When I was younger I was a hopeless romantic, and I always imagined myself being the perfect potential boyfriend to someone. I was handsome, kind, and some would say pretty darn smart. The only issue was the lack of confidence that I held, which hampered my chances of even talking to anyone of the opposite sex. Perhaps it was early instances of rejection that, for a long time, instilled the fear of rejection into me. Thus for many years I would never know if I would be that perfect boyfriend that I liked to theorize myself being. Instead I kept up a wall to protect myself, but on the inside I was very lonely most of the time. Eventually I internalized the belief that I wasn’t good enough, despite the lack of evidence.
Then she entered the picture. The one who would unknowingly change me for the better. The one who would tear down my barricades and make me believe in myself again (and on different levels).
When I first laid eyes on her, she was someone out of reach—taboo—an object of desire that I had no hopes of attaining. I would imagine myself with her but I held she was more a unicorn than a real person with wants and needs of her own…Instead we befriended each other and it was relatively innocent at first. She would give me rides home from her workplace, and we got to talking a little bit. Me being a shy and insecure guy meant that I never really communicated my real feelings, which had developed. We in time opted for emailing each other, I had hoped it would be easier to talk that way and luckily she agreed, perhaps because it was innocuous…I would later learn that she was developing feelings too.
It didn’t take too long for her to catch on to what I really thought, or at least a semblance of it. She didn’t let on explicitly, but in retrospect it must have been the case. Slowly but surely we chipped away at each other’s walls I suppose, and we let each other in. I felt close to her and after some time, perhaps deep down, we both wanted our friendship to deepen. It ultimately took on a more physical turn. She would later remark that what we had “came out of nowhere,” but I think it was bubbling beneath the surface for some time.
I guess maybe the reason what happened, happened was because we both found safety and acceptance through each other. We found through each other emotional and physical fulfillment that was lacking in our lives, and for that I cannot find fault. The danger here though was my deep insecurity…and the fact that she was a married women with children. However the problem really boiled down to timing, I wasn’t in the right place in my life to give back equally if we had ever taken it the furthest point; she had a lot to lose if we were caught. We had to end it, not because we wanted to, but because we had to. We were being selfish, and while it hurt to lose what we had, I forgave her for it. From later talking she would suggest that it was wrong, while I agree that we put her childrens’ happiness at risk there was nothing else wrong with what we did.
While I was in her presence—alone with each other—I felt more content than I had ever been in my life, and so, so alive! It was tender, intimate and wildly passionate and it took on some significance for me. She was the first woman to make me feel the way I did, physically and emotionally that was not replicated for a long time. While there have been other women since then, most of them in essence can barely hold a candle to her memory. What we had was an insatiable desire for each other, the physical chemistry was perfect, and we got along fine. However like I said before, the timing was all wrong. We went our separate ways about a decade ago, for many years I would think of her off and on, reminiscing on what could have been.
If we were trying to look at this objectively I guess you could say I was young and naive, and she was the older women using me to her advantage. While it is true I was an inexperienced young man at the time (I am right now, the same age she was when we were together), I only hold regret in the fact that I didn’t let it go as far as it could have. We had the chance to consummate our desire for each other, and I turned it down out of a deep sense of insecurity. I didn’t feel good enough for her, I wanted to be the perfect lover. If we had met later in life things would have been very different, I feel no sense of shame for what we did, only regret for what we didn’t. If there was any kind of exploitation, it was very mutual and if I were to relive those years I would surely repeat the same “mistakes.”
For a long time I thought she would only be a memory, and in fact she was. It was so long the memory took on a more mythological stature, it was something that perhaps was too good to have been true and I was looking at it with rose-tinted glasses. However many years later, we found each other again online. It was something I could only have ever hoped for, at least I thought. Even better was that she was geographically close enough for us to catch up over a cup of coffee. I thought of all the things I wanted to tell her but knew I would be too afraid to, or at the very least, lack the words to. I wanted to convey myself as a different, better person. I wanted her to see me as a man and not the boy I was. Seeing her in person brought back all those feelings that I thought were buried and forgotten, I was reminded—very viscerally—that what I felt for her a lifetime ago was real. I could have listened to her talk for days, I was just happy to have her in front of me, it was enough.
While I can only conjecture to how she feels for me, I know that she cares for me and we have remained friends, and for that I can only be ever so grateful.
Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. ~Dr. Seuss