Friday, November 5, 2010

My Favorite Mistake

Funny things happen when you get engaged. (Or maybe it's just me.) In addition to having surges of fear, you sort of find yourself cataloging your life up to this point. You think back on all the past loves that led you to this one. Sometimes you smile at the memories. Sometimes you cringe. Sometimes you thank the heavens for the lessons.

As I've thought through my modest list of relationships, one guy clearly stands out to me as my favorite mis-match. He's the perfect combination of timing and learning and endearment.

I met Patric (no k) when I was 29. I had just started my current job, had just come out of a failed attempt to rekindle things with my college boyfriend, and was itching to have a carefree, hot summer romance.

Patric was only 26, the coworker of my best friend's husband, and a month away from moving to New York City. He asked me out after we spent a day at the beach with my best friend's family. I told him I wasn't sure if it was a good idea—he was leaving the state in 30 days, after all. But he was cute and charming and it was summertime. So I caved.

On our first date, I got a nice dose of Patric's dramatic side. I made a joke about how my voice sounds like a muppet's and he reached across the table, taking my hand (my best friend likes to think that he pressed one finger against my lips and shushed me, but I don't think that's how it went) and said in a sultry, whispery voice, "Don't talk like that." That moment pretty much set the tone for the next few months. Intensity. Theatrics. And of course, entertainment. I don't think I've ever written so much poetry as I did that summer.

His NY move date got pushed by several weeks, which meant we had more time to cultivate our tumultuous relationship. I saw Patric cry in Target. I laughed hysterically with him over inside jokes we made. I found myself, on more than one occasion, feeling like the only girl in the room—or the universe. He knew how to cast a spell, that boy.

There were plenty of things I didn't like about him, but knowing I might only have him for a short time prompted me to try to appreciate every moment. What a great lesson that was.

Before he left, I gave him a wooden box filled with pictures and poems and other things to remember me by. I decoupaged a page from the Thomas Guide with my neighborhood on it so he could think of me across the U.S. whenever he saw it.

When he told me he couldn't handle the long distance, I was heartbroken. Even though, on some level I knew it was for the best. He wasn't the right fit.

The wooden box appeared on my doorstep a couple years ago with one poem still inside it. I appreciated that he returned it. I even called to thank him, but never heard back. Lack of response adds to his drama. I've stalked him a little on Facebook and I'm glad to see he's happily married now. I'm also glad that he gave me that one summer.


Jane Moneypenny said...

Oh, boy, if I could count up the number of "friends" of a good friend's husband/bf/whatever, it would be every guy I've been with... which isn't a lot, but still.

It's nice looking back at not regretting it all, huh? I'm still in the regret phase. Come back to me in 10 years when I may finally get a boyfriend.

LesleyG said...

It's nice to have some amusement in the past to look back on. It helps balance out the "what was I thinking?" memories, I think.

Sizzle said...

I had something similar right before I moved to Seattle. It was a very brief yet passionate affair that hardly anyone knew about (he was a good friend's roommate and she did NOT like him and made it clear he was to stay away from me). You can't help animal attraction. ;-) It never would have worked out with us but for the time it existed, it gave me what I needed- a comfort in someone other than all the dear friends I would be leaving to start a new life. He was my reprieve in a sea of fear and sadness and I am forever grateful for him. We are FB friends but that's it.

It's good you can take the good from that and look back knowing it helped you grow.

Danielle said...

All of this is what makes you and Mr. W so great! I love lifes lessons!

You've Got to Be Kidding Me said...

I mis-read the first sentence as, "Funny things happen when you get enraged."

You've Got to Be Kidding Me said...

And the only thing I ever received from an ex after we'd broken up was a dozen roses with the heads cut off.

Anonymous said...

The only time I ever had an ex contact me was to rub in the fact that she was married...

Mel Heth said...

Jane - Would you sign up for online dating already?! Sheesh! Just kidding...sort of. I actually think setups with friends' friends are dangerous - we let our guards down more because we think they're safer.

LesleyG - For sure. And I have plenty of those memories too!

Sizzle - They all serve a purpose, don't they? :) I like being able to think back to the madness and still smile.

Danielle - Amen to the life lessons, right?

YGTBKM - I think funny things do happen sometimes when you get enraged. Like you cut the heads off of flowers and send them to your ex... :P

Geekhiker - Yeah, we do that sometimes. But usually only to the bad exes - and I'm certain you don't fall into that category. She was probably just a dummy who wanted attention...