On Losing Your “Person”
Our idea of a good time was cradling a fifth of cheap vodka on the playground of our elementary school.
There’s a bitterness that accompanies the nostalgia. The nostalgia comes in waves— tsunamis—in the wake of his retreat. Every memory washed over with a golden light; was it really that beautiful?
The discomfort of our first (and only) kiss still feels so familiar. My lips so briefly on his in a dimly lit basement party, red solo cups absent. They were the first to brush his virgin tongue. We were still so innocent. At sixteen and fourteen, we laughed. It was funny, awkward, and everything a first kiss should have been, but for years now I have wondered what else could have come from that kiss.
We began and ended our senior year of high school together. The night before our first day of school, he curled up in my lap and cried. His girlfriend, the one constantly accusing him of loving me more than her, had broken up with him. There, in my parents basement, in my embrace, was his safe place. Maybe his vulnerability scared him, because damn, did that year push and pull at us. But we finished strong. The night before our last day of senior year, my then-boyfriend, hurled insults at me for the millionth time, and I needed my safe place. In a rage, I grabbed the cheap, stolen vodka hidden in my closet and snuck out. I texted him, “I need you. Sneak out with me please”. He didn’t question it; he just told me he’d be waiting outside.
That night will forever be over-romanticized and overplayed in my mind. We lay under the stars chasing vodka with blue Gatorade. I’d never spooned with someone so platonically before. About an hour into our freshly drunken haze, talking and crying and laughing, I could have sworn he was going to kiss me.
I wish he had.
I broke our eye contact and sat up, dead set on never cheating on my abusive boyfriend, even if it was just a kiss. We spent the rest of the night dancing, and climbing, and singing, and swinging and dreaming of what college would bring.
Maybe that was our chance. Maybe I missed it. After ending my relationship, maybe I should have been sleeping with him those nights, rather than his roommate.
I’m still not sure how I was so blind to his rapidly changing ways. The roommate that convinced me everything about this new dynamic was a fairytale rubbed off on my best friend in a way I could never have foreseen. His old friends began mysteriously dropping from his life like flies. The platonic intimacy we shared disappeared overnight. Our secrets became group discussion. I didn’t piece together the ways his newfound friendship and my budding romance caused a shift in our relationship that couldn’t be undone. And nine months into it, when my romance went up in flames, so did my personal belongings that he so easily handed to his roommate. It was at this point that it all came together: he had abandoned his position as my person, and comfortably so.
A month after they burned my things, I was caught up in my feelings and tried to reach out. But rejection didn’t just come when he ignored my text, “I f*** miss you”. Rejection came in the shocked expression on his face when we ran into each other at the same party. It came with the eye contact we shared as we passed each other in the same space where I had once thrown my arms around him. It came in the way he watched me from the kitchen as I pretended not to notice. It came in the shift in his gaze as I threw back shot after shot, staring in his direction.
I still f**** miss him.
When it comes down to it, our memories are tainted. In the end, he lied and he cheated. He may have been the first to know when the voices came, but he was also the one to out me to all of his friends of my newfound bisexuality. For every happy, bright, shiny memory, there was also a missed red flag.
Despite it all, there’s still something personal about your sister falling in love with her best friend of eight years in the same month that your best friend abandons you. It stings, and you can’t help but wonder, “shouldn’t that have been us?” But the moment had already passed, that window now closed.
Maybe this is all just another manic fantasy of mine, or maybe he really was so amazing for a period of time. Maybe I should just appreciate those moments for what they were, and put it to bed. But I can’t help but hope, and truly believe, that maybe we’ll reconnect years from now and begin again.
Author: Carly Koprevich