I don’t want to start this whole thing off on the wrong foot, but there’s no better way of saying it. My high school days were probably different than yours. You see, I went to a boarding school. And no, it wasn’t because my family was rich or anything. And it wasn’t because I was that bad boy who got sent off to military school either. The truth is a lot less cool…and boring. It was a religious school and I come from a religious family.
Lack of excitement in backstory aside, it’s not like my days were filled with prayer vigils and hymn singing. It was a high school. The main difference was: I just so happened to live there.
What this means is that I spent every waking hour with my classmates. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between was with those same folks I would sit next to during Algebra, English, and Health classes. Obviously, there were some great aspects to this. For instance, I never had to ask my parents if I could head over to [insert friend’s name here] to play video games. No, I just walked down to their room and knocked.
As I’m sure you’ve already guessed, there were some negative aspects to this arrangement as well. Since there was no home life, there really was no good way to keep everyone from knowing everything about you. You couldn’t harbor a secret obsession with My Little Pony and get away with it. You couldn’t go home and hug your mommy when you had a bad day. And if you liked someone, it was known by every single person in the entire school before lunch.
Speaking of which, the whole school consisted of less than one hundred people, freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors included. So, when I say gossip traveled quickly, I’m not exaggerating. If someone caught a glimpse of your Superman underoos at 9am, you would be forever more known as SuperRoo by 10.
Needless to say, the stakes on sticking your neck out in my school were pretty large with even the most minor of high school offenses. I also just so happened to be a nerd which meant I had to be cautious about everything. And the idea of me liking anyone out of my league, which was pretty much everyone, was an incredibly risky situation.
I spent a lot of time ignoring any feelings I might have had for anyone. The stakes were too high. If I came out as a contender too early, while still appearing to be nothing more than a nerd, I could have risked ending my career as a boyfriend in the school early. And as a young awkward teenage male, well, I really wanted to be a boyfriend. Well, maybe not a boyfriend as much as a boy with a girl he could, you know, touch and stuff.
But I did finally step out on a limb and officially entered the dating game during my second year. A girl I had met in summer camp a few years prior was a freshman and we instantly hit it off. We started dating shortly after the school year began.
Things were going pretty well, I think. We hit a bit of a snafu when I found out we were second cousins, but I’m sure we could have even made it through that if it weren’t for the fact that this was the precise same time when I met The Girl of My Dreams.
I still remember the first time I laid eyes on The Girl of My Dreams. Well, considering she was best friends with my girlfriend of the time and I had been dating this girl for a couple months already, it probably wasn’t the first time I had actually seen The GOMD, but it was the first time I remember noticing her. So perhaps it would be better to state that I still remember the first time I noticed the GOMD. It’s hazy. I don’t remember it quite like it was yesterday. But it was a life-changing moment.
Okay, life-changing is probably going a bit overboard, I’ll admit it. Look, it meant something at the time, I’m sure. And it led me down a long path of unrequited love. A path that is causing me to tell you this story in the first place, so if you’re going to get all bogged down in the semantics of my exposition, it might be time to turn away now, because I can assure you it ain’t getting any better from here on out. If you leave now, you’ll get a simple story of “Nerdy Boy Finds Cute Chick Attractive”, as opposed to the truth of what would happen.
So, where was I? Oh yeah…
There she was, in the arms of her boyfriend of the time, me standing awkwardly beside my girlfriend of the time. Then we locked eyes. I swear I was looking at her eyes.
“Hi,” she said, as she rolled a wad of green chewing gum around on her tongue.
“Hi,” I said, trying to find a way to show that my current relationship wasn’t very serious, which was difficult because Current Girlfriend was holding my hand like I might run away at any second.
“Nice shoes,” she replied, pointing to my boring black flip flops.
I attempted my best version of a cool shrug and stammered, “I like your hair.” It was red. Well, reddish anyways.
“Yeah? I was thinking about going blonde next.”
