I Fell In Love

I fell in love when I was 15. She was my best friend’s sister and I had his blessing. I worked at a comic shop then and she would call for him from California, where she was living at the time. We would chat, five to fifteen minutes at a time, before I finally handed the phone over. She was the beautiful mystery, I was her brother’s confidante.

When she moved back to Alaska, she came in to see my friend. I had never seen her before, with her auburn hair and wide smile, and when she asked for my friend, I felt a pang of disappointment. He brought her back to the counter a minute later and formally introduced us. That love was instant.

She asked if I was going to a mutual friend’s birthday party.

“Are you going to be there?” I asked.
“Yeah.”
“Then I’m going to be there.”

The birthday party was filled with liquor and poker and I was decent at partaking in both, even as young as I was. She asked if I wanted to check out her car. My friend looked at me and walked away.

She was 19 and the second person I ever had sex with. The backseat of the car was tight and messy and I didn’t give a shit because I was fully invested in this older woman, this manifestation of whatever fantasy I had concocted from her voice alone.

She didn’t believe me at first when I told her how old I was. She was appalled for precisely thirty seconds the next day when she called her brother to confirm it, then asked what I was doing that night. This went on, on and off, for several years. I forwent Thanksgiving dinner with my family to spend it with her and hers. We were very close.

I’m not sure what happened.

She got married, had a little girl, got divorced. We fell out of touch. It’s been a year or two since we’ve spoken, but every time we see each other, that spark is still there. That warmth. I will always love her.

I fell in love when I was 18. I had just, inexplicably, won prom king. I escaped from the dance and ended up at a house party with the valedictorian and several other academics and theater-types. I had become immersed in the drama world, but that party scene was a lot different than I was used to. Where I just grabbed whatever liquor was available and slammed it, these cats were practicing advanced mixology via printed instructions. I dug it. It was different.

Side note: I own a picture of the valedictorian from the 2006 graduating class of my high school on bended knee presenting me, crown on head, with a bottle of Goldschläger. It’s glorious. You’ll have to take my word for it.

I connected with her, the girl, the woman. We had known each other for six years at that point but had never had any sort of romantic undercurrent to our relationship. That night was different.

We talked for hours. I gave her a back massage. The party persisted around us but we kept attention on each other. We never kissed. We didn’t have sex. We fell asleep together on the couch. When I woke, she was gone.

There wasn’t much school left but I resolved to ask her out. She got super busy with college applications and end-of-the-year testing. It came off to me as avoidance, which I confessed to a mutual friend. At a party a year or so after graduation, that friend brought it up to her. She reached out to me to let me know that, had I asked, she would have said yes.

We became very close in the years following graduation. She moved overseas, sang opera in Italian theaters, dated a girl who did mission work in Africa, made me a mixed CD with music to get me through tough times, complete with a couple tracks she sang herself.

She called me one night and asked for my advice. She had been seeing a guy and it became serious. She thought she might be in love and she was terrified at the prospect of deep commitment. What if it wasn’t real? What if he didn’t feel the same way? What if it didn’t work out? She wanted to run.

As much as I hated doing it, I convinced her that trying and (maybe) failing was better than never knowing. I think they may still be together. Maybe even engaged.

We saw Hitchcock in theaters together a couple years ago. Got dinner. She held my hand and told me she just wanted me to be happy. I almost cried. I will always love her.

I fell in love when I was 19. She worked at a burger joint in the same mall I worked in. “Jered with an e” is how she remembered me and daily lunches turned into the occasional party on the sly and late night texts. I moved from the comic shop to a bank job for a while. She came in, kissed me over the counter and texted me, “We should have sex soon.”

Well, alright.

After a failed, fumbling fool-around in the parking lot of a lake-centric park during which no less than the police politely asked me to get the fuck out, she wound up at my house. We fucked and later we made love. We slept deep and we slept late and then I bitched out later and became super distant. I loved her then as I love her now, but I was worried about what my friends would think about me dating a younger girl. So I…didn’t.

We kept in touch occasionally over the years. A month or so after my grandmother passed away, we had sushi and caught up. She spent the night at my place a week or so after and everything fell into place. For a few months, we had passion, we had love, we had laughter.

It was perfect, until it wasn’t. She grew distant. She got into an emotionally abusive relationship with a kid I went to school with who I hate unfathomably. Then my grandfather got sick. Love and romance aside, I needed someone to be there for me as a friend and she promised me she would be. She abandoned me completely.

It took me a long time to forgive her. We’ve spoken a few times since and briefly tried to be friends before I decided maybe it would be healthier just to remove her from my life completely. She’s dating someone now who makes her feel happier and complete in ways I never could. They do pottery and shit.

I will always love her.

I fell in love when I was 21. I had just moved to Los Angeles from Anchorage and I was broke and stressed. I got a job working at an electronic retailer, one of the big ones, and I was stationed in the front lanes (the checkout aisle). I met her there, a pretty girl with an infectious laugh. She looked exotic to me and we got along well. She invited me to Thanksgiving dinner with her family because she knew I was all alone in L.A.

I went and we had a grand time. She was Puerto Rican-Jewish and her mom, who spoke little English, called me Geraldo and invited me to temple with them. I went. I felt much more welcomed there than any other religious experience.

She and I dated a while. We were good for each other except when we were terrible for each other. She cheated on me early. I never trusted her fully afterwards. I was short-tempered and paranoid, worried about money and I drank too much. The sex was good, the long evenings where we held each other almost better. But man, we sniped at each other all the time. She kept things professional at work. In my youthful naivete, I took it as her not caring.

I decided to move to Alaska again for the summer to get my shit together. Lose weight, save money. We talked for a while. Things were good again. Three months in, she told me that she had decided we wouldn’t be getting back together. It was for the best. We weren’t meant to be. We were a toxic relationship.

It broke my heart. I will always love her.

I am no stranger to love. I’m not very good at it, though. I love love, but I’m scared of it. I’m scared of getting burned by it or worse, fucking it up myself. But I also miss that feeling and that companionship. I miss those memories, and the fingers interlocking and the hair that gets stuck in my mouth when I’m trying to kiss the back of her neck and the steady rise and fall as she’s sleeping and the way her feet are way too fucking cold, get them away.

It’s been a while since I’ve been in love and the last one didn’t end so well for me. But I miss it. And I love it. I love even the memories.

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