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Letters to Bootcamp

You know that saying, “You never know what you got til it’s gone”? Well I knew what I had, in a way, but even now it’s awful.

My sister left for bootcamp a couple of weeks ago. I’m beyond proud of her and I know she is kicking butt, but I miss her more than I ever imagined I would. In the last year, we became closer than I ever thought we could be. We went on two incredible trips together, saw many amazing movies, had tons of dinners, and countless phone calls. I’d call her to whine about anything and everything or just if I was bored. We talked and bonded constantly.

In January, we went to Gatlinburg for a ski trip. It was amazing and though I was tired of her and her friend Charles by the end of it, it was a week full of memories that I’ll never forget. In March, we drove to Universal Studios to see Harry Potter world. I’d already been once but I knew that was something she needed to see. Of course, the park has changed a lot in the past five years so it felt like the first time for me too. Over Christmas break, she spent a couple of weeks living with me. She stayed in Amber’s room because she was between the dorm and her boyfriend’s parents’ house. I just loved having her close.

Now, she has only been gone two weeks, but I’ve gone to pick up the phone to call her about a million times. Any time I want to see a movie or want to go to eat or want to do just about anything, I want to call her.

I am going dress shopping on Tuesday. While I’m incredibly excited, I’m so sad she won’t be there. She doesn’t even know we are getting married. I told her we were just going to do the Justice of the Peace thing this summer and do the real deal sometime in the Spring, but we decided to go ahead and do the full big shebang in September. She doesn’t know. We don’t have her contact information yet so I haven’t been able to write her and tell her.

I don’t know how we will make it in the future, being on opposite coasts or whatever is to come. We chose a complicated life. I’m just so lucky that I have so many wonderful friends and the most incredible man to help me through it all. I just can’t wait for my sister to have her phone and be able to talk to me again.

Anxious for the Future

Anxiety is a curious and terrible thing. I don’t think anyone has ever enjoyed being anxious and it isn’t something one can afford. My heart is constantly beating at an irregular pace, my stomach is in knots, and I’m incredibly distracted. I HATE it.

The worst thing about it is that you really can’t remedy the situation unless you’re apt at meditation or you ingest some for of medication. Neither of these things apply to me so I’m stuck with the sweaty palms and the not-so-restful sleep.

“What are you anxious about, Clara?” one might ask.

Well even if you don’t care, I’m going to tell you.

I have so many balls in the air right now. Life is happening. I’m growing up and my entire world will change within the next few months. There are too many big things on the horizon and to be honest, I don’t think I’m handling it very well. I’ve been sick to my stomach for a week and my best guess is it’s because Mess Night is tomorrow night.

Mess Night is a very traditional dining experience that has become an integral part of boosting morale and camaraderie within the military. All the branches have some sort of this tradition where we all gather for an evening of toasts, traditions, and fines. Fines are stories made to seem like horrible acts in order to embarrass the accused and send them to the grog. The grog is the most disgusting compilation of ingredients that the Vice President of the Mess is tasked with creating. To give you an idea, one year it had hot sauce, pickles, and dogfood in it (among other things).

This year, since I’m a senior, the pressure is on to levy a couple of fines. The past two years I’ve managed to fly under the radar. I haven’t gotten called on, nor have I had to partake of the grog. My shy side was more than appreciative. This year, however, there aren’t a whole lot of jokesters in the upperclassmen that can be counted on to keep the others entertained. As a result, I’ve prepared a few things to keep the night rolling. Hopefully it’ll all work out and be in good fun. Hopefully I’ll be able to get through my accusation without messing up or stuttering like an idiot under all the pressure. Hopefully I don’t have to drink grog. Fingers crossed.

So that’s a massive stressor on my mind right now. It may not seem like much but it’s a compilation of things I struggle with or hate.

Another giant thing on my mind is Alan. I’m afraid to jinx it given my history – especially since I almost agreed to marry my last idiot boyfriend. First, I get to talk to him on Skype for the first time in over a month. That’ll happen either tonight or tomorrow night. Second, there is still a whole lot in the air about my trip to San Diego to spend the summer with him and the trip to Hawaii to see him a couple of days early. It’s hard on me having all of this uncertainty and having so many variables still up in the air. I’m getting sick of the “Well we could” or “It might”. I want conformation and decision, but the Navy isn’t going to do what I want. I’m anxious about seeing him for the first time in almost three years. I’m anxious about spending the whole summer with him. I excited for that too. I’m anxious about the fact that we have been very seriously talking about getting married.