“Cool,” I shrugged again. Was I shrugging too much? Probably. How much shrugging can you do before cool turns into twitchy?
“Hey,” CG cut in. I blinked rapidly, suddenly remembering she was there. She wrapped her arms around me and began talking. I’m not sure if this was a move of claiming territory or simply an awkward high school display of affection. “Do you two want to come to the mall with us later today? We were thinking about watching a movie.”
“Um, yeah, I’d love to go.” I caught myself mid-shrug, figuring the non-committal response would be enough to show I was being cool about the whole thing.
“Uh, of course you’re coming,” CG said with a great deal of unanticipated sassiness. “I was asking GOMD and HB [Her Boyfriend] if they wanted to come with us.”
“Oh,” I shrugged again, this time not even aware I was doing it. “Yeah, I know. I was just making a joke, you big dummy.” I lightly punched her in the shoulder. She looked at me angrily. I cowered in fear.
“I think we’re going out to pick out some new jeans for HB,” GOMD replied. “Not sure we’ll be able to make the movie, but maybe we’ll see you out there.”
“Sounds like a plan,” I said with a wink and a finger-gun. I instantly gave myself a mental pummeling as I recognized I was doing it.
GOMD stepped closer to me and looked deep in my eyes. Her head cocked quizzically. I found my heart racing in response to this sudden attention.
Then she said them. The life-altering words which would forever imprint this moment upon me.
“Do you know you have a lisp?”
Can I first say that no other person in my entire life has ever pointed out my inability to articulate sibilants? Not one. None before that moment and none after. So, not only was I blindsided by this idea that I might have a speech impediment, but it also came out of the girl I had just put all of my future plans for admiration behind. I remember spending the entire rest of the day walking around the mall and saying words with S’s in them. I very quickly realized she was right. Or, had she just cursed me with the inability to speak clearly, seeing as I had been completely oblivious to this fact until that very moment? Fifteen years, I had been unaware of my own sigmatism. It seems probable that it was a new development.
Side note: Words like sibilants, sigmatism, and lisp should not be attached to this particular ailment.
Needless to say, The GOMD had already made a lasting impression on me. There hasn’t been a day since that one where I haven’t been acutely aware of how my extra-large tongue likes to work against me.
In spite of this life-changing moment, things actually did begin to look up shortly after it occurred. Things between me and CG ended around the same time The GOMD was freed from the tyranny of that guy I still hate. We were both single. And we had started this odd daily ritual of hugging each other upon first sight (something I still don’t fully understand, but don’t regret). AND a mutual friend invited us both to hang at her house for the upcoming three-day weekend.
I was over the moon. It would be just the three of us, all hanging out at the same house, for three whole days. Since it was me and two girls, I knew this had nothing but “Amazing Weekend” written all over it. It had to. Right?
As the fated moment grew near, I became more and more eager, knowing this would be the time where I would finally be able to make my move. Knowing she was obviously working toward that same end goal. She had to have been, right? How else would this amazing weekend opportunity of awesomeness have come about, if she hadn’t been the one orchestrating it?
A few days later, I made it down to breakfast, something I rarely did due to how early 6am was (and still is) and found an open spot available next to The GOMD. I’d love to say that I merely sat drooling obsessively over her throughout the meal, but seriously, I wasn’t that pathetic, just smitten. However, even the power of The GOMD couldn’t win out over my need for sleep, especially since this was a year or two before I discovered (and then immediately became addicted to) coffee.
I can’t even pretend there was some sort of cute awkward conversation that occurred between us, because more than likely I stared at the wall as I slowly attempted to eat the multi-colored circles of cereal I most often ate when I did make it to breakfast. Seriously, 6am was (and is) too early.
There really is only one reason I remember this moment existed at all and that is that this was the morning she handed me a note (you know, those handwritten things folded up into impossibly tiny shapes with doodles all over the outside) and asked if I would deliver it to a classmate of mine when I returned to the boys’ dormitory.
