I dreamt last night that I got to observe an ex boyfriends life from the outside: he never knew I was there. I was able to see and and hear it all. Which is quite strange for me to admit because I haven’t thought about said ex boyfriend in years. years! I think everyone might have that one person that they look back on and remember and say “geez, my life would have been so terribly different if we’d stayed together.” I have that one person. And truth be told, it’s all something I’m not very proud of.
He wasn’t a terrible guy, at least not at first. He was nice enough and paid me just enough attention to keep me hanging around. But I did most of the leg work in our relationship. I was the one who called. I was the one who waited by the phone then ended up crying myself to sleep on the nights he’d promised to call. I was the one battling my family and defending him when they’d tell me he was all wrong for me. I was sixteen. I didn’t know any better. Now looking back, I wonder if it was his family that kept me around. They welcomed me into their home and treated me like family even on the days that he didn’t.
I crumbled into the pieces when he broke up with me. It’s that panicky “I’m alone” type feeling that I’m sure most teenage girls experienced at some point. I had to babysit the morning after, and I remember laying on their couch with hardly enough energy to lift my head off the pillow because I had been up the entire night before crying. Luckily, the kids were well behaved and knew me well. They hugged me and offered me sound advice (yes, the eight year old boy was quite insightful, even then). I had this overwhelming feeling to call him. If I could just get him to answer his phone I could get him to change his mind. I was wrong. I held on to all of it for far too long. I was a shell of a person.
Then these two girls came into my life just sort of randomly. They were beautiful and confident and not at all the kind of people I typically hung out with. I was a band geek. Which, don’ get me wrong, all of my band friends were surprisingly drop dead gorgeous too, but I digress. I don’t know how it all came about, but I will tell you it’s one of those periods in my life that now I look back on and see nothing but growth. These two girls took me in and taught me what it was like to love myself. They made me feel beautiful. They made me feel confident in exactly who I was without changing a thing about me. They never changed my wardrobe. They didn’t mess with my hair. They took me exactly how I was and made me see it wasn’t all bad. They rebuilt me. They put my pieces back together.
The summer after they had each gone off to college (they were both a year older than me), I opened my heart to J. He’d always been around, since eighth grade, truth be told. But it never felt right. It was never the right time. And it all makes me realize that we can only have so much control over the things that are meant to be in our life. Looking into this ex boyfriend’s life from the outside probably wouldn’t do much good now, but it did a world of good back then. I’d learn from mutual friends how he was and what he was up to, and I’d visualize my life as I knew it swirling in the toilet bowl.
But as life goes, everything turned out the way, I think at least, it was supposed to.