Re-Evaluating a Situation

The Urban Dictionary defines “the one who got away” as: 1. The mate from a past relationship or friendship who, in the present reality, seems the ideal match, if it weren’t for some force beyond your control, fate or otherwise, keeping you apart.

Or…2. In virtually any context, someone you meet and share a significant encounter with who holds qualities akin to “the one” but for circumstance sake you are separated from; always after the fact.

My relationship with David was a continuous string of awkward moments and unabashed flirting but we never got it off the ground. Whether because of interference from our Greek community or my involvement with Lennon,* something kept us from acting on our mutual attraction, which was always physical but also more than physical.

David and I connected. We just vibed together, for lack of a better term. We were awkward together but in a weirdly comfortable way. We were comfortable being awkward in one another’s presence.

For four years, we danced around each other and around the elephant that followed us from room to room and never did anything about it. After I graduated and moved on, I asked a mutual friend about a rumor I’d heard that David was dating another friend. The friend told me he wasn’t seeing anyone; that he was more or less married to his work, but I should give him a call sometime. Implying that there might be a chance we could give the whole thing a real go.

I didn’t call.

In recent years, I filed David away under “the one who got away,” and resolved that I’d probably never know for sure what kept us apart or if we ever could have made anything work.

I had kind of just started healing from the destructive and resolute ending to my relationship with Israel when Cameron came back into my life. But before he resurfaced my subconscious had given him a lot of advertising space. The dreams ranged from mundane and pedestrian to surreal and unsettling – nightmares, almost, for someone less inclined to glean enjoyment from such things. For whatever reason, my brain chose to alleviate some of the pain in my heart by replacing Israel with someone … less threatening?

For the last few weeks, I’ve been nursing a newly broken heart. This project has everything and nothing at all to do with that. The initial idea was to exorcise the old ghosts from the attic to make room for a new romance (novel). Because someone suggested that I had been through enough romantic trials that I could probably write a riveting romance. However, in working through these stories, one name keeps coming up.

Anyone who has been following along has probably noticed that Cameron has taken the reins more often than anyone else from my past. Cameron and I had some noteworthy moments but David and I did as well. And Israel and I had every intention of living together after I graduated. But it’s Cameron that keeps taking center stage. It is Cameron who took over when I set about creating a playlist to inspire these stories (that playlist is currently devoted to him and him alone). And just as he did when I was rebuilding from the destruction left by Hurricane Israel, he has been battling Micah for control of my dreams and my subconscious.

My dreams often function as conduits for messages I need to hear. The only thing I’ve been able to determine from Cameron’s sudden and very present presence in my recent dreams is that maybe I had been wrong all along. Maybe David wasn’t “the one who got away.” I mean, the exact wording of the phrase indicates (cue epic orchestral swell) there can be only one who got away and as I am a person prone to over-complication of otherwise simple matters, I find myself in a position to choose the ONE. But when the chips are down and my heart aches, my brain offers me Cameron – not David, not Alan, not Lennon, Cameron – as a consolation prize. Crazy, gorgeous, punk rock Cameron. Maybe that answers all of the questions for me.

* I promise that I will get to the Lennon saga, eventually. It’s just really heavy stuff and not something I’m ready to lay out in black and white, just yet.

Fixed Points in Time

“I wanted to ask if you wanted me to stay but I didn’t want people – or you – to think it was because you were drunk.”

Time travelers talk about fixed points; times and events in history that can not be changed. In working through this blog, I have come across a few of those moments. Moments when something happened and I can trace the butterfly effect through the rest of my timeline.

I was in my first apartment. Technically, a townhouse. It was student housing on the university campus but, for the most part, we had all the freedoms we would have had in a regular apartment. Read: we could have parties. With alcohol. And we did. For my 22nd birthday, my roommates and I hosted a blowout. It didn’t start out that way but it definitely ended that way. The first people – Cameron – crossed the threshold between 9 and 10pm and the last one – Cameron – left after 3am.

I had thought I had a pretty good handle on things… until I saw pictures and there were people I didn’t remember being there. But I was proud of the fact that there was no drama, no tears, no fighting. We lost one of my roommates, a couple of times, but every time we found her again and returned her to her bed.

Cameron was one of the first people through the door that night. I had already started drinking at dinner with my roommates and I was ready for more. This little Irish girl is a walking stereotype. Or was. When I was doing it regularly, I could put away my weight in whiskey. Or rum or vodka. And I had all three lined up that night.

I am not sure, exactly, when the liquid courage kicked in but at some point, early in the night, I poured my heart out to Cameron. I confessed the crush I’d had on him since the first time we met, two years before. To which he blithely replied that he knew.