The early morning didn’t help anything, but my first reaction was nothing. Without question, I accepted the task, being the helpful guy I am. It wasn’t until the meal was over and I had made the walk back up the hill to where I slept that my brain started questioning the activities of the past thirty minutes.
“Why is she writing notes to someone else?” I muttered to myself in confusion. “I know we’re not dating, but this weekend…”
“Actually,” I thought, “maybe that’s exactly what this is about. Maybe she wants to check to see if my friend has any details about how I felt about the weekend.”
As I walked up the stairs to my room, my heart began beating out of my chest.
“In my hands, I could be holding the very proof I need that she’s interested in me!” My brain was in overdrive.
I needed to know. There were so many variables. I had kept my infatuation a secret, meaning that although the person this note was intended to was someone I might have considered a friend, he definitely wouldn’t be aware of my attraction. And should this be a question to know if she was going to get anything from me over the course of the weekend, well, he might answer no.
He most definitely would answer no and I would have lost the very opportunity I needed to actually start this relationship I had been working on trying to start for so long—
Of course, on the other side of the coin, what if I was wrong? What if this really was a note about math homework or something and not about me at all? I can’t open up to my friend about this interest I have only for the note to be about homework. It could ruin everything if news of my love gets out early. Everything!
A struggle began building inside me. There were too many things up in the air, too many variables that could lead to absolute ruin. I knew it was wrong, but I had only one option.
I slipped into my room, closed the door, and huddled in my closet as I fumbled to open the piece of paper and find out what the note was about.
“Dear Person Who Used to be Adam’s Friend,
I wish I was able to spend the weekend with you instead of going to Other Friend’s house. It’s going to be so boring there—“
I didn’t need to read any further. My heart fell.
Sure, it was true we hadn’t really moved onto the exciting part of our relationship yet. I like to let things percolate a bit before I move in for the strike, so, you know, there was a lot of groundwork being laid. But this seemed like a message of death.
I immediately told myself that it wasn’t as bad as it looked.
Until I realized that she was comparing a weekend with me to a weekend with PWUTBAF.
What was up with that? I had never even seen them together! Had they been going around behind my back? Did he not know that she was the girl of MY dreams?
I wanted to give PWUTBAF an earful. I wanted to give The GOMD an earful.
Of course, neither of them even knew I was interested.
And more importantly, I shouldn’t even have been reading this note.
More importantly, if The GOMD were to find out that I was reading a note she had written for someone else, it would certainly ruin what little we had going for us already.
I carefully folded the note up to as close of an approximation of its initial folding as possible and placed it under PWUTBAF’s door.
Not much changed immediately following the moment with the note. I skipped out on the planned weekend. Something about it seemed tainted, which I’m sure doesn’t come as a surprise. And I wasn’t too certain I could keep quiet about the note.
I attempted to put some space between us, which was difficult, considering the daily hug ritual and how the daily life in our school generally worked. I mean, we slept in buildings that were only a hundred yards apart from each other. Space wasn’t really in the cards.
Summer was approaching soon, which might offer the needed opportunity for distance. She lived in Minnesota, while I lived in South Carolina. I figured that a summer apart might be just what this relationship needed in order to reboot. I knew it was a long shot, but, well, you know how infatuation goes, right?
Then, one day, out of the blue, she came running toward me with an enormous smile covering her face. She wrapped her arms around me and held on tight. Yeah, we had our daily hugs, but this was different. It was like she was excited to see me or something. Had my plan really worked? I wasn’t even sure I had been able to enact it yet.
“You’ll never guess what just happened,” she exclaimed.
“What?” I said.
“My dad just got offered a job in Columbia!”
“What?” I repeated.
“My dad just—“
“No, I heard you, just…wow. Really?”
“Yep. He just told me on the phone less than five minutes ago.”
“In South Carolina?”
“Yeah, dummy. Of course.”
“Awesome, right? Now we’ll be able to spend all summer together. Isn’t that just amazing?”
