On a recent late-night, back patio, alcohol-fueled gabfest with a friend of mine, we took a familiar turn down ex-boyfriend lane. A menagerie of lessons learned, stories that shock, poking fun, all in an effort to justify or understand how we arrived at where we are today.
In my book of dating dramas, I have had some chapters of wonderful people who left lasting impressions on me. It made me want to speak to those particular boyfriends and thank them for their role in my life. So I will.
You were the cutest boy at Cherry Run Elementary. Some of the fondest memories of my childhood were spent with you. Riding bikes, hanging out at the pool, and of course, our hour long make out sessions in the underground tunnels by the creek. I remember shouting out of the school bus window to each other, “Love you times ten!” And I really did.
For our elementary school years, you were my main squeeze, but then I lost you when we moved on to middle school and high school. I don’t recall speaking to you, or even passing you in the hall. Do you? As I went through my phase of being “too cool for school,” I lost my innocence. When I think back today, you were a large piece of that innocence.
My mom has always told me when she runs into you and how kind you are to her, and I always looked forward to the day we’d reconnect. I was delighted when I found you earlier this year on MySpace. At the time, I had just begun writing again; beginning the second part of a book I’ve been working on for a couple of years. I tend to get very pensive about life when I’m committed to writing, and so I began replaying over and over in my mind how it was that we lost touch when we still occupied the same spaces. Part of me got very sad, and then a bit angry. I wanted to call you and demand to know why you left me behind. That if we hadn’t become so irrelevant to one another, that maybe you could have saved me from the life I was to endure for the next decade. But I knew you wouldn’t understand. And I knew I couldn’t have been saved from myself anyway. When I looked back on my life, my memories of you are the last thing I remember before I went down a path that nearly destroyed me. And so I have clung to the thought of you all along. At some of the hardest pockets in life, I have envisioned myself back in those tunnels with you, and felt safe.
My heart is warmed to know you again, to know you’re happy, and to know you’ve thought and cared about me all along. Most importantly, you have a beautiful girlfriend who I could tell in thirty seconds of meeting her that she loved you and would treat you the way I would want you to be treated. A way that I would probably be incapable of myself.
Thank you for reminding me of pure, soft, innocent side of my life.
While our relationship was an immature, college one, I will always remember our laughter. I laughed more with you than anyone I’ve ever met. When I think back to the nine months we spent together, I think about lying in your king-sized bed (a luxury size not known by most at our age) and laughing like a hyena. I had the most fun with you, and when I’ve been presented with the challenge of what one person I would take with me to a deserted island, I’ve often thought of you.
Thank you for spending a small piece of your life with me, and for the laughter you brought to mine.
Oh Christian. How I loved you. There is no doubt in my mind that you were my very first and true love. You brought such meaning and depth to my world. Your poetry, your ponderings, your fascinations, your cooking, your music, your love; all enriched me and have stayed with me to this day. I had never experienced romance before you and you literally swept me off my feet and changed me for the better. I still remember sitting across from you at Mr. K’s (after we had ditched the opera out of boredom) and beginning to cry because I was so happy.
Maybe there was too much passion between us. After you erupted in anger over my phone call with Scott, the way I looked at you shifted and I couldn’t switch it back. You should have been angry, because I was interested in Scott, and I ended up dating him soon after you. But please understand, something in me knew that it was time for me to leave the situation we were in, but I knew it wasn’t in your best interest. I was leaving you, for you.
There is an actor whose voice sounds just of yours. To this day, when I hear him in films I shudder to my core. I still think of you often and wish so deeply that we could be a part of each other’s lives. I hope that the reason you have chosen not to speak to me is not because you are angry with me. More important than having you in my life is knowing that you are happy and healthy. My secret hope is to reunite with you in another life, and I kind of believe that we will. Until then, there will always be a piece of my soul that aches for you.
Thank you for bringing love and passion to my life and for setting the bar for how I should be treated.
My relationship with you was probably the most crucial one of my life. But you already know this. You were a gift from above and it terrifies me to think of where I would be today, had you not come into my life. Everything that is good in my life today is a direct result of you taking my hand and showing me a way out.
You already know these things, but I hope you know that you didn’t just play a role that could have been filled by anyone. The period of my life that we dated was one of exploration, testing limits, experimentation, all helping me to determine who I was and who I wanted to be. It was a roller coaster, but it was also fun. And you held my hand patiently and supportively the entire way. (And I think you had a bit of fun too.)
I’m sorry I hurt you so deeply when I left you, but we weren’t suppose to be together forever. I think you know that. I’m so grateful to still have you as a friend today.
Thank you for my life.
What a little shit you are. You are the conundrum of my dating life. How do you dislike someone but still want to be with them? Maybe because my disdain for you proved to be great foreplay. You made me nuts when we were dating, and you successfully make me nuts whenever we talk today. But still, whenever I come home to visit and have a few drinks, I always end up texting you. Go figure.
I really thought I was going to marry you, even though I didn’t really want to. I just figured we would marry each other begrudgingly because we understood one another. We would have lived out the quintessential Italian marriage. Because it was familiar to us, it would have made us feel comfortable and safe. Personally, I think its going to be a cold day in hell before you ever get married, but there is still time for you to grow up. The greatest part about you is that I can say something like that to you and you interpret it as love. The secret of one good Italian to another.
Thank you for insisting that I stay and have breakfast after what was supposed to be a one-night stand.