Years later, when we were waist deep in whatever long distance relationship mess we had gotten ourselves into, he told me that he had known all along that I liked him. But even with that revelation, I only recently remembered that he had told me that night.

I told you. I was several sheets to the wind at this point.

We hung out the rest of the night. Anyone who didn’t know (and some who did) wondered if we were coupling because we were together, if not physically touching, for the duration of the party. Until the last person left (before him). As things were winding down, with eight or ten people left of the sixty or more that filtered through, a couple people playing some incarnation of Mario on my roommate’s Nintendo, Cameron sat on the arm of our couch and I laid across his leg, one arm draped over and my head laying on that.

My remaining two roommates bowed out and went upstairs to their rooms. The last remaining guests filtered out the door and Cameron excused himself to the bathroom. Not quite ready to call it a night – at 3am – I set about picking up some of the big pieces. When he came back out, I told him I was going out for one last cigarette; did he want to join me? He said he’d had enough but he’d stand outside with me.

As I finished smoking, he “remembered” that he’d left his jacket inside. Back in the warmth and light of my living room, we stood facing one another, less than a foot separating us. My heart and brain – and if I’m honest, my hormones – argued over whether or not to invite him to stay.

“You’ve been stuck to him all night,” my heart said, “and he’s still here. He wants to stay.”

“You’re still drunk,” my brain argued, “he’ll never know if you wanted him to stay because of that.”

“But look at that body,” my hormones offered. “Do you really want to send THAT home?”

“Don’t you want to fully enjoy your first time together, without anything clouding your perception?” And Brain wins the debate. And he hugged me goodnight and went back to his dorm.

That night was a fixed point in my timeline. Sending Cameron back to his room without sex is a point from where I can trace everything that happened after that. If he had stayed, David’s jealousy over seeing me smoking with Cameron’s singer between their sets might have been directed at Cameron instead. If he had stayed, I might have never met Israel. I might have never slept with Israel.

If I’d never slept with Israel, we likely wouldn’t have had the relationship we had. I might have ended up in California with Cameron. We might still be out there. If Israel hadn’t broken my heart, I might have never discovered the band Kill Hannah or met all of the people I met because of them. I can link a great deal of what has happened in my life over the last decade to that moment when I decided not to invite Cameron to spend the night in my bed.

So much of what has happened in the interim has been good. I’ve met amazing people. But sometimes I wonder how it would have been different.

Trying to Fill a Void

I cut Cameron loose and have been basically unattached ever since. A couple different guys have crossed my path since then but I’ve remained unattached.

The problem is Micah. Micah first pinged on my radar about four years ago. But that’s not what this story is about.

This story is about the fact that I have completely lost touch with Micah.

David has long been my “One Who Got Away,” but lately, I’ve been feeling like Micah is better suited to the title. I can’t explain any of what happened – other than to take a major portion of the blame onto myself – but something definitely went awry.

The trouble is that I am a Scorpio. I am passionate and when I love, I love hard. I love with everything I have. And it’s really hard for me to not have an outlet for that passion and love. As a result, because of everything between Micah and I, I have been searching for something meaningless.

Literally. For the last few weeks, I haven’t wanted to be present in anything. My heart hurts and I haven’t wanted to invest it in anything. A couple weeks ago, I found myself hoping I’d run into Cameron at a concert and that everything that had never worked out between us would finally… ahem, work out.

Or David. I kind of felt like running into Cameron was a far more likely scenario but David wouldn’t have been an unwelcomed sight. If he ever still thinks about me. Which he probably doesn’t. But for that matter, Cameron probably doesn’t either.

I mean, I would not be insulted to find out that I am either one’s occasional masturbatory fantasy. I’d have to lie and tell them I thought about them, too, because don’t guys like that to hear that sort of thing? I’m asking for real. I’ve never had to lie about it to anyone. Including Cameron. Which might make things awkward in this hypothetical, never going to happen in real life, fantastical scenario.

But beyond just running into old flames (flames? I mean, sure…) and dragging them off somewhere (mostly) private to… get reacquainted… or, acquainted, since I never got that far with either of them… I digress. Beyond just running into old flames, I’ve been entertaining all kinds of weird distractionary ideas.

I have one friend who seems to be terminally single, despite being an intelligent, moderately attractive (probably, truth be told, quite attractive aside from being completely not my type), decent fellow. We joke around and everything is cool and I would genuinely like to be better acquainted (not like in the entendre I offered in the previous paragraph; legitimately just better friends). But then my traitorous brain says, “Things with Micah are, at the very least, on hold and you deserve someone in your life…”

And now, I am having horror flashes of said friend getting his eyes on this and freaking the fuck out because his name crossed my mind at some point without being directly involved in a conversation with him and so that must mean I’m crazy and obsessed and worth freaking the fuck out over. Because that’s how this whole game is played, right?

