this rough time he is

going through. I am here for him. I am falling for him...hard.

I give him his gift and finally after several times of us being together, he kisses me

in my driveway. It’s incredible. Something beautiful is happening here. He has to

see it too, right?

Things are going so well except that it’s Valentine’s Day now and I haven’t heard

from him. This is weird. I hope he’s ok, but I know he is. I want to convince myself I

should be concerned for him, but as a woman who knows what it’s like to be

dumped, I know he’s gone. I can feel it. I reach out to him in a text message. He

never responds. He uploads a picture to his social media account. Just as I

suspected, he is well. I have been ghosted. Ghosted by someone I didn’t see

coming AT ALL. My heart is broken.

I come home from work and there are flowers waiting for me. I am hoping they are

from my new love, but I know they aren’t. I open the card and just as I suspected,

the flowers are from my ex-the one who won’t take no for an answer. The one who

waits for me to come home from my dates with my new love. The one who

mysteriously leaves notes on my car when I am out performing. The one who has

never been kind to me. He must truly love me. Maybe I should just give him

another chance after all. Yes, I should just be with him. I’ve tried other men since

him and none love like he does. They all leave. This one won’t go away and so I

give in. I will take him back. I can’t stand the pain of the heartache I feel. I can’t be

alone any longer. I don’t ever want to feel this pain of heartbreak again.

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