That College Couple
He pissed the hell out of me in my freshman literature class by playing devil’s advocate and asking ridiculous questions. I don’t remember how we started talking. I think he bet me I wouldn’t do something. One way or another, we ended up having a long argument/flirtatious conversation via Facebook Wall (back in the good old days of FB) which ended in me going bowling with him and his friends, then smoking pot in the back of his friend’s car as we drove back to our preppy university.
We spent a couple blissful months together during the rest of the semester, culminating with me visiting him in Boston over the summer holiday. At first, things were fine. But then somewhere along the way we hit a kink. I think it was because of the pot. I was a goody two-shoes in high school and didn’t really party much in college, either. So when I set myself against his pot smoking (as any stubborn, innocent 19 year old would), it became a big point of contention between us.
Oh right, there was that
Oh yeah, I also lost my virginity. He was sweet about it, but pretty insistent, and looking back, I felt too rushed. When we were back at school, I tried to tell him I wanted to slow down, but he didn’t understand and became defensive. We had a huge argument about it and never really recovered. Being a 19 year old with very few sexual experiences, I didn’t know if I was being reasonable. And no one wanted to talk to me about it. My own boyfriend didn’t want to discuss it, why would anyone else? So I just accepted the status quo, and went back to him. But I was pretty miserable.
The following semester, he went abroad. And was dumb enough (or maybe egotistical enough) to post some of his sexual experiences while abroad in a public facebook group that was meant for his friends, but was not difficult for me to find. We had discussed how things would be when he went abroad and had concluded non-exclusivity (or I should say he concluded non-exclusivity).
I wish I had taken advantage of that semester at school without him. There was a guy that I had some interest in, who expressed mutual interest, but I passed over him because I was waiting for my ex to return. I did keep up a somewhat more-than-friendly relationship with that guy for a couple of years, though. It was a rather poetic relationship – mostly we just shared notes and letters and poems with each other, but it was never physical. Too bad he lives on the other side of the country now.
I had originally planned to go abroad in the Spring semester when my friends were going, but I decided at the last minute to go in the Fall so I could “get it over with” and be back at school with a year to spend with my boyfriend.
When I returned in the Spring, we hung out a couple of times (and hooked up, too), before it came out that he’d been hooking up with this other girl. I felt so humiliated and angry. I felt like I’d wasted my time waiting for him. I wished I’d stayed in France for the full year like I’d wanted to, instead of returning for his sake. I cried angry, frustrated tears more times than I care to remember. I completely distanced him, and hated him, and vowed never to go back to him.
First loves always take the longest to get over
I spent nearly 3 years getting over him. Even after I’d had another fantastic relationship that ended only because of graduation, he still affected me. Of course, I saw him once or twice since our “official break up” (in quotation marks because he claimed we’d only dated 6 months, which I understand why, but if you have no intention toward someone, why the constant correspondence? Why hook up with me when I returned?)
But the summer after I graduated (he was a year ahead of me, and our “official break up” was second semester my junior year), he sent me a long email. His grandfather had just passed away, and he’d just broken up with his girlfriend. We had gotten to a point where we were friendly with each other, but I still harbored so much anger and sadness towards him. For a while, he would correspond with me in some way approximately every 6 months. It was as if that was all he could take not hearing from me.
Then I went to Canada.
I spent a year there, and when I left, I drove around the northeast some to tour through the states I’d never seen. When I stopped in Boston, I almost didn’t contact him. I came back to my hostel slightly drunk (ok, pretty drunk) on my last night there, and I sent him a Facebook message to let him know I was in town (oh Facebook). He suggested we have lunch the next day.
A strange warmth
I got a little lost trying to find him (he was at work, so I had to pick him up on his lunch break), so when we finally made it to the deli, he couldn’t stay very long. But we made conversation easily, and I I sensed some regret – on both sides. At this point he had a steady girlfriend who seemed like a very good match for him. I had no plans to cause any kind of rift. For me, seeing him was like finally closing the book. I don’t know if our lunch did that for him. It was clear he felt some guilt about our relationship and its outcome, however, as he made an indirect apology for his conduct. I accepted it readily; it made closure so much easier for me.
When we parted, it was raining, so we were close under my tiny umbrella. We hugged, and there was a warmth there that I hadn’t expected. There was a sense of many things unsaid – not just then, but throughout the past as well. But it was what it had to be, and I have done my best to put him from my mind since then.
But when I read the news today, my stomach dropped, and my heart pounded uncomfortably in my chest. I was so afraid for him. He was a fitness buff, so I knew he’d be running in the marathon, and he’d always been the type to take unnecessary risks for the thrill of it. I was terrified he’d have put himself in harm’s way.
A quick glance at his Facebook wall (oh Facebook) told me he was safe and sound. I breathed a sigh of relief, not realizing I’d been holding it in. But suddenly my eyes filled with tears. Why was I so upset? I know I still hold a place for him in my heart, but I don’t know if I realized the depth of my feeling until he was in potential danger. I truly had put our past to rest in my heart after our lunch. He had apologized, and I had forgiven him. And I have moved on. But have I really? I don’t even know what to think anymore.