Okay, lemme defend myself. Yes, it’s soon. Yes, we are young. Yes, I’ve thought I was going to marry my last three boyfriends. But, I’ve loved Alan and only Alan so whole heartedly since I met him. I’ve never not loved him. I’ve never been able to let go of him. I’ve known him for years. We have a ton of history and we have a very prior-established relationship. It’s always been Alan. He was always the one I went back to. His is the name that gave me butterflies. His is the voice I longed to hear. I want to go hunting with him and see the world with him and watch Netflix with him and hide out in the mountains with him. I want everything with him. All of the other guys were me just lying to myself. I was just trying to convince  myself (and everyone else) that I was over him. I was sure we were over. I was sure that Jake was great and that he would get better after we were married. I was sure that there was no way it couldn’t work out. Plus I was scared of him and didn’t know how to break up with him.

When I see Alan I suppose I’ll know. But overall it’s a huge stress factor.

Sydney is leaving for bootcamp in a few days. She has become like my best friend lately and I’m going to miss her more than I’d ever imagined.

I’m going to graduate college and commission in the Navy and move from the only state I’ve ever lived in within a year.

Basically everything is changing. It’s terrifying more than it’s exciting at this point. I think I’ll be happier once I know where I’m going, if Alan and I will get married, and how Sydney is doing.

Plus, Mess Night being over with after tomorrow will probably help in the short term.

Anxiety is a bitch. I’ve got to start meditating.

A Quick Tribute

I imagine at the ten year point this post will be a tad lengthy. However, today seems like an appropriate day for a small tribute to seven years of coexistence.

I opened up my Time Hop today and saw that three of my posts from the last five years were some sort of a Happy Birthday wish to one of my dearest friends. I then realized that we have been friends for the better part of a decade (if you can even call it friendship).

I started my blog in my junior year of high school. I have always been a writer and the easiest way for me to express myself is through the random musings of my fingertips when given an open, blank document. We each started blogs on this site as a means of communicating with each other. There had been quite a bit of flux when it came to our relationship, which lead to our not being open about remaining friends. You’d have to go back and read posts in order to fully understand the depth of which this kind of a relationship began, but I’ll do my best to shorten it for you.

Freshman year he was dating a friend of mine. We didn’t speak much.

Sophomore year we ended up in a couple of classes together – namely Driver’s Ed and the school newspaper crew. We were placed in the same group in Driver’s Ed which led to hours spent in that smelly car with the ever-creepy Mr. Orrick and his Austin Powers smile. There was dancing, popcorn, energy drinks, music, and more laughter than I’ll likely ever have again. One time in particular it was our “thing” to give each other wet willies. (We were in high school. What do you expect?) TD gave me one while I was driving. Naturally I freaked out and so did Mr. Orrick. So began the rants where he threatened to split us up out of that group. The year ended with his break with my friend and a messy class of friend groups. Naturally the girls bonded together and TD was left on the outside to seek solace in other friends. Thus began the war between the two “cliques”.

The summer after that year TD and I got closer than we would ever be. We talked on the phone for hours at a time and divulged our deepest, darkest secrets. We were totally honest and open while we grew to know and love one another. That summer will live in infamy as being one of the most real I’ve ever had. It was raw and passionate and intense and I’ll never forget how I felt. But things hadn’t changed as far as our friends went. So Junior year started and we weren’t allowed to be friends. We had classes together and passed notes in silence, doing anything and everything to keep from being noticed by our friends. We started a movie trend where he would pass me a DVD a couple of times a week because I hadn’t seen really anything and he took it upon himself to educate me in the world of cinematography. Never will I forget when we read The Crucible allowed. I was Abigail Williams and he was John Proctor. I’ll never forget how red my face turned when we read the part that outlined their explicit affair. Looking back now I’m sure no one knew what was going on between us, but I felt as if our secrets had been painted on a billboard for everyone to see.

The blog began that year as well. We used it as a means of passing notes to one another. We expressed our feelings and had witty conversations through our posts and I came to realize that he was my dearest friend. Hands down I cherished him more than I have ever cherished anyone. I adored him and I adored being around him.

For some reason or another we ended up on the outs later that year that led to my group doing something downright shameful.

This is where it starts to get hazy because there were so many bouts of ups and downs that it started to get confusing. I do know that we were on good terms in time for Mr. Winfrey’s AP Lit class senior year. I will never forget his rendition of “Chuck E. Cheese” set to some track I’ve long since forgotten. We also made a trailer for our version of Macbeth. That was a day that was both embarrassing (for having to display my acting skills – or lack thereof) and fun. I laughed more than I had in a while that day.

We weren’t on good terms when we left that awful school. I do remember how sad that was for me. Some point in freshmen year I think we met back up but it’s hard to remember. Since then it’s been more off than on, but the fact of the matter is that I know I can always go to him if I really need someone who gets me.

This summer I was in the middle of trying to break up with the big oaf I’d been dating for a year and a half. I posted things that attempted to describe how horrible he was to me and how unhappy and devastated I was. TD posted a response that gave me the courage to figure out my life and finally get away from him. It was the last bit of reassurance in myself that I needed.

That little post that might not have seemed like much to him meant the world to me. That post let me know that after everything, I know that TD will always be there for me. He will always help me out when I need him most and I hope he feels the same way.

