Reminiscing about what could’ve been

AJ was my first crush. He was also my first lust. The feeling ran through me like a lightening bolt. If I hadn’t been surrounded by my friends, I probably would’ve done something rash.

I was a teenager then, maybe 16 or 17 years old when I met him. He was dark and handsome. In many ways, he was the opposite of me. I was reserved, while he was extroverted and warm. I gave off a veneer of intellectualism while he was goofy and into sports. I was darkness and he was light.

But the chemistry was undeniable and slightly frightening. He was the first person who I kissed (with tongue!) and I enjoyed it. My fondest memories of him include him shouting, “The power of Christ compels you!” in public as a parody of the Exorcist. He wanted to be entertaining and get me to laugh. He was always protective by being on the lookout for the wierdos.

My memories are vague but I remember being crushed that he decided to date someone else. He ended up marrying her and they now have children. Despite this betrayal, I never held a grudge against him because he’s not the type of person who you can be angry at for long. And he was there for me when I was seriously ill during my senior year of high school and had to be hospitalized. His very presence made me feel warm and grateful he was there.

My feelings for AJ confused me about my sexuality. I know now that demisexuality and grey asexuality exist, but this was during the 1990s. The internet was just starting to be accessible to the general public. Since I knew I was capable of having crushes and feeling turned on, I was confused about why I couldn’t feel those things as much or to as many people as my friends. I wondered if I was the type of person who meets only one or two loves in her life.

AJ contacted me on Facebook messenger out of the blue last year. He seemed lonely and miserable in his marriage, and wanted to commiserate with me about our shared past. For example, he wanted to know if I reciprocated his feelings back then and whether he made a mistake by not being with me. He called me later that week to talk. I confronted him about whether he wanted to have an emotional affair with me. The way that he was talking made me think that he wanted some kind of intimacy with me and thought this didn’t count as cheating since he lived in Vermont and I lived in Washington, DC. I felt disappointed that I had to have this conversation with him and felt like my memory of him was slightly tainted. I wish he left the past alone.

I sometimes think about what could’ve been if the both of us chose one another. But that’s not what happened. It’s hard for me to be stuck in the past when I want to focus on the present.

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