“That if I lived ’til I could no longer climb my stairs, I just don’t think that I’ll ever get over you.”
– Colin Hay
The title of this blog entry should seem completely appropriate based on the content of the previous entry. However, the content of this particular blog entry should also seem completely contradictory based on the content of the previous entry. I am a terrible mess of contradictions but I suppose that, at some level, is what makes me human. So, speaking of fast food, I was sitting in my idling car in the drive-thru lane of the local McDonald’s. I had not eaten anything but already felt nauseous from guilt. I could have stopped at Wawa and purchased a salad with low-fat dressing. I should have done that, especially after publically berating myself for my laziness and weakness on the internet. I rationalized my poor decision with the complaint of having no time and having a real need for “fast food.” It was a rainy Tuesday and I had to be at home instruction in about twenty minutes. I was pressed for time, but that was still no reason to gorge myself on fats and oils. I was feeling awful, and hating myself, when he walked by.
He is the reason I simultaneously loathed and loved being fifteen years old. He is the reason I place monumental importance on all of my friendships and relationships, particularly with those of the opposite sex. He is the reason I wanted to die and the reason I woke in the morning. He is the reason I believe in love, the reason I chase after it, and the reason I do not believe I will ever catch it. He is the greatest thing about my past and the worst thing about my past. He is everything to me and a part of me that aches and throbs every day. It does not matter that I have not spoken a word to him in nearly a decade. Every boy I have met since him, I have compared to him. I have a terrible suspicion that on my wedding day, as my heels tread softly along a red aisle runner and my eyes do their best to peer through a lacy veil, I will be disappointed that he is not waiting for me at my journey’s conclusion.
I never dated him. Truth be told, I have only been on about five dates in my entire life. Romance has eluded me, but I came close with him. It was my sophomore year of high school and he was a senior. He was intelligent and kind and paid attention to me. I made him laugh. He passed me food in the hallways. We sat together at lunch. I knew with every fiber of my being that he loved me in the insane and impossible way I thought I loved him. The fact that he had a girlfriend seemed inconsequential until that lone fact sparked a mini, melodramatic war that tainted the way others viewed me and forever changed the way I saw myself. When push came to shove, he stood beside her instead of me, as he should have. I was young and dumb, but devastated nonetheless. I have been chasing after him, or at least the idea of him, ever since. On Tuesday, I caught up with him.
As I said, I was idling in the drive-thru lane. He exited McDonald’s and walked directly in front of my car. I looked up at the passerby, assuming it would be a random stranger as it always is and satisfying the curiosity which tends to lead me to “people watching.” It took me a moment or two to realize just who it was I was staring it, and I gawked for another moment or two before completely diverting my gaze. It was too late, though; we had made eye contact. I figured he had to traverse only five feet or so before he escaped my windshield, so I tried to count the paces in my befuddled brain. When I looked up again, he was walking beside a girl to an incredibly expensive and incredibly stylish looking car, painted a dark blue. My heart was pounding fit to split and the color had drained from my face to pool in my hands, which suddenly felt swollen and numb. And in that moment, when I was most defeated and vulnerable, he looked back like he wanted to make sure it was me.
I sent my gaze screaming to my lap, pleading to God that my food would be ready and I could take it and flee, tires squealing as I whipped out of the drive-thru lane. I did not look to see if he was talking to his female companion; I would then assume (or hope?) that he would be telling her all about our sordid history that never was. It was bad enough I had seen him, let alone witnessed him try to chance a second glance. This will consume me for the next one hundred years or so, as will the unresolved wonderings of a creative mind such as mine.
Should I have said hello? Should I have waved? Should I have left the safety of the car to strike up a conversation? Had he spoken to me, I think I would have died. If I want to converse with him, then I should, right? I mean, after all, I only have this one life and I am forever rambling on about and passionately preaching against wasted time and missed opportunities, but isn’t that what this chance encounter was? Am I wrong for thinking it was the perfect time to reconnect?