So here’s to you on your 22nd birthday, after so many years of coexistence and growth together. Here’s to someone who molded my writing more than any teacher I’ve ever known. Here’s to some of the best and worst memories from the worst high school in the world. Here’s to long nights and getting to know someone truly better than you know yourself. Here’s to you my lucky charm.

I will always love you.

Ghosts

There are things in life that haunt us. The human mind has the incredible ability to seemingly forget all of the wonderful things we have accomplished and the good memories and instead torture us with every single mistake we have ever made. It’s easy to dwell on the little “I should have”‘s or the “I didn’t”‘s.

I shouldn’t have slept with that guy.

Sleeping with a total stranger was something totally against my personality and totally out of character for me. I barely knew him but there was fire and there was a raw carnal need that I simply didn’t wish to deny. I do not, for a second, regret any moment spent with him. I regret nothing that I did. However, I do regret perhaps pushing the situation. He asked me on dates a couple of times, but they never came to pass. Even though he swore it wasn’t, it was just sex. I didn’t want to get attached and he was a basket case. There was one night where we were trying to keep quiet because my roommate was home. Trying to keep quiet changed things. The sex was different. It was much more sensual and much slower. Looking at him in the moonlight, my heart was stirred. I think that he felt something too because I only saw him one other time after that. He acted strangely when he dropped me off at my house, kissing me but not trying to come upstairs. After the traditional phone call on his drive home, I never heard from him again.

For a while I tortured myself over what I could have done differently and what I probably said to make him vanish like that. I mean, when a guy you’re having sex with just up and disappears, it must have been something I did, right? Wrong. He was a mess. He had commitment issues and personality issues and depression issues – I was very serious when I said “basket case”. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t my fault and that I felt slighted and cheap because I’d made myself available to a man I barely knew. Yes, he threw me aside, but I put myself in the position to be tossed out in the first place. I’ll accept some of the guilt here, but I miss it every day. He was handsome and wonderful to be around. He had everything going for him, but he was “50 shades of fucked up”.

So tonight, I was alone at an early screening of 50 Shades of Grey. It has been two and a half months since this guy vanished and then in he walks with a girl. First thought: “Oh fuck. Of all the places.” Second thought: “He moved on,” (even though it’s been almost three months and I assumed he had another girl within a week). Third thought: “I’m way hotter than her.” While the third thought was very conceited and totally unlike me, it was the pep talk I needed to recover from the slap in the face. What made her better than me? Then it occurred to me that she might just be his next victim and that they could have just met. He didn’t do the relationship thing so it’s likely he has gone through a handful of women between our time together and her.

He didn’t see me as far as I know, and they took a seat near the front of the theater. Now here is the secret…He reminded me of Christian Grey. He was rough and it was like a whole different person took over his body when it came to sex. He didn’t take his shirt off the first few times we had sex and he was pretty secretive about most of his life. So here I am, sitting in a theater, thinking about a man that is sitting less than twenty feet from me. Of course.

The movie was very well done and they perfectly portrayed the heartache and the raw passion that was there. I left the theater feeling all of their heart break as well as mine. Tonight I feel like I am the only person on this Earth.

I want passion and fire. I want someone to look at me the way that he looked at her. I want someone to want me so badly that he just takes me then and there. I want crazy, hot sex. I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. I’ve always wanted the love that is so intense that it threatens to consume you and results in steamy, sleepless nights full of kisses and desire. Tonight I had to come to terms with the fact that I don’t think that Alan is that kind of guy. I can’t see him throwing me on the couch and having his way with me. I was watching this movie and thinking of an old fuckbuddy instead of the love of my life.

Alan and I have only spent one night together. It was steamy and full of desire and longing. I was still a virgin so we didn’t have sex. Perhaps that is why I can’t see him that way. I am hoping that’s why, because I don’t want to imagine a world without either one of the things that I have grown to want most out of life.

And on a night when I’m haunted by ghosts and bad endings and I feel like the only person alive, I can’t have the only thing that would comfort me and soothe my fears. I can’t have him here.

Old Habits

Part of growing up is moving on and becoming a different person than you were when you were younger. You are expected to experience things in life, fall in and out of love, make friends and memories that you’ll smile about when you’re older, and even make mistakes that continue to mold you.

While I have had some serious memory-making this past six months, I also broke a cardinal rule of growing up. I back tracked.

First, let me tell you about my recent experiences.

Over Christmas break my routine was very simple. I woke up, went to work, went out to a bar, and went to sleep. I did that almost every day for thirty days. I saw all kinds of different Memphis bars that I never would’ve seen otherwise. I tried new drinks and got to know some of my coworkers better. I went to a Speakeasy and stayed up all night way too often. On what was supposed to be a relaxing break, I ended up more tired and worn out than I was at the beginning of it.

Last semester I met a guy and slept with him quite a few times though we weren’t dