Too often I hear my girlfriend rehash past sexual experiences and they’re missing a few brothers I’m ABSOLUTELY sure she had relations with. Upon inquiring, “Aren’t you missing a few?” I always receive the responses:
“He doesn’t count.”
“I just want to erase him from my memory.”
“Girl you’re tripping.”
I’m not tripping. I’ve got picture perfect memory. Marcus scooped you from our house, you two went on an “amazing” dinner and dance date, and you arrived the next morning all giggles and smiles. Admit it.
He was no faux hologram sitting in our communal living room. I didn’t imagine his false words, “I think your friend’s a keeper.” There was no waking up from a ridiculous and torrid dream. It was real.
But I understand, wholeheartedly.
I loved and liked a “deletion” once or twice. We were teenagers with extravagant minds and rebellious tendencies. I’d sit on the hood of his car, heat rising beneath my bottom, and smile at him standing on the other side.
“Come here.” He said.
These are the two sultry words that appear in soap operas and hype depictions of love, but in that moment he whispered it. I crossed my penny loafers, fiddled with the tail of my collared shirt, and tried to tuck the giddy nerd back into the deep recesses of my idiosyncrasies.
He said it again.
I teetered on the boundary of youth and womanhood when he walked over to me. He kissed me hard. The pucker of a brother who’d been around the block, but not so often that you’d heard about him. The things I did hear danced near perfection:
Ever had someone turn your soul inside out? Someone that has you so caught up that there’s no reality but the one between you. Have him lay his head across your chest and hear your heart beating out of your chest? Smile upwards, at you, like he knows something….
& then he left.
I’d chatted him up to my friends: He loves me. We’re meant for one another. Our conversations are immaculate.
How could I possibly tell them that Mr. Perfection was gone?
At eighteen, you think it’s all over. After your first heartbreak, it seems that you’ll never find adoration again and you’ll surely perish from wrought or live alone forever.
In order to move on I tucked him where no one could find him. I erased the blue waters of the pier, the awkward walks home, and the spontaneous mirth. As far as I was concerned, he didn’t exist. A few times, friends who remembered him queried, “Whatever happened to…?” I’d disregard them with the wave of a hand, implying he was nothing, and change the topic.
Later on I’d date a similar guy: Ivy League immersed, genuine, and a relentless man. I watched him pack his bags for grad school as I witnessed Mr. Perfection do it years before, for undergrad. I winced at the memory, but hugged and kissed him upon his exit.
He didn’t call the first night.
Nor the second.
My stomach turned.
Déjà vu smiled her deadly grin.
I called him on the third day, “You know, I’ve been here before and if school is going to be where you’ll sow your wild oats and forget about me let me know now.”
He was confused and hurt by my infuriation. He’d been exceptionally busy with the start of classes and was heavy with worry that he wouldn’t succeed.
“Riv, I love you, I was going to call. I’m sorry.”
& he did, he stayed.
This is when I had to realize that my past was never really eradicated. It was a buried burden waiting to arise upon reflection. The only way I could be sure that I’d never parallel my hurt to someone from an entirely different situation was to confront it.
He was there.
I loved him.
He might have loved me.
That doesn’t matter.
What matters is that I’ve learned.
I’ve gained the knowledge that every love isn’t meant to be and some men are only meant for increments of the heart. You can’t give it all away. This was a valuable lesson, it empowered me to slow down all future endeavors and make sure he was worth every moment. I embody that value and I should have worn it with pride.
Women try to erase men from their past to reduce their “number,” forget they’ve been wronged, or hope to maintain their insincere innocence.
We are comprised of our gaffes and distresses. Those occurrences have molded the people we’ve grown to be. Embrace your scars. Show the world that you are wounded and broken, but you mend everyday.
“RivaFlowz” is a teacher and professional writer living in New York City. You can follow her on Twitter: @rivaflowz.
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