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When In Love

Movies and books tend to make you believe that there is one person that you are supposed to be with in this universe. Fate will lead you to them and you will fall in love and your life will be perfect.

We read and watch the fairytale endings and wish that at some point we would have that type of life.  If anything it makes us long for the romance and the passion of that life.  I have written recently about passion and emotion and continuing that theme I decided to write about love.

I grew up the youngest of four boys. My brother closest in age to me had a personality larger than life. He was in the popular crowd, played all the popular sports and had a disease that everyone felt bad about him. I was jealous of his popularity but content with my life. I lived in his shadows, I was always junior to him, even my nickname became a play on his name followed by junior.

When I was a freshman in high school he was a senior and took me to his parties. We got along really well but he never knew the jealousy I felt. When he graduated I was now my own person. But by sophomore year my friends and personality were already established. I was not the outgoing boisterous personality that my brother was but the shy intelligent one that sat near the back of class and never did anything to upset the norm.

I met a few friends that helped me come out of my shell but I was still living in the shadows of my brother. My first real girlfriend was a girl that I met at a party that I learned later was a complete setup. She was the first real girl that paid attention to me since I was always quiet and reserved. I remember vividly that she was dressed in a sweatshirt that was too big for her and had her hair pulled back in a tight ponytail.

We left the party together in her dad's buick, a large car that even when I sat in the front seat I could not really sit next to her. We left the party to go get whipped cream from the grocery store for my friends to suck the nitrous out of in the back seat. There were five of us and while the other three went into the store I sat with this girl and talked.

She was smart, and pretty, and smelled nice despite the fact that she was dressed for a weekend morning in doors. We talked while the others bought the whipped cream and jumped in the back seat laughing as they put the nozzles in their mouths.

We drove back to the party and talked some more.  I learned that she was at an all girl private school but still lived in our town. That her parents wanted her to go to an ivy league school and she was into drama. When I left the party I had her number and the intentions of calling her later that week.

We went out again a week later and I began to fall in love. She was my first real girlfriend but I loved everything about her, except my friends and family did not. They would say that I changed, that I became more reserved. I would ignore them and spend time with her. They would tell me that I should not be with her, that I was not happy, and I still stayed with her.  But after a bit all that started to convince me that maybe they were right.

She had skipped ahead in school and even though we were the same age she graduated before me. She left to go to Georgetown and I stayed behind to play football and lacrosse. I helped her move down to college with her brother and we left that night with the intention of staying together. I loved her more than anything but I now felt somewhat free. That maybe my friends will be happy to have me back while she and I would talk at night and share her roommate stories and stories from college.

A month into school she dropped out. I want to say it was because she was not in the program she wanted to be in but I kept thinking it was because she wanted to be with me. That was the beginning of the end for us. My friends had planted the seed that she was not meant for me and when she returned and I spent most of my senior year with her and not my friends.

She applied and got accepted to the same college I was going to and while we both thought it was going to be wonderful, I had my reservations. My brother was also at the same college so again I was in the shadow of him and now had a girl with me.

Freshman year was great for the most part, I would go out and get drunk and smoke joints and come back to her in her dorm room. We would sleep together almost every night and have sex when I was sober enough. I was a typical asshole to her. I loved her, but there was no romance or time spent watching the sunrise together or talking about books or plays or even her lead parts in the musicals the school put on. I was always drunk or high with her and she put up with me.

Sophomore year I joined a fraternity. Something that looking back I would never do again but the friends that I met there are still my friends today. We had parties. Parties that we would invite the girls to and hopefully get them drunk and hook up with. My girl would come to these parties but because she was in the drama department would bring her friends that did not really fit in with the frat life.

We would go back to my room and sleep together. I was again always drunk or high and rarely did we have sex.

One particular party I was dancing with some other girl and she wanted to have sex with me. Being drunk and pretty much an ass, I ended up sleeping with her that night. The next day was spent in a guilt ridden admission of my faults. My girlfriend and I stayed together until the end of the semester even though she knew about the other girl. By summertime we were no longer a couple.

As the saying goes, you do not know what you are missing until it is gone, and she was gone. My heart broke for her and I tried to talk to her and she had already moved on.

When I went to see her play with a dozen roses in hand and watched her kiss another guy on stage I wondered if they were a couple. It was confirmed after that they were and he was some sort of rich kid from Manhattan and I was just a drunk from Jersey.

There was no way to compete with that and I left the parking lot in a fury with tears streaming from my face and a hole in my chest.

That summer I spent with my friends from my hometown. People that had grown a bit in college and I enjoyed spending time with them. We would go out to parties and I would talk to the girls that I had crushes on and hope that we could spark something in the conversation that would fill the void.

We were all drinking over a friends one night when the girl that I used to dream about in high school walked in the door. I had not seen her since I left for college and she was even more beautiful than I remembered and I felt my heart beat a little bit faster.

