I spend a lot of my time drowning in the past and dreaming of the future. It’s not often that you’ll find me completely in the present moment, which is really all we ever have. Tonight, I find myself wandering down memory lane. Stopping at familiar places. Sifting through broken memories and faces that have faded over time. Truths and lies that my ears have heard. Truths and lies that have unwound from that untrustworthy hole in my face.
Ahh, memory lane. So comforting but at times so bittersweet.
A particular memory lingers with me tonight. It slithered into my conscience while I was singing along to Katy Perry’s “The One That Got Away” on my way home. It involved a really sweet guy and one of the best dates that I’ve ever had. One of the best days I’ve ever had.
It took place in the spring of 2009, shortly before Travis and I became a couple. We were talking but I hadn’t met him yet so nothing was exclusive. I was also chatting with a guy named Tim, that lived near Bel Air if I remember correctly. He was close to my age and did web design for a career. We decided to meet one day and he drove up here to Hagerspatch.
I was nervous, as usual. I have the self-esteem of a morbidly obese thirteen-year-old girl so I was convinced that he wouldn’t be interested in me. Who would be? I’m so flawed.
So, we met at the mall and when I first laid eyes on him he was exactly what I’d hoped he would be. Awkwardly adorable. Unique. Quirky. Incredibly nice. Funny. I turned on the charm hoping he wouldn’t see how insecure and vulnerable I felt. (Because OMG, he was so cute!) My charm worked, as it usually does. After years of bullying and verbal abuse, I’ve learned how to charm people into seeing a less damaged version of myself. It’s a gift I never wanted.
Anyway, we met up and walked around the mall. I told him that he should see the park because it was Hagerstown’s diamond in the rough. We walked around there, talking about anything and everything and I remember feeling such a connection. He was artistic and smart. Appreciated the important things in life. Then it started raining…do you have any idea how badly I wanted to kiss him? It was BAD. But I’m not the type that makes the first move. Insecure people like to be chased. It makes us feel like we’re worthy of someone’s attention. (He also said he rarely kissed on the first date/meeting.)
The rain began to fall harder and we headed back to my vehicle where we sat and listened to music and continued talking about all sorts of random shit. There was one point where he made a comment about making exceptions with kissing on the first date and I thought….OH SHIT, HE WANTS TO KISS ME! Instead of taking this opportunity and running with it, I awkwardly laughed and changed the subject. I regret that. Goddamn do I regret that.
We left the park shortly thereafter and had dinner at Waffle House, because it’s casual and cheap. I took him back to his car, we hugged goodbye, and he left.
Within the next week or so I met Travis, and things moved quickly. I thought of Tim, but things felt so easy with Travis that part of me (that stupid romantic part of me) thought that I had met Travis for a reason so I told Tim that I had met someone. He was pissed at me, as he should have been. He had no idea that I’d been talking to someone else. I guess I should have disclosed that information.
It’s a bridge that I regret burning. Whatever Tim is doing, I hope he’s happy. I know in my heart that he’s a great guy.
The whole point of this trip down memory lane is that if I had made a different choice my life could be very different right now. I made the choice that I thought was right at the time but I always question…what could have been? Did I only choose to walk away because the other relationship that presented itself to me was comfortable and safe? Should I have risked more?
I’ll never know the answers to all of the questions that I ask myself on these trips into the past, but I do know this…there’s always one moment, one person, one connection, one memory that you never forget. No matter what. If I ran into Tim again I would thank him for making me incredibly happy and receptive to the idea that maybe someone would like me for who I really am, even if it was only for one day.
Sometimes it only takes one day.