As the end of high school (and along with it, the end of seemingly all things) approaches, I can’t help but to reflect upon and reminisce about K-12 relationships, flings, interactions – of the generally romantic appeal. It seems that the majority of mine have withered away into feathery fragments of either ash or dust, or a combination of both. While I have familiarized myself with the idea of acceptance, particularly the kind that must accompany a lack of closure to feel at peace, I do have a few things I’d like to say or wish I’d said. With the acknowledgement that phone calls or invitations to reflect over coffee may not be the most appropriate approaches in context, I confide in you, dear blog, as an outlet. Or maybe I’m just too lazy or overwhelmed or anxious to reach out directly. Whatever the case, here I am now, and here are the things I’ve got to say.
My AOL password in 2007 was “ilove[your name].” I haven’t spoken to you in years.
I was pretty bummed each time you didn’t ask me to be your square-dancing partner. I was also pretty bummed when you asked me out on behalf of your best friend (cause let’s admit it, you and I definitely liked each other).
I still have those lengthy e-mails from our fight after I unknowingly rejected you and you called me a b*tch at your summer party (that was a big deal in fifth grade). They’re in a folder called “Better Forgotten But Not Deleted.” Lol.
We dated for two days, I believe, during which you picked out a necklace for me that I paid for myself. One night while I was at rehearsal, you called to break up with me to which I responded with relief. Nothing against you, I just had no clue what to do in a relationship in the first place. Also, I’m pretty sure the first time you asked me out, I declined because I “wasn’t allowed” to date.. Guess those first couple months of middle school taught you persistence. Anyway, now you’re slightly taller with funny tattoos in weird places and I’m wondering if you remember our short-lived, sixth grade romance (if you can call it that).
It was sweet and innocent and adorable. Puppy love, I think that’s the term. I’m still slightly annoyed at the fact that you kissed another girl on the cheek when you couldn’t even hold my hand without our fingers being forced between each other by another sixth grader. But really, I think that just meant you were nervous, and that you liked me, like for real. So I’m not too annoyed.
I was stuck on you for a long time because of how close we were. Those times spent Skyping, playing online games, and walking around North Park because we were middle schoolers who couldn’t drive.. They were so pure, and really freakin’ fun, might I add. Although nothing worth a label manifested between us, I cherish those memories and our then best-friendship dearly. Those were some real good times.
I think of you from time to time and hope you’re okay. What you did to my emotionally inexperienced, tween self was pretty brutal, but I accept your apology (in part because it led me to delving into the music of one of my now favorite artists). I wish I knew of a way to reach out to you, although I’m not quite sure if you’d be open to that. Regardless, I’m sending well wishes to your mind and soul. Hope things aren’t too rough wherever you are.
To be quite frank, all I remember is I liked you a whole lot, and you liked my best friend a whole lot, and it sucked. But it’s all good now, and I’m always hoping for your wellness.
I was thirteen. To give you a little bit of context, I was thirteen with an almost unbelievably optimistic attitude towards romance and a capacity for compassion that you didn’t for an instant hesitate to twist and take advantage of. I still don’t see the purpose or benefit of dragging me (and plenty of other people) along like something stuck to the rear bumper of a car on the highway, but I’m thinking it’s something about power. Anyway, I hope you learned something after I dragged you through my thought process exactly a year later. Now that I think about it, you’re probably the reason I’m so disillusioned by charm.
I remember thinking to myself before I called it off, “you might regret this, but just remember it’s certainly what you wanted at some point in time.” I don’t necessarily regret it, but I do wish I hadn’t been so intimidated by your all-around greatness, so influenced by all the watchful and envious eyes of other clueless high schoolers, so uneasy about my level of adequacy. Had it not been for those hindrances, I assume I would have seen it as less of a wasted opportunity. Regardless, it’s done with, and you seem to have really grown into yourself and the person you’d like to present yourself as. Not that it means anything to you, but I do miss that slightly scrawnier, more openly intellectual version of you from years back. I was really enamored by him – almost as much as I was bewildered at the idea of a dude as cool as you finding interest in a person as self-doubtful as I was.
Sorry you had to go through my naïve, idealistic phase of crushing on cute, musically-inclined boys. But I really did appreciate your dorky, slightly embarrassed way of going about things, your talent, but most of all, your appreciation of genuine kindness. Sorry she screwed you over, you didn’t deserve that.
Thinking of my interactions with you makes me feel gross. I don’t care if that sounds cold – in fact, it should. It’s interesting to me how being screwed over can induce two polar opposite reactions: completely avoiding that kind of treatment towards others, and mirroring it. Regardless of how damaged you were, there’s no justification for manipulating my emotional vulnerability, especially in that way, in that context. You know that kind of thing sticks with people, right? You know that it can corrupt a sense of trust, a comfort with intimacy? Thanks for that.
So many little questions left both unasked and unanswered, and for so long, there’s not really much to say at all. Though it looks as if you’re happy, and so I feel there is no other appropriate response than to feel happy for you!
Looking back, I realize that making you wait a day for me to turn you down in person could have been very misleading. I just wanted to give you the respect of a face-to-face conversation, but I’m sorry if I had gotten your hopes up. It’s not that I didn’t/don’t appreciate your many admirable traits; there just didn’t exist an organic romantic attraction for me. And as much as everyone pushed me to “give you a chance,” I didn’t think you deserved to be put into that guinea pig-like position. I hope you know that I really do appreciate your sweetness and all. And I hope you’re happy and never settling. You deserve more credit than your friends ever gave you.
I don’t think you’ve ever understood my resentment towards you, so let me try and spell it out. It was a couple of years of on and off mutual feelings (for lack of better words), but apparently it was never enough for you to act upon. That’s the thing, though. You were so important to me at the time, and I know I was important to you, in some form or another. But you never offered any validation of that, any clear indication of your care for me except for the recurring “I miss you’s” after I’d get sick of feeling undervalued and drift away. Then some other person is brought into the picture (inorganically, mind you) and suddenly, you’re capable of affection? Bullshit. And to add to that, the only times you’ve reached out to me since then was when you were no longer obligated to her emotionally, which leads me to feel inclined to again call – Bullshit.
Yeah, we never dated, despite everyone’s insistent, behind-the-back remarks. But I do love ya, man, lots and lots and lots. And I really believe that the care I hold for you surpasses any level of “liking.” No matter how many times I say this, it probably won’t change the outcome of anything, but I’ll give it a shot: please don’t become a Douchebag Frat Boy when you head off to college!!!! Your dorkiness and capacity for love is worth way more than chiseled muscles and a perfected wink. Trust me on this one.
That was a momentous night for my adventure-seeking, sophomore year self. I wonder how things would have turned out had I been less apprehensive about everything. Sorry about my mouth, ha.
Things look like they’re going well for you, and that really warms my heart. I hope you’re not intimidated by me; though, it does seem that way sometimes. Trust me, I’m no greater than average, but if it means anything, I really appreciate your passion and drive, and I’m always sending good wishes your way.
I remember looking forward to meeting you on the bench at the little lotus pond in between scheduled events. It’s been two years since then, and a year and a half since we met in Oceanside to catch up on New Year’s Day. I’m not sure why we didn’t meet again after that. I wish I’d seen you when you came to visit last summer; I’d heard you had a girlfriend at that point, but it’s not as if I minded. The thing is, you didn’t exist as merely a boy of temporary romantic interest in my mind, but as a person I was fascinated by in general. Unfortunately, it seems that people don’t often distinguish between the two. My hair was shorter than yours back then, I wonder how it compares now.
Just a dance – nothing really happened between us, but at times, I wish something did. You’re a really cool dude.
Not quite sure what went down, but I remember us drifting apart, which sucked in more ways than one. But I’m really glad we’re cool now. Despite our banter over various social issues or whether or not I’m keen on recognizing myself being manipulated by sleazy dudes, I appreciate and care about you a whole lot. You deserve the best, pal.
I’ve said it already, but I really apologize for my reaction to your kind words. I know we’ve never been on bad terms, but that was just so bad… Like MTV-cliché-bad.
Gosh, that was a weird place for me. As much as I feel obligated to harness some measure of guilt for dropping whatever that was so quickly, I don’t, considering you were dishonest about some pretty essential things from the start of it. It’s a good thing I wasn’t in too deep; I was just lonely at that point, and I realized the fact soon after and called it quits. I think you believed you were into me, but I also think you were just excited like I was – another justification for my not-feeling-so-bad-about-it.
The handful of days we spent together were dream-like, to say the least. Granted, I was pretty nervous, so conversation was minimal after that first night under a shooting-starlit sky during which we spilled feelings and insecurities and things of the like. I still wonder why you went about it the way you did. It hurt for a long time, but I’ve grown somewhat accustomed to open ends by now. Our little story is now just another reason for my half-joking cynicism towards romance.
It’s hard to explain the way that I am, and the fact of the matter is, you didn’t stick around long enough to grow to understand or accept it. Not to place the blame on you, it’s just that the people who know me best are well-adjusted to my occasional unavailability and closed-offness. It’s just a trait of mine, I guess. But I can see why it could be offensive and why you’d see no other option than to cut the ties, seeing as I didn’t exactly reciprocate the affection you showed me. But I hope you know that even though the romantic aspect of it wasn’t mutual, the appreciation of character certainly was. I can say whole-heartedly that I have yet to encounter a soul as genuine, open, and lively as yours, or one that is as welcoming to growth and intuition. I hope that I never made you feel undervalued. You truly are an exquisitely conscious being.
Sorry I bust out of things so quickly. I’ve realized that commitment isn’t too consistent with me from situation to situation (especially in times of emotional strain). But I’ve definitely been making efforts to make clear my unwavering appreciation for your individualism, kindness, and wit, among your many other qualities to which I hope you’ve been catching on.
It was way too much, too fast. And in the exhilaration of it all, I wasn’t seeing straight. In retrospect, I don’t know how I thought I’d be able to keep that going, especially amidst my emotional oscillations and the chaos of senior year. I’m sorry, I really am, for any pain I may have caused you, directly or indirectly. I hope by now you can grasp that by the end, I didn’t feel heard at all, and after so many attempts at reconciliation and mutual understanding, the best thing I could do for myself in the situation was to walk away. Now, I ask that you respect that. Talk to people about it if you need to, but please, please respect my privacy and space. Again, I apologize if my choices induced hurt; that was never my intention.
Don’t be sorry. The whole thing so accurately captured the teenage recklessness I’d been seeking at the time that I can’t help but cherish that memory, no matter how messy/embarrassing.
Until we meet again,
Lauren, lil bean, LBN, whatever you refer(red) to me as
(P.S. If you happen to stumble across this mess, think you may recognize yourself, and want to clarify anything or simply catch up, know that I’m diggity down, and that I conclude this post with an open heart and a mind that is [mostly] at ease.)