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The One Who Got Away (Thank God)

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Tess Durbin: His crystal blue eyes and salt and pepper hair popped up at me from the screen like one of my kids' 3-D books.

woman excited on the computer

"Jesus" I said out loud. "He looks great." Thank god I was alone. My husband would not have appreciated my reaction. I don't have any men from my past who qualify as "the one who got away" because in my mind the one that sticks is the one you're meant to be with, but if there was going to be one, my new Facebook "friend" would probably be the guy.

Unlike other past boyfriends who I keep tabs on through friends or the news, one or two of them are infamous, I had put this old suitor completely out of my mind. Particularly after the last time I saw him. I had just moved to California where he had been living for a few years. We had been sweethearts briefly in college and yet one of many details I forget about "us"is how we managed to have a lunch date that day. As soon as I saw him across the food court though I remembered the first time we met. I was visiting my best friend at her fancy East Coast college and in walked this young man with a crazy sparkly intelligence and big warm smile. We spent the next forty eight hours talking, flirting, holding hands, and eventually kissing and then we parted. We made a plan to see each other again, I don't remember where, but I didn't feel the same way about him. In truth, I got scared, commitment was not my thing.

Then we tried dating after college when we were both living in NYC and that ended in a fizzle too. Somehow years later we came together a third time and there we were sitting on some outdoor chairs working our way through a couple of chinese chicken salads catching up. I can't quote anything we said to eachother, but I still remember how the sunlight leaked through his eyelashes and danced on his eyes. And then at a certain point I figured out he was married. But I wasn't, and we weren't kids anymore. I left very soon after. The phone was ringing when I walked in the door to my one room apartment.

"It was great to see you," I think he said.

"It was very nice to see you too," I said, and then added, "Stephen, you're married," I remember that crystal clear!

"Yeah...well..."he responded.

"I'm single..." I said. I didn't want to have to add, "...and new in town and lonely and you're still f(*king cute and this is going to go nowhere good." So instead I think I just said, "It's not a good idea."


"Take care," I added.

And then ten years later BLAMMO here he is again.

"Stephen James would like to be your friend."

I couldn't help but check his relationship status.


next: Single-Sex Schools Rule
4 comments so far | Post a comment now
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