The Boys She Dated, They All Became Life Lessons For Her


The hot sand stung her feet while she tried to fall asleep next to him. She’s been attempting, for weeks, to see him in an environment that renders vulnerability, and you can’t really get more vulnerable than the beach; grains of sand entering obscure crevices of the body, violent waves stripping away skimpy bathing suits at the shoreline, and the relentless sun that illuminates the blemishes, the burns, the naked skin.

He began to stir from his resting state and conversation picked up again.

So yeahhh….

In that moment, his voice seemed to carry on, into eternity.

I think it’s getting serious with this girl I’ve been seeing.

And with those words, nausea etched its way into her stomach. She expressed happiness for him, of course, but an ache in her chest was undeniably present.

Their door just closed.

She arrived at the Mediterranean cafe early, eager to acquire a cozy table by the bar. They met a week ago in creative writing when they both had the epiphany that their professor bared a rather strong resemblance to Bob Dylan. Their chatter featured quirky and playful banter, along with the occasional reference to a folksy Dylan line. The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind. They had a secret language that only the two of them understood.

As he slid into the booth, he kissed her cheek, just as it started to turn a light shade of pink.

Are you really blushing? Is this what’s happening right now?

She laughed a youthful laugh whenever he teased her; she was crushing in a way that was likened to a ridiculously giddy school girl. His mere name on her cell phone, indicating an incoming text message, was all it took for the various butterflies to bounce around her insides, fluttering in sporadic directions. Perhaps it was too premature for serious feelings. Perhaps. But there was potential, potential to truly care about him.

A month after they sat together in the Mediterranean cafe, at the cozy table by the bar, the jokes began to fade, his gaze wandered away from her eyes, and Dylan’s lyrics were nowhere to be found. The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

It was Valentine’s Day when he called.

I know a place that has the best spicy tuna rolls, trust me.

This relationship was fairly new, but he looked at her like she was the only person in the goddamn vicinity. Like she was the only person he wanted to share a space with. And she wasn’t buying into the February 14th hype this year, but she found his enthusiasm to be sweet and pure.

They talked for 2 1/2 hours in the restaurant that night over a platter of sushi and a bottle of red wine, which shielded them from the cold. His wintry sweater exuded innocence, and she longed to reach across the table and hug him. She wanted to hug him and never let go.

Ultimately, however, he did let go.

It’s now a few years later, and these boys, boys who previously haunted her thoughts, no longer hold that kind of power, that kind of significance. They have become life lessons and beautiful snapshots from a time that once mattered, but it doesn’t now, not anymore.

Because life goes on, and so does she.

image – Flickr / nwhitford