This seems like a good place to share my philosophy on … I’m not even sure. Dating? Falling in love? Falling in bed? The reality is two people who are equally interested in one another in the same way at the same time is an EXTREMELY rare occurrence. I’m far more convinced that 98% of all romantic partnerships start with one person being super into a second person and the second person throwing their hands up and saying, “eh, why the hell not? You’re not totally repulsive and I have nothing better to do with a Saturday.”

But when I get to this place – and this place was the majority of my time in university – where I’m totally stupid over someone – first Lennon, then David, then Cameron – but they’re not into me/available/cognizant of what’s going on, I find myself in that “eh, why the hell not?” role, but instead of giving a friend who is smitten a chance because they’re “not repulsive and I have nothing better to do with a Saturday,” I go seeking someone to whom I could be persuaded to offer a chance.

Maybe all of this is completely convoluted. Maybe it only make sense on the inside of my brain. Gods know I am a champion at making things more complicated than they need to be. But this is where my head is right now (my heart is not even participating in the conversation). My head is focused on finding someone to fill a void because I am hurting and I am lonely and I feel like I deserve something(one) nice, even if it does end up being completely meaningless.

Disclaimer: No. This is not a classified ad. I am not taking applications for meaningless sex partners. I am simply recognizing a behavioral pattern, which was, in a way, the whole point of this silly blog exercise in the first place.

First to Love – Extended Introduction

I guess the best place to begin is the beginning.

But what should I call the beginning?

Is it where my “romantic history” began? Is it what lead me to create this blog in the first place?

Maybe the easiest thing to do would be to talk a little more about my motivation behind this blog. I touched on it a little in the About blurb but that was kind of the overview. There is so much more to what I am trying to do.

I have never really been one for writing in journals and talking to someone else about the things in my head never really works as well as I hope. I prefer to write things down where other people can read them. It’s not really about a need for justification or vindication; it’s just about this belief I’ve always had that if I’m going to write it down, it might as well be public. Whether or not it’s anything anyone wants to read is another story entirely. The point is it is available to be read.

At the same time, while I always write with an audience in mind, I never write anything for an audience. I don’t write things thinking, “I want to write something that will appeal to this demographic.” I just start scribbling and put it out into the world and let people figure it out for themselves.

That’s not to say I’m not aware of my content.

I intend to keep it mostly PG-13, but because these are intended to be mostly true stories about everything I’ve been through and experienced in my life, in “relationships,” I can’t guarantee a little TV-MA to R content won’t drift in. I promise to add disclaimers if I feel like things are getting crazy. But I guess this is the initial “you have been warned” warning.

It might get crazy.

Largely, I expect it to be pretty boring. That’s how I remember most of my life, thus far – boring with intermittent moments of pure insanity on a “you can’t make this stuff up” level. But that could be my own personal bias. Like, nothing that happens to you really seems that great but when you get drunk at a party and tell everyone about “then this one time…” they all laugh and you’re a big hit. For a little while. Until you run out of stories. Or beer. But I have a ton of stories so we’ll see how this goes.

I’m curious about the idea of writing a romance novel. On the one hand, they sell. And, as one of my best friends and fellow writers pointed out, sex also sells. That’s always appealing to a writer, I don’t care what anyone says about just writing for the love of writing. That very well may be but tell me you’d turn down even a $100 royalty check if someone thought you were worthy of one. I’ll wait…

On the other hand, I know literally nothing about the genre. I rarely even write romantic partnerships into my other stories, nevermind focusing on them for an entire 50-60,000 words. I don’t usually like romantic movies either. As far as “chick movies” go, I’m more attracted to the girlfriend movies. Thelma and Louise, Mona Lisa Smile, Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Secret Life of Bees, Fried Green Tomatoes (at the Whistle Stop Café – full book title) …

So, likely, whatever I do end up writing will be more along those lines. There will be a romance, or two, because what better girlfriend foil than a boyfriend? But I don’t see myself focusing on that aspect of it, primarily.

One of my favorites of the genre (cinematically) is How to Make an American Quilt. I like the format. A group of older ladies are making a wedding quilt for one of their granddaughters and through making it, they talk – to her and to one another – about their own romances. I could do something along those lines, maybe even incorporate some of the more popular stories from this blog (comment and like to let me know what stories you like best).

So, that’s what I have planned for this blog.

I hope someone besides me gets something out of it. But if not, at least I got the words out.