“Yeah,” I agreed. And it was. Sure, it went completely against my plans for getting some distance to allow the heart to grow fonder or whatever, but a whole summer together? Without all the rest of these people from school around? Without PWUTBAF around… This was obviously a sign.
“He hasn’t taken the job yet,” she added. “But how cool would it be if he did?”
“Yeah,” I shrugged. Just go with it. Shrugging was my thing now. “That would be cool, I guess.”
“Yeah, right?” she smiled and pulled me in for another hug.
He did take the job and I spent the rest of the school year on cloud nine. She would be moving right away at the start of the summer. Even better than that, she would be living just slightly over a mile away from my parents. It’s crazy, right? Almost unbelievably crazy, right?
Believe me, that’s exactly what I thought.
All doubts I had regarding the Fates which would bring me and The GOMD together were completely dissolved. This truth was unquestionable. We were meant to be together.
The rest of the school year flew by like a dream. I remember spending hours sitting out under the spring sun talking about how our summers could be entwined. She would ask me at length about all the things there were to do there. I would sit and wonder how I could possibly have gotten so lucky.
And then summer came. Things started off with a bang. I met her parents the day they moved in and we immediately hit things off. Her mother would tell me how my hugs were the best she’d ever had. Her father told me I was the only person he was going to allow to drive his daughter anywhere. Look at that, I had already nailed the ‘meeting the parents’ part of the job description.
Even better, I had a job working at a grocery store and she got a job working at a fast food restaurant which just so happened to be located on the way.
Every day I would stop by on my way to work and buy lunch. I told her it was where I had always stopped to eat. Didn’t want her to think I was going too far out of my way to see her, right? Gotta keep it cool. To be honest, I had never eaten there before. The milkshakes I told her were the best you could find were, at best, okay. There were much better places for me to eat a greasy lunch, but that didn’t stop me from eating there every day for the summer.
And every day, as I made my way down the road to see her, I would consider how I could make that day the one. The one where I would finally end all this foolishness and make our relationship official.
There was only one possible way to seal the deal, of course. A kiss.
“Perhaps I’ll pull her over the front counter as she hands me my milkshake, our lips will lock, and things will be irreversibly changed.”
“It’s raining out. What’s more romantic than pulling up to the drive-thru window and reaching through in the pouring rain to share that first kiss?”
And each time I left to continue on my way to work, I would mentally berate myself for not following through, visualizing the multitude of moments where I could have made things happen, but ultimately couldn’t pull the trigger.
Every day was the same. Except the one where my visualizing the prior few minutes caused me not to visualize the present.
WHAM! A car plowed into the front of my parents’ van when I attempted to take a left onto a busy highway, apparently unaware of the vehicle headed in my direction. In shock, I watched it hit another car headed in the opposite direction.
No one was hurt. I promise this was the first thing I looked into.
All I remember is how I sat on the sidewalk and feared. I feared that the GOMD could see me and my traveling difficulties, considering how my vehicle sat immediately in front of her eating establishment. I feared my traffic violation might end her father’s faith in me. I feared that this one moment had ruined everything.
As you might have expected, the accident didn’t play much into anything. I’m not sure my status as approved chauffeur changed at all and I’m also not sure The GOMD even made any real reference to the accident, outside of noting how her and her fellow co-workers had seen that something had happened and were concerned about anyone getting hurt.
Again, I want to note that no one was injured, at least not seriously. Although I still can’t imagine how.
But this is about me and The GOMD. And when it comes down to that, the next piece of important knowledge is that I actually got a date! Like, a real date, or at least that’s how I saw it, you know, at the movie theater and everything.
It was a pretty big deal in my mind. Yet, in reality, here’s how the actual act of getting the date probably went:
“Hey, there’s this movie that I kinda want to see. Want to go with me?” That was me.
“Yeah, sure, I’m free on Friday.”
So, the day of the movie arrived and we decided to hit up the food court at the mall in order to eat a little something before the flick started. Fast food is always the way to a woman’s heart, right?
