So it was 1993 or 1994? I’m not sure. When you get to be my age, events and years all just sort of blend together into one mushy, squishy, blurry movie reel.
I had just transferred to another college outside, way, way, way outside of Los Angeles. And my boyfriend at the time was still going to my old college.
He was smart and handsome and an artist and moody and fragile and funny and charming and I loved him too much.
Things were weird with us after I transferred schools. We hadn’t seen each other in months because of summer break and letters(!) and talking on the phone hid all sorts of truths neither one of us wanted to face.
I decided one day that I would surprise him, just drive over to his campus, he would open the door and everything would be fine. I was convinced this was the solution. Youth allows you to be this naive and stupid and forget the consequences because you believe in truth and your actions will set truth free. Or something like that.
So I had a friend drive me all the way back into Los Angeles and drop in on him.
His eyes said it all. He wasn’t happy to see me. In fact, he was angry and annoyed. I should’ve immediately acknowledged all of that and talked with him, but instead, I wrapped my arms around him and kissed him.
I was kissing a stranger.
I was scared and upset and didn’t have the common sense to know that it was over and I should leave.
We made small talk and drank a few beers and smoked a few cigarettes. A few hours later, we were laughing again and did this mean we had gotten over a very nasty bump?
He got up and said he was going to a party – did you want to go with me? he asked. He was surprised when I said yes and I was surprised it wasn’t a given that I would go with him.
We walked to the party in silence. When I tried to reach for his hand, he tensed and quickly slid it into his pocket.
Well, fuck you, too.
The party was chaotic and loud and I welcomed the scene. He and I parted ways as I made an excuse to go look for our friends before he could intentionally leave me alone.
I found a red cup and stood next to the keg and stifled my tears because a girl crying at a frat party is just too sad to witness.
The music and the people eventually became overwhelming. I left without him and walked slowly back to his dorm room where I waited for him. For hours.
When he finally did come back, he quietly got a blanket from the closet and slept on the floor. I pretended to sleep while I swallowed the pain of rejection and cried myself to sleep.
On Sunday morning, he woke up early and said he had to go to work. I’ll see you later, he said, as he kissed my forehead and I knew that was the last time I would see him again.
I picked up the phone and called a friend. How was it? Was it the best reunion ever? Are you getting married? Should I pick you up on Monday instead? She blurted words so quickly, my brain could barely process them.
All I could do was choke, cough and cry.
I’ll come pick you up right now, she said.
I started going through his room, picking out the stuff I had left there: a shirt sandwiched between his shorts, a sweatshirt wrapped around his chair, a book and CD resting next to his sketch pad.
And in his desk, I found a book, a journal that I had seen before. The cover was smooth with no writing. Even before I picked it up, I knew what it was and what I was going to do.
I was going to read his diary.
As I flipped through the pages, I kept looking to the door and window, as if some bodyguard knew of my violations and would quickly take me away and put me in jail where they tortured you with the Maury Povich Show.
There was nothing significant for the first few pages and the guilt of violating his privacy was eating away at me. You are a fucking horrible, horrible person, I chastised myself. I was about to put the stupid thing down when I saw my name scribbled in the corner of a page. It was on one page and then another and another and another and then I realized most of the diary was about me.
I kept telling myself reading this was okay because he had hurt me so much the night before and and I was trying to save our relationship, but I knew I was wrong and there was nothing left to save.
I read his words and cried. The girl he wrote about, the girl he loved was not the girl I was anymore.
And he was falling in love with someone else; some unnamed, generic young woman was the new sun in his eyes and I was already pushed aside, like the dirty, slushy snow no one wants to play in anymore.
But I would tell him I could be that girl again if he wanted me to be because I was desperate to stay with him. He was all I had in my world where reality zigged and zagged and I was feeling alone and lost at a new school.
Whatever words I told him just pushed him away further. Our relationship crumbled and we kicked the remnants under a rug and moved on with our lives.
Please tell me you have horrible, humiliating dating stories where you acted like an absolute crazy person. I can’t be the only one.