In honor of this blog turning one in a few days, I’ve decided to revisit some of my other firsts…
First Series – The First One Who Got Away (and the tale of my most romantic, non-romantic night)
After my first epic heartbreak, I was well, obviously heartbroken – I moped, listened to sad songs, wrote in a journal, and turned to my small circle of friends in my study abroad program in Vienna.
I had three close guy friends (there’s a long and involved story on why I never really made friends with any of the girls. Let’s just summarize and say I was different from many of them). Anyway, let’s call my three guy friends – Maine, Seattle, and California.
Maine was my roommate and I traveled a good amount around Europe with Seattle. Both were great guys and lovely friends. But this isn’t a post about them. This is a post about California (let’s call him Cal for short).
Like nearly everyone else in the program, Cal was a Junior and a full year older than me. He, as well as Seattle and Maine, were like big brothers to me. But the more I hung out with Cal, the more my feelings moved out of the realm of friendship and into the world of “something more.”
But Cal had a girlfriend back home and I have a solid rule that I’ve never broken – I do not go after a taken man. So, no matter how my heart pounded when we hung out together, traveled together, sat next to each other in class, or studied for tests, I was determined never to let him know how my feelings had changed. And I never did.
The most romantic, non-romantic night
Well, I only studied abroad for one semester and it seemed like after November, the weeks flew by. It wasn’t long before it was Cal’s last night in Vienna. Cal, Seattle, their roommates, and I went out to dinner to celebrate his last night. (Side note – one of my proudest moments was when our waiter asked me if I was from Germany when I spoke German. :) yay! Though sadly, my abilities have lapsed since then.)
After dinner, we went back to Cal and Seattle’s apartment. Seattle and the others went to bed around midnight. Cal and I talked through the night about so many things – relationships, our homes, future plans, the terror of picking a major (this one was all me), regrets (I grinned and said I had none, but hey, I was still young), traveling, and how much we loved our semester in Europe. We sat close together on the small sofa and I knew that despite what simmered below the surface, nothing would happen that night, as he was a good man and I was determined to be noble. We poured our hearts out, tried to convince each other to move to the other’s respective coast (California is a West Coast boy and I’m an East Coast girl), and laughed until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any more. When it was finally time to say goodnight, he asked to have one the barrettes I always wore in my hair and I didn’t hesitate to give it to him (as I am and will always be a hopeless romantic).
He went to his bed and I slept on the sofa. He woke me when he left for the airport and I gave him one last hug before stumbling into the bed he vacated, snuggling into the sheets that were still warm. That was the last time I saw him. And so ended the most romantic, non-romantic night of my life (but obviously not the most romantic night of my life. :p).
We tried to stay in touch for a little while. But life took over, as it tends to do. We flew back to our respective coasts. We rejoined our regular friends from college and talked a few times over the summer (he drunk-called me the night of his 21st birthday and I sadly missed the call). Then we slowly lost track of each other. We started new relationships, fell in love with new people, he graduated, I graduated, he started a life, I started mine, and our friendship faded to memories.
But don’t be sad…I wouldn’t be able call him the one who got away, if he hadn’t actually gotten away. ;) Besides, loving someone is never something to regret or be sad over. As Tennyson said – “tis better to have love and lost than never to have loved at all.”
I’ve recently loved and lost again, though the taste in my mouth is more sad this time than sweet. Alas, I suppose that’s what happens when something you thought would last forever suddenly breaks (that’s a story for another day and one I probably won’t want to share for quite some time). But it’s made me think back to the first time I really loved and lost, and of Cal.
So I raise my glass to Cal – I hope he has a great life, a lovely wife, the white picket fence, at least 2 cute kids, and a loyal dog. :)
How about you – who was your first one who got away? What’s your sweetest loved and lost story?