As we sat eating our sandwiches, we had the chance to catch up a bit. My life had become a bit more hectic after the accident, due to things like having to take a defensive driving course and making sure I could get to work without the vehicle I had been using. I hadn’t really seen much of her throughout most of the summer by this point.
Somehow, the conversation transitioned over to something of a more personal nature.
“I just wish I could find a nice guy who is also cute, you know?” Is it not obvious that this is her talking? “My sisters always get the cute guys. I always end up with the ugly jerks.”
At this point, I felt quite tongue-tied. I’m not saying I’m beautiful or anything. I think I’m about a foot too short for that. But I don’t think I’m unattractive. And if there’s one thing my track record says for me, it’s that I’m nice…possibly too nice when it comes to my interactions with women.
Instead, my response was something more akin to, “Really? I’d think you would find all sorts of attractive guys.”
And then she shrugged off the comment and we continued on our merry way to the movie.
Don’t get me wrong, I totally recognized the possibility that the comment about finding a nice cute guy could be a lead in for me. Even knowing that I was suffering from a bad case of being stuck in the friend zone, I saw the possibility there and I prayed for it to be true.
Going into the theater, I knew this might be my one chance. Theaters are a pretty spectacular place for getting things started. There you are, just sitting alone in the dark, right next to each other. There are all sorts of possibilities. I set my sights low. I figured that if I could just get her hand in mine, everything would fall into place the way it should.
So, I put my mind to the task. The movie started, I made sure to leave her the arm rest. What better way to get the hand in grabbing position than to have it on the rest, right? She…well, she didn’t take it.
Well, not right away.
I kept watching the damned arm rest and when she finally did take it, I had already lost my nerve. If she had any interest in me grabbing her hand so she could learn how intensely sweaty my palms were (it’s a medical condition, I promise), then she definitely would have put her hand there right off the bat, right?
So, there it was, just sitting there for me to grab. I couldn’t do it.
Want to know what I actually did?
It’s embarrassing, really.
I mean, like, really embarrassing.
Considering I couldn’t grab her hand and all.
I’m really not sure I should even tell you.
Okay, fine…I put my head on her shoulder.
It really probably doesn’t seem that bad in that framework. Sure, I was touching her. It was mildly intimate. But here’s the thing. We were in old school theater seats. Those arm rests didn’t go up. The only way in which I could put my head on her shoulder was through the most obscene position possible.
And I’m sure she noticed.
I was practically horizontal in my seat, all for the purposes of copping out on a handhold and putting my head on her shoulder.
The disappointment was palpable. But I had made the move already. I couldn’t really get out of it easily without appearing disinterested, right? She had accepted the move. Leaned into it even. But there was no possible way that she saw this as anything more than a pathetic attempt at friendliness.
And I still didn’t grab the damned hand.
Alright, so the movie thing didn’t turn out as bad as I had feared. I had managed to show her in some way that I was interested in her and she hadn’t immediately turned me down. Things were looking okay.
Not great, but okay.
The end of summer was quickly approaching and I knew my options were disappearing fast. If I didn’t somehow manage to seal the deal before summer was over, she would be back in the world of people she knew, back where her options for mates were much greater. And I would be back to being nothing but a friend. If even that, after the movie fiasco.
Here’s where I managed my greatest feat. I’m still not even sure how it worked out. I’m guessing she was more instrumental in its happening than I was. But, we finally decided, a few weeks before school started, to sneak out of our houses after our families had gone to sleep and meet up at the football field that was the precise mid-point between our homes.
I was in!
There was no doubt about it. I! WAS! IN!
Here was the plan. After our parents were down and out, we would hit each other up through instant messenger stating as much and then head down to the field.
It was simple. So simple.
There was absolutely no possible way in which this wouldn’t work out without me landing a girlfriend by the end of it. Or at least a story I could be proud of.
