The anniversary of the day I met Will passed this week. I didn’t even notice. October 2, 2004. It’s been a decade. When I realized it last night, I was flooded with a mix of memories and emotions. He was my first and I was his first. After, I was in the bathroom trying to figure out a way to stop the bleeding. Our first Valentine’s Day, he bought me flowers. It was windy, so he walked backwards from the train station to my dorm so the flowers wouldn’t be damaged. He took me to Mardi Gras. His parents’ house was literally half a block off the parade route. His sister hated me. His mom hated me. His dad loved me. His ex-girlfriend and I bonded over having the exact same birthday. His phone number is seared into my brain. If he ever called me again, I would know it was him. I remember his birthday. I don’t remember when we broke up. For all intents and purposes, the relationship ended after graduation when he moved back to New Orleans and I stayed here.
In the past decade, I’ve seen him once. He called me out of the blue in the summer of 2010. He said he would be in town & asked to have lunch together. I agreed. It was a really, really bad decision. He rattled off everything he was doing. His new girlfriend was in town training for Teach for America. He’d bought a car. He’d bought a condo. The car was particularly significant because he had been deemed uninsurable after being in 3 accidents in as many months. Apparently the state of Louisiana changed its mind and he was once again able to legally drive. During our relationship, I was responsible for all the transportation needs. Overall, it was a strange experience. We parted ways and that night I, of course, crawled into a bottle of vodka and stayed there. I drunk dialed him, left him a rambling message, & saw the next morning that he’d called me back. I was absolutely mortified. Two months later I met Boy. Three months later I made my first attempt at drying out. I haven’t heard from him again, in person or virtually. Sometimes I wonder what happened to him. If my phone were to ring right this second and it was him, would I pick up the phone? My stomach drops at the thought. I think that’s a pretty good sign that I should let it ring to voicemail.
The fact that the date passed without me noticing is significant in its own right. My uncanny ability to remember dates, times, places, and people along with their significance can be a blessing and a curse. This year, October 2 was spent calling in sick to work & cat napping all day. That’s the only reason it stood out. No anxiety. No pain. Nothing to otherwise distinguish it from any other Thursday. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that swatting at the past like you’re trying to get a bug out of your face does no good. I was reminded that he wasn’t all bad. He wasn’t abusive 24/7. That by no means absolves what he did. A reminder of our own humanity and the humanity of others is important. Yesterday I did what amounted to narrowing down what’s important to me right now. The results were a bit eye opening. My main focus is to self improvement and improving my relationships with those closest to me. I hadn’t really given it much thought recently other than in passing. That requires accepting our flaws, strengths, and quirks as part of a whole package. It’s never easy and sometimes far easier to ignore, but it’s worth it in the end.
Motivational Tidbit Takeaway: Be human