Everyone get’s one. One great, terrible, agonizing, stupid, amazing, fun filled love. Some get more than that, but everyone does get at least one. And every great love is different. Some work out, some don’t. And frankly, falling in love is scary.
When we first met I knew that you were broken. I was too, in my own way. You had been jaded so many times, and I was a wild child with no plans on slowing down. We were so young when we met, so caught up in the thrill of our new found freedom that came with “adulthood”. I use that term loosely because neither of us were adults at the time. Not really.
I was 19 when I met you, so it’s been over 6 years. And, God, when I think back on the things that we fucked up on it makes me want to scream.
The funny thing was, when I first met you I never thought I would like you. I had heard other people talk about you and I really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. If we’re being 100% honest right here (and why the hell wouldn’t I be?) I actually didn’t even think you were that attractive at first. I mean sure, you weren’t ugly, but I did not understand how every girl you came in contact with seemed to be falling all over you. Maybe it was your eyes, I really didn’t know.
Then, we started to become friends. I got to know you, and I’m not talking about knowing superficial things like your favorite color or the fact that you love 500 Days of Summer. I started to get to know the real you. The things that you went through as a child. About the things you had to deal with with your parents and your family. How absolutely, heartbreakingly sweet you were with your grandma. Your fears, which were a lot but somehow I found that endearing.. the fact that you were afraid of literally everything.
I started to know these things and they made me fall for you. Hard, actually. I didn’t really realize it at the time, I thought I was still just young and wanting to have fun. We started dating eventually, and everyone around us was pretty stoked. We were such good friends at that point and we also had the same wants for that moment in time (or so we thought).
The relationship was okay, I mean we were still pretty much just super close friends that had some added benefits. But nothing major. And after a few months we called it quits. Well, you actually called it quits.
The weird thing was that yeah, even though it sucked we were still able to be friends. Actual friends. We fell into a couple of moments that we probably shouldn’t have acted out on during this time (it’s never a good idea to sleep with your ex while they’re still your ex…) But, it happens and even with those mishaps it was still relatively uneventful.
Then, because we were still friends and that’s how it started the first time we decided to give it another go. Because, ya know, that works.
This time we took it a little more seriously. But, eventually we ended it again after another few months.
And repeat….. we stayed friends. Continued to hang out and make the same mistakes. I continued to get ridiculously close to your family (they’re actually still some of my favorite people in the world). And again, we decided to try.
I don’t know how we didn’t see that it was a mistake. I was definitely more invested than you were, but at the time I didn’t really understand how much. I’ll never forget the night of the third time we got back together (or it could have possibly been the fourth, I don’t know… we did this too many times to count), your mom cried when I told her. She hugged me, and I’ll never forget what she said. “Don’t give up on him, Trish. He needs you. He’s just broken and doesn’t know how to do this.”
It stuck with me for a long time, to this day actually. And I don’t know why really, but I felt like I was responsible for you after that moment. Responsible for making sure that you learned how to love. From that point on I took it a lot more seriously and finally let myself stop being a child and really get into the relationship, even though I knew you wouldn’t.
And, in true fashion, history repeated itself. We eventually ended it for good after one or two more tries.
The last time we broke up I knew it was different. The words your mom had spoken to me repeated through my head but I couldn’t find it in me to keep trying, to keep hurting.
I started seeing someone else, and so did you. We were still friends, but not like before. I wished you well, you did the same to me and we went our separate ways. I continued dating about a million other people (not my finest moments). You married the girl you dated after me. We had moved on.
I stayed friends with your family, you had a child. I moved around the entire state, you got a new job. And even though you would pop up in conversation or in my thoughts from time to time it was always with fondness and never regret. Time passed like it has a habit of doing.
However, as surprising as it was to the both of us, things didn’t stay that way. When they say history likes to repeat itself let me tell you… they aren’t fucking wrong.
Five years later I heard through the grapevine that you were getting a divorce. We then ran into each other at the bar… on purpose. And we just fell right back into step.
It was like something out of a damn movie. We sat out under a tree, on an amazing night filled with stars and we just talked. About everything and nothing all at the same time. About where we went wrong and the things we wouldn’t change. I remember feeling more for you during those 5 hours that night than I ever had all those years ago.
I couldn’t believe how it took off. I tried as hard as I could to keep my distance. I knew you were hurting. Your marriage hadn’t been a good one and it damaged both parties involved. You had a child now. We were both in entirely different places in our lives, so I knew I had to pump the breaks.
And regardless of how things turned out I want you to know that I tried. I tried so hard to back off but you made it impossible. Against my best interest I let go of all the inhibitions and let myself love you.
I knew it was bad and in the beginning I tried to walk away. But, for the first time since we were 19 you stopped me. It was so new I didn’t know how to react, so I stayed. And things were amazing. You had grown so much, you were in such a different place. This time just felt so different.
You leaned on me, told me everything. Things that you weren’t opening up to anyone else about. We did more this time around as well. Actually went and experienced things together, which we really didn’t do before.
After all of this I figured there would be some hiccups, sure, but I figured we would work through them together. I brought you around my family, which I hadn’t done with another man in quite some time. Your family was ecstatic that I was back around. Things were going great… until they weren’t.
I should have seen it coming. We had done this too many times before that I should have known. And when you sat me down that day I knew exactly what you were going to say. But, hearing the words actually come out of your mouth were entirely different and hurt so much more than I ever expected.
You told me you weren’t ready to be with someone. You had thought you were, but you weren’t. And given the things you were still going through with your then soon to be ex-wife and everything else, I understood. It would be really hard not to understand. It didn’t make it any easier to handle, but I truly did.
The thing was, at that point I wasn’t strong enough to leave. You weren’t doing anything wrong and I still thought it was my job to fix you, so I felt I had to stay. Because you were more broken than ever. I had fallen for you like gravity had let go of the earth, and you didn’t catch me.
Now, telling our story has been a lot longer than I anticipated and I know it doesn’t paint either of us in the best light. The fault for the way everything went is on both of us. The first thousand times we tried we were just kids. We didn’t know what the hell we were doing. And this time around you were so broken and I was so wrapped up in your brokenness that we couldn’t see what was really going on.
I didn’t realize until after this time… the actual last time, just how much you had meant to me all those years ago. How much I had cared for you but continued to squelch it down. You taught me a lot of things that I never really understood until recently. Lessons that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life.
I want you to know that I don’t blame you for anything. We had a run in a while ago that I’m not entirely proud of how I handled. You had started seeing someone else and it caught me off guard. But, the truth is I knew it would happen eventually.
You aren’t a bad person, and I’m not either. We were just bad together. You’ll go on to do great things, be a great father and a great man. And I’ll continue to live a life full of adventures and really have no idea when I’ll decide to slow down.
Neither of these things are bad, and if I run into you again this time I’ll greet you with a smile. Because you did what I didn’t have the balls to do… you walked away.
We were wrong for each other from the very start. We were always better off friends. For all of the experiences you gave me, and for all the moments, secrets, time and love that we shared… I am thankful. I don’t hurt anymore, so I can see things in a better light.
But, the thing that I’m the most thankful for is you walking away. It gave me so many more opportunities than you staying ever would ( I mean, I finally decided to move forward with my blog after you left, so that’s always a plus). I had lost myself when you came around, and you leaving helped me find myself again.
So thank you. Thank you for leaving. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for everything you gave and couldn’t give. Just… thank you.