The time came and we were off. That walk to the field, which was only about half a mile, had my heart racing like it had never done before. She was so definitely into me. There wasn’t a chance she wasn’t. She wanted this. She wanted to meet at the football field after dark. What other possible choice could there be?
Only question now was, how would I start it? Would I just start the whole thing off with a big kiss, or would I move in slowly, perhaps a hug that led to a handheld walk around the nearby woods?
Let’s just say that I had countless itineraries laid out for how I could cause this to progress.
Not a single one of them happened.
Here’s what did happen:
We got there. We greeted each other with the standard hug. We sat down at the bleachers and started talking.
One of us (I’m sure it was her) suggested we sit in the middle of the field to check out the stars. We did.
Okay, I should probably focus on that a bit. We literally wrestled. We were rolling around in the grass on top of each other.
Let that bounce around in your brain a bit. We were rolling around in the grass. And it was nothing more than flirtatious goofiness. Nothing.
She managed to use the wrestling to get herself in a position where she was actually straddling me, with me laying on my back on the grass. The image is burnt into my mind. This was the moment. Out of all the hundreds, nay thousands, of moments I had seen where I could seal this whole thing with a kiss, this was the one. I remember so few things about my attempts to garner The GOMD’s attempt as vividly as this one precise moment.
The moment where we stopped wrestling and just looked into each other’s eyes. I swear I was looking at her eyes.
And I remember absolutely nothing else about our time on the field. Not a single thing.
Not because, you know, cool things happened and I just don’t want to mention them. No, because I didn’t make the one single obvious move that should have happened right at that very second. I chickened the hell out and, well, there was no point in my brain even operating any more. It was over.
I do believe that our time out ended quite shortly after that moment. We both went our separate ways, probably enjoying another one of those stupid hugs.
And I was at home.
Behind my computer.
Cursing myself for my damned insecurities in something that even I knew was a certain thing. I mean, it was certain, right? Obviously the whole reason I chickened out was because I was still afraid of being rejected. Maybe I had noticed something, something that said that this was just one of the weirdest events in Friend Zone history.
Then a little window popped up on my computer screen. A message from The GOMD.
“Was it just me, or were you expecting something more to happen tonight, too?”
I had failed. This much I knew. School started back up and all I could think about was the fact that I had somehow completely and utterly failed in the one goal I had for myself for those three months.
And now I had to go back to a school year knowing that news would get around.
I felt pathetic.
Then I got a bright idea. You see, my birthday happens to be right at the start of the school year. The first weekend of school, that particular year. And I knew just what I could do to make things happen.
It wasn’t uncommon for students to rent out a hotel room and throw a party for their birthdays. A chaperone was to be present at all times, of course. And I knew that if I were to throw a party, this would be the exact moment in which I could express my love for The GOMD and since it was my birthday, she would have to be willing to forgive my failures over the course of the summer and give it a try. After all, I knew she was interested. What else could that message have meant, right? I’ll admit right now that I was a little too naïve to even consider the idea that she was just looking for a fling.
So, the party was set and since it was the start of the school year, it quickly became something of note around the school. I invited every single person I could and made sure The GOMD promised me she would be there.
And although there was the whole standard sitcom process of waiting until the last second to arrive, she did make it. And, just like in those sitcoms, she almost as quickly decided that she had other things to do.
I stopped her. In my first act of almost a year of being in love with this girl, I actually used some willpower and actually made her stay for a minute and talk to me.
“So, um, I know I kind of screwed up that whole thing at the field,” I said, forcing myself to actually be honest here.
“Don’t worry about it. It just wasn’t meant to be.”
“But I want it to be. I was just scared or something that you didn’t like me back.”
“Don’t worry about it, Adam. It’s all in the past.”
“But, GOMD, I don’t want it to be in the past, I want it to be in the future.”
“Yeah,” she replied in a way that showed she had absolutely no idea of how to respond to such a plea.
“I’m just saying that I’d like to start dating. I really like you.”
“So, will you?”
“Will I what?”
