Many years have passed since I spent some time actively thinking about the relationship that used to be. With the memories resurfacing, it seems like the right time to pen my thoughts, no?
Like most bright-eyed romantics, there was a time in my life when I thought I would marry my high school sweetheart.
We didn’t fall. We jumped and dove into an unforgettable love that marks your heart, soul and mind forever.
Call it puppy love or the result of loving with no boundaries, the romance we had was real and it was ours.
We never fought, but we absolutely had our disagreements. Our disagreements turned into frustrations, which evolved into tears.
While we never raised our voices, we spoke to each other with raw passion. When we spoke out of happiness and love, the words that poured out of us echoed a would-be modern Shakespearian sonnet. During the rare moments when I spoke out of anger and frustration, I was a sharp dagger who knew how to pierce the most vulnerable areas. I would then proceed to pour salt over the fresh wounds. He was a self-proclaimed asshole. And yes, he did have his moments of asshole glory, but they were few and far between.
With the combination of our mutual family struggles and the harsh lifestyle that we all know as the high school experience, we held onto each other like a lifeline.
The first two years of our relationship were the Golden Years. It started the day I called him from the landline at home. Not having experienced the ugly side of love, I didn’t think twice to ask him how he felt about me. It was a short and sweet phone call.
“Hey, it’s me. I wanted to ask you something.”
“Do you like me?”
“Um.. What do you think?”
“Yes. I like you.”
I smiled silently, and I may or may not have done a giddy dance.
“Oh, well because I like you too. Okay, I’ll talk to you later!”
After the Golden Years, I moved 400 miles away to Orange County for school. We planned out a schedule to stay in touch and to do anything to make it work.
But we didn’t anticipate the biggest risk to all relationships.
I’ll save the excuses and justifications. Hindsight is always 20/20, so all I can say is that I didn’t try hard enough during the third year. Missing him was tough, so I fought off the anxiety and sadness of longing for someone by staying busy. And it was quite easy to achieve this feat. I was off in a new place — meeting people, actively participating in campus activities and organizations, attending classes, attempting to study, etc.
His situation was different. He was a commuter who would return home after class each day. His day-to-day was less spontaneous and less exciting. He was in a circumstance where it was easier for him to keep up his end of the bargain.
Between the end of our third year and fourth year, we were on and off. I developed feelings for people who could fill the void, thinking that this would pass.
I ended things first and even spent some time trying to date other people, but we kept in touch and in the back of my mind I thought we would still end up together.
While this period tends to be a natural turning point for all relationships, I wholeheartedly believe that it was selfish and I could have done a better job during this phase. I distracted myself with what was in front of me because I couldn’t handle the feeling of missing someone who was out of sight. On top of all this, I was not mentally or emotionally healthy — hurting from unrelated past experiences that were catching up to me. It was a recipe for disaster.
In the final year of our relationship, I refocused myself and prioritized our relationship again, but it was too late. He had grown weary and as a result, his heart hardened. And who could blame him? I had broken his heart and failed to prioritize us. It was the end, but the end didn’t sink in until one day he stopped picking up my phone calls. He stopped responding to messages and emails as if he no longer existed.
And that’s how it ended.
Our love was ahead of its time, but we were young and unprepared. While it takes two to make or break a relationship, I know that I made more mistakes and caused the grief that led to our radio silent demise.
We eventually reconnected and would occasionally chat. We never had the final conversation to debrief how things ended, partially because I didn’t want to hear it. It’s been 4 years since I’ve moved on to the point where I stopped thinking about him, but I was brought back for the first time in a long time when I heard Adele’s new single, Hello.
How she was able to take the world’s most commonly-used word to invoke nostalgia and heartache really blows my mind. But, it’s given me a chance to reflect on one of the most memorable and impactful experiences in my life. While Adele has confirmed that this song isn’t about a romantic relationship, I think it can easily apply to anyone and any relationship (self, romantic, family, etc.) so I’m taking this opportunity to share what I would’ve said if we did have our final talk.
“I’m sorry, for breaking your heart
But it don’t matter, it clearly doesn’t tear you apart anymore.”
If you’re reading this –
Hello, it’s me.
Although many years have passed, nothing will ever change the fact that you were a huge part of my life and that you had a strong role in the person I am as I write this. The learnings from our relationship have made me a better person, a greater friend and a stronger significant other in my current romantic relationship and, if any, future relationships to come.
I’m grateful that we occasionally chat about music and update each other on our lives. Thank you for being a positive impact in my life and for teaching me all that I know about love.