February 08, 2007
Nothing spoils the taste of peanut butter like unrequited love.
- Charlie Brown
An old high school flame recently contacted me on MySpace.com. He
used to live down the street from me in Palm Springs, which was
convenient back when I was 15 and didn't yet have wheels. We had a
casual thing, as he was a bit of a drunken punk at the time, and I was
a sensitive girl (imagine that) intent on developing some sort of false
belief that I could save and/or change the mohawked messes I dated.
Needless to say, it didn't end well. And we haven't talked in almost 20
years. Until now.
This is what he said:
"I was going to comment on your latest blog, but I ran out of time
and had to leave for tonight's AA meeting. It's sad because I know that
I had an elegant if not profound response for you, and now it's lost.
"The coffee was too strong and I'm rambling, and there was a point.
Relationship, no relationship, house, apartment, serial dating, or
self-imposed singularity, it's all good if you're good with yourself.
This whole growing up thing is a horrible fallacy, and I find those who
think they are the mature ones by falling into these prescribed molds
that society struck in some long forgotten suppressed time are mostly
trying to avoid some personal issues that they are afraid to face. Then
again I could just be justifying my own single apartment living
roommate having silly ass.
"One last thing, and I don't even know if it's relevant to you
anymore at all. I should have committed to you way back in ancient
history. I wanted to, I really did. You were one of the most beautiful
and amazing women I ever dated. Unfortunately, I was a chicken shit,
scared out of my mind of failure, getting hurt, and missing out on
something unknown that I never had happen anyway to miss out on. It
probably means nothing to you now almost 20 years later, but it's
bugged me for years. I feel like I did you wrong back then, and I
regret that. It may be cliche, but if I knew then what I know now...
"Well, let's just say I wouldn't have let childish fears stop me
jumping in the deep end. I can say this though—I think of you fondly,
and often, and sometimes every now and then I catch a scent that
reminds me of you, and it leaves me happy for days thinking about the
time we did have together.
"Okay I'll shut up now. – SK"
Naturally, my first reaction when I read this was, "Wow—he's in AA?"
and then, "Holy [expletive], is this for real?!" Every girl who's ever
had her heart broken has wanted to hear these words—preferably sooner
than 20 years later but still. I couldn't believe my luck.
When we're younger we all want acknowledgement that we're "amazing,"
in our own way. And being dismissed leaves a lot of us feeling like we
need to keep searching for some kind of outside resolution—or at least
until the next rebuff. Which, considering how bummed I was back then,
made me a little mad about the recent letter. What gives this guy the
right to say this after so long? Why the hell couldn't he realize it
But the thing is, had I not suffered in love, felt the stinging pain
of rejection, had my heart smashed to bits on the sidewalk and been
trifled with all those years of romance following SK, I wouldn't be so
goddamned bitter and enjoyably cynical now!
I kid, of course. But those failures made me realize that what I
needed most was to—Cliche Alert!—love myself. And I do! Love myself. A
lot. So much so that I no longer need anyone to resolve that for me.
Which is exactly when the "right" person comes along. And he has.
So for all that I have SK to thank, and will now respond with a
grateful "Duh, I told you so," after which I will buy myself an Extra
Strong Dark bar of Chocolove, then go home to give a sloppy wet kiss to
someone who appreciates me and all of my rejected, bitter, older and
absolutely amazing parts.
Samantha Campos would like to give the "people" who stole her car last week a big fat candy heart that says, "Bite Me." MTW
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