“Date me? You know, like boyfriend and girlfriend? We don’t have to call it that or anything if you don’t want—“
“I don’t know, Adam. I had just—“
“Can’t we just give it a try?”
“I really don’t know. School just started again, things are all up in the air, I really just don’t—“
“Okay, maybe in a couple weeks then, when you get more situated? I can wait a couple weeks.”
“For me? Why would you want to wait a couple weeks for me?”
“Because I like you.”
“Yeah, you said that.”
“I’m just saying, maybe we can hold it off, but still give it a try.”
“I just don’t know, Adam.”
“You want to think about it?”
“I guess so, sure. Why don’t we think about it?”
“Okay, I’ve got to go, okay?”
And that was, quite possibly, the last I talked to her in any real capacity for years.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame her a bit. That conversation was quite possibly the most awkward conversation I have ever had and I’ve had hundreds of awkward conversations.
It wasn’t just awkward because of the words and the failed emotions going on. No, you see, she had arrived at the party with PWUTBAF. Part of the reason I was so forward with her for the first time ever is that I could see how obvious it was that a relationship was blooming between them already and I had no choice but to make my move.
Another part of the reason it was so awkward, was because it was happening in the middle of a party in a small hotel room, with all of my friends watching…
My relationship history is filled with moments like these, moments where I would latch onto someone and be completely incapable of telling them how I feel about them. That’s not to say I didn’t have my fair share of relationships. Heck, I’m very happily married right now with three kids and, well, things just keep looking up on that front.
But me and The GOMD were just not meant to be. I’ve accepted that. This isn’t a story trying to tell you how maybe someday Fate will step in and make things better. No. This is a story telling you that sometimes Fate just wants to play with your heart in order to show you how absolutely pathetic you truly are.
Of course, the story didn’t end at the birthday party. Shortly after that event, I did get myself into a bit of a relationship, one that lasted for years, one that I was certain would end in marriage, even. But you know how those high school deals go.
Yet, for years the idea of this moment I had shared with The GOMD, a moment that could have changed the course of my life, stuck with me. And there were many times where I thought things might still work out. We did, after all, still have our summers together.
But things were never quite the same.
Then, suddenly, my high school relationship ended, years after I was out of high school. And at the same time I heard she was getting divorced. I’m not an opportunist, I promise. I didn’t think that I could use this terrible moment in her life in order to live out some high school fantasy of my own. Well, I mean, there was probably some part of me who considered that, let’s be honest, but seriously, I felt bad for her. I promise.
By this point, I had moved to Wisconsin and she was living full time in South Carolina. On a whim, powered heavily by a few bottles of Wisconsin’s finest, I called her up one night, figuring we had similar woes to commiserate over.
And it was really awesome. We hadn’t really talked in years, nothing really since that night on the football field. Yet, somehow, things immediately picked up again. It was pretty great. We talked for hours, the entire time both of us drinking our cares away. Things felt like they were actually going to go somewhere of worth.
And as luck would have it, I was destined to head home for my sister’s wedding a few weeks after that talk.
My hopes weren’t high, but there was definitely a feeling of Fate coming into play again.
There was an additional element at play, however; one that Fate might have had a hand in as well. The High School Sweetheart was in the wedding. And we had bought our plane tickets before the breakup, meaning we would be spending a lot of time together.
I still remember the first moment of seeing GOMD when I got to the church for the wedding. We had a lovely little chat. She even tried convincing me to move home again.
By this point, I had already spent several hours cramped up in a plane beside HSS and my mind was on other things.
Other things which led to finally getting that kiss on that football field. Just with the wrong girl.
That’s right. As with so many failed relationships before me, I made the mistake of going home with the bridesmaid who had already told me she wasn’t interested.
And the birthday following that? The HSS called me up to go out and have dinner together, just the two of us.
So she could tell me she had been seeing other guys.
My life’s pretty cyclical like that.
Thank God, I found the woman who would become my wife. We’ve stayed away from all football fields so far, outside of the gift shop at Lambeau.