We played drinking games and had some intimate conversations. These were the type of games that you try to catch the girls off guard like 'I never' or some other ones that I can not remember. I spent the night talking with her and all my childhood memories of us being together felt like a reality that night.

I spent the night on the roll out couch in the apartment sleeping next to her. We did not do anything but I thought there was a connection. I left that morning before anyone else woke up and put a note on the pillow next to her confessing my love for her and giving her my number.

I never did get a call from her and wonder if the note was shown to the rest of my friends that had spent the night and they had a good laugh over it. A few years later I read an article in the local newspaper that she had died in a car accident coming home from her apartment in Tarrytown, NY.

I cried when I saw her name and still think about her and wonder had she called me would we have been together.

Junior year in college I, as my friends put it, lost my mind. I stopped drinking, I stopped smoking, I attended plays and joined some drama classes and wanted my old girlfriend back. She had moved on and it hurt, but I was okay with that now.

I focused on my writing and my classes and brought my GPA up. I started to spend time with people that did not drink all the time and we talked about life and love and the things that matter, not about how much I threw up last night or how good the weed was that we bought in Philly.

I attended journalism conferences and met some seniors that were part of the popular kids in school and one in particular invited me out on a blind date with her friend.

I was skeptical at first because I had no idea if this was a joke or if her friend was the ugly one that they wanted to set me up with because she had no date.

When I got to the apartment and met her for the first time all I could do was smile. She had dark hair and deep blue eyes, the kind that pulled you in. I found myself staring at her not knowing what to say and I was in love again. We talked about life and family and she liked that I did not drink. Her friends came over to see how we were doing and we both laughed and smiled and could not answer.

I spent the rest of the semester with her. I took her to the plays that my old girlfriend was in but neither of us cared about that and I heard from my ex's friends that she thought the new girl looked just like her. It did not matter, I was in love again and forgot all about the first one.

When she graduated and I went with her down to Maryland to help her move out we spent the time walking around DC. Quietly we both knew that our lives were changing and neither wanted to speak about it. When she told me she was moving to Lake Tahoe with a friend we promised that we would stay together and move to San Francisco.

We left each other with that promise.

That summer I spent traveling the country for a class. Every chance that I had when I was in a some town that had a phone we talked. We talked about life and what our plans were and how we were going to be together and I spent money on a ticket to visit her.

When I went to her place in Tahoe I could tell things were already different. She was moving on and I was noticing the subtle patterns. Her bed as small so I slept on the couch and even though we had sex it was not the same.

The last day of the trip when she went off to work and left me a message I went down to the beach and sat alone watching the waves roll in and read the words.

It was a goodbye note and I knew what it meant. I was sad but not heartbroken. It was not like the first time.

She drove me to the airport in silence and we said our goodbyes on the curb and I wished her luck.

I was back to college a few weeks later and feeling a little bit more alone.

I lived with a guy that was just out of a long relationship and we joked about that. I spent most of my time with the upstairs neighbors playing poker and drinking Jack Daniels. I did not drink as much as before but I did drink again.

Over Christmas break I saw my old girlfriend on her birthday out with her family. She came over to me mad that I forgot and I looked at her and told her I still loved her even though we were not together.

She smiled and told me the same and we decided to have dinner while we were home.

We had sex again a few nights later after dinner and some Christmas shopping we were doing for our family.

We talked about our relationships since the last time we were together and laughed about the awkward situations. I told her I loved my last girlfriend more than anything but it was over. She was glad for that and even though we were not really together we had sex any time we could.

This continued throughout the semester and we both knew we were graduating. We both had relationships on the side, and I met a girl that was into me at a party and started spending time with her.

She was the president of one of the sororities and when she met me she came up took off my hat and kissed me. I could smell the beer on her lips but she was pretty and had that look in her eyes that I knew she would be fun to hang out with and so we left together that night.

We spent many more nights together but it ended as quickly as it began and I was back to sleeping with my old girlfriend.

A few weeks later we graduated from college and we all went our separate ways. I lost track of many of these girls, I lost track of the times we spent and the love that I felt for them.

I can describe to you vivid details of our times together and tell you how I felt when I was with them but I no longer feel the heartache that I did. Eventually even after once again trying to start up the relationship with my first love I moved on. I met a girl in San Francisco that I fell madly in love with and we stayed together.

And while I know that I still love her, I wonder about what could have been if any of the others had worked out. There were many more that I did not mention. Girls that I loved in between the long relationships I had. Girls that I would spend many nights with doing nothing more than talking and watching the sunrise.

Even today with a half mended heart I wonder how my life would have been had I not come back from San Francisco, had I not invited her to live with me in Utah. I know that I may have never had my beautiful daughter and that is what convinces me it was right.

It may not be fate that brought us together, perhaps dumb luck, but I would not give up any of my time to not have my daughter part of my life. Maybe my life will change again soon, maybe I will end up loving someone else or like the rest of my family much happier with their second wife. Or maybe I will stay in this relationship and make it work. That is life and while it is much different than the novels or the movies, it is what I am part of every day.


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