Think of this like a collection of tributaries flowing into a bigger river, and it’s going to flow forever. Whenever I’m faced with any kind of adversity, it seems to always come in clusters. It could just be how I perceive it, because my assumption is the majority of the time I have an issue in need of being dealt with, it’s once at a time and generally infrequently. It’s easier to isolate one thing than having to compete with multiple forces at once.
The first time I was ever challenged, like really challenged, is well documented on here. To put it in basic math terms, I imagine off-hand that I’ve exhausted roughly 25% of the total words on this blog on three things: losing love, losing my best friend, and leaving Virginia Tech to return home to California. Those each transpired within a six-week wrinkle in time when I was 19. Having experienced it, nothing hurts anymore.
It’s been six whole years, and nothing before or since that transient stretch even remotely parallels the hardship I felt as the young, naïve child I was then. This isn’t that, but it is something.
My best friend is marrying the best friend of my ex-girlfriend, so I’m like 99.9% sure I’ll be seeing her for the wedding next month. She lives in Texas now, and has for awhile, and I haven’t seen her since Christmas of 2012… almost three years. We had patchy, on-again-off-again communication between 2010-’13, but I made some awful decisions in how I treated her at times, and as each other’s first love there seemed to be an invisible, unspoken wall that kept us apart. Within that wall exists the intense feelings of love we once shared, the pride we didn’t let go of, and the silence from a failed dream we tried to make come true.
All along this was the reality: Trey got engaged in December, 2013, and from that point a collision course with my ex-girlfriend was in route. There was and is nothing I can do to about it.
It may sound petty. I mean… one could easily be reading this and ask If you haven’t seen or spoken to her in so long, why is it such a big deal? And that’s a totally fair assessment. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade convincing myself that I’ve broken through the threshold where childhood meets becoming a grown man in the world, but it’s times like this where I feel most like a child. Out of control and helpless.
This was all my doing to begin with, of course, so I’ve really no one to blame but myself. I remember one afternoon a couple days before she moved to Texas, her and I were lying face-to-face on her bed. Even though we both knew the reality of the situation we tried to make the best of it while we still had the chance. So I asked her:
“If it was up to you, would you be leaving?”
She didn’t verbalize her response. Instead tears started running as she looked at me, cupping her hand over my mouth because she was probably afraid I asked too loud and her mom was around. These are the quiet moments that meant everything. And unless my memory slips drastically, I will never forget that day.
A week later, she was gone and we broke up.
This set in motion the cluster fuck six weeks that ended up consciously affecting me for the next year and a half. It took a long time to get out of that existential coma, and once I emerged I realized I was in it in the first place. If only I ‘d known how simple it all could have been…
Ultimately, time moves forward. I can’t regret my transgressions because they are what led me here, and I’m here. I’ll acknowledge a healthy amount of dumb-fuckery and poor choices of words at inopportune times, but there isn’t a doubt I’m a smarter, kinder, more tolerant person to be around having gone through it. I would give anything for the fraction of a chance to follow through with the original master plan, but if this is all I am and all I’m left with, I’m OK with the final tradeoff.
Like then, this wedding will if nothing else be another experience to learn from. I’m making it a bigger deal in my head than it is in reality, because I’m the king of prepping for the worst-case scenario. (I assume this is healthy and what most people do.)
My life is not hard. But this is important to me.