Facebook is like all the headlines of the day’s news…except it’s of people that you actually know. You find out who just had a baby, who got a job promotion, who lost a loved one, who bought a new house, and who is getting married. Well it’s official…he’s engaged…to someone other than me. Although I knew that fact was coming soon, I still felt unprepared for the news.
Our love was before the time of cell phones and txt messages and Facebook and MySpace. Our love blossomed between the lines of notebook papers written after rushed class assignments and passed in between hallways. I still have every letter he wrote me in our 2 and half years…and I still have every email and message he has written me since. Even after our relationship ended, we built a friendship that spanned past college graduations and law school struggles. Yes ironically, he ended up being a lawyer too…a passion he never discovered until after our break up, but one I would like to think that I influenced. I used to call him on holidays and every birthday. I’ve never forgotten his birthday and I wonder if I ever will…February 7th. He will be 29 this year.
I am happy for him…really I am. I am happy for her, since he is probably twice the man that I used to know and the man that I knew was pretty fucking amazing. If our future depends on the foundation of our pasts, then because of him, my foundation has strength, friendship, values, and worth. I am no longer that 16 year old girl but my current 27 year old woman status still adheres to the worth that he saw in me. It is probably for that reason that I have remained single for as long as I have. I know my value and I will not settle for less.
I am numb. Even though we haven’t spoken in a while, it just now hit me that he is no longer mine. I will always be remembered as his high school sweetheart and we will hug and speak pleasantries if we should ever meet again…but he is now officially hers. I wonder if this is how he felt when he heard about my engagement and was he secretly happy when he found out that there would be no marriage for me. I knew this day would come…when we would finally part ways and the memory of our young love quickly fades away…even more so then they already have. I knew from the moment I saw their picture that she would replace me completely and from that day forth, I would linger only on old photos that he no longer looks at. He has finally found “the one” worthy enough to replace me. As for me…I am still searching.
Sometimes it seems as though you always run into certain people at certain places…whether it’s at the mall, the gym, or at Wal-Mart. For me and him, it was always the gas station. It’s moments like this when I wonder about the circumstance of coincidence or if there really is a thing such as fate.
We locked eyes and I immediately smiled. We had a brief summer fling before my first year of law school and have maintained a sense of mutual respect ever sense.
“You look good!” he said. “You look different. You colored your hair…you lost some weight…”
I just smiled and said, “yes.”
He looked the same. Tall and lean. Jet black hair. Golden skin. The prettiest turquoise eyes I’ve ever seen.
“You look happy,” he said.
“I am,” I replied.
“Good for you,” he said, with a simple nod.
We just stood there, eyeing each other and smiling…both of us carrying silly little grins. Then we both just burst out laughing. Yea…it was one of those moments. I couldn’t remember the last time I was this at ease and giddy at the same time.
“Sorry,” he said. “Damn, you just look really good. I know I just said that like 5 times, but I don’t know what else to say.”
I blushed like a school girl.
After a few seconds of stalling, he looked off to the side and somberly said, “I’m getting married next month.”
“I know,” I said. “Congratulations.”
In those 60 seconds, the mood had changed. Before anything else could be said, I asked for a hug and said that I needed to be on my way. He came over to my car and gave me one of those intimate hugs, where you can feel every muscle and every breath he takes. There was no space between his chest and mine.
“It could’ve been you,” he said. Then he kissed me on the forehead, took a deep breath, released me, and walked to his car. It was like a scene from a movie. Out of all the movie scenes in the world, why was I stuck with this sad one.
In that split second, something came over me. It was like ksoranna took over…my ego that was irrational, emotionally driven and too brazen for her own good.
“Wait!” I yelled and ran to him…straight into his arms. Not only did he accept my embrace…he lifted me up to meet his face. Our lips met and we kissed.
In the middle of the gas station…me in my late 20s…he in his mid 30s…like high school sweethearts saying good-bye…we kissed. My arms wrapped around his neck, legs wrapped around his back…his arms holding me steady…we kissed. Unaware of the stares, unaware of the heat, unaware of the time and place…we kissed. Like the memory of his lips hadn’t been absent from mine, for the last 6 years…we kissed.
As suddenly as it started, it stopped. He gently held me as I rested my head in the crook of his neck, one last time. The look on his face, once he released me…was it anguish, regret, guilt??
“Do me a favor,” he stated. “Please delete me from your Facebook and erase my number.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because I can’t bear to do it and you are stronger than me,” he said.
A few seconds later…the exchange of “good-byes” and “take cares.” I knew that the next time I saw him, if I even would see him again, he would be a married man.
I drove off. “It could’ve have been you” repeated over and over in my head. I don’t know what I felt. It wasn’t guilt…it wasn’t even sadness. More like that dreadful acceptance that everyone else around me was moving on and starting new lives and new families…while I was still stuck in park.
I pulled my car over to the side of the road and like another sad movie scene, I put my head in my hands and cried.
NOTE TO ANY MAN I DATE IN THE FUTURE: You must be willing to leave your uneaten food at the table, walk to the car parked a few blocks away, to go get your phone charger, so that you can take pictures of me, if that is my desire. Yes…my pedestal for what I expect out of my future man has risen even higher! But don’t blame me…blame him.
The him that causes me to smile that comfortable, easy smile, shared between friends and past lovers. The him that can pull off a hot pink dress shirt, brown slacks, and brown and pink matching socks to complete the outfit. He looked good.
We argued on the way to the restaurant because he was late, had no idea where he was going, and I was hungry. After 7 years, some things never change. We talked, we laughed, we took pictures and teased each other about who was the more conceited one out of the two of us. After looking through the pics on his phone, the evidence was clear that it was him.
We don’t always get along and barely agree on anything, but for some reason we have remained in each other’s lives, despite a short-lived romance that was more down than up. We don’t have much in common, don’t share the same circle of friends, and haven’t even made time to see each other, yet for some reason I know his number will never be deleted from my phone. My friends sometimes wonder why I put up with his snarky remarks and uncensored comments. It’s for the same reason I still am close with my high school friends, still keep in touch with folks from college…I like having someone in my life who can appreciate the woman I have become, because they once knew the girl I was. He is one of the few guys out there, who knows how I voted during the presidential election of 2004, who knows what I looked like in pictures that I have long since deleted from Facebook, and who will proudly acknowledge my success because he once helped me complete homework assignments.
He has a good head on his shoulder and a good heart. Someday he will learn to love a woman who will put up with his weird disdain for water, Michael Jackson obsession, and conceited mirror loving ways. If they are blessed enough to have children, he will be the most devoted and loving father. That wife and mother won’t be me…but it was nice to know, that at one time it could have been.
We haven’t spoken since that dinner and he is moving to Atlanta, Georgia…this time for the right reasons. If our history is any indication, it will be months, maybe years before we speak or ever see each other again. But the last text he sent me said, “If my wife doesn’t mind, you will be invited to my wedding.” I will take that, as an early invitation. Until then, good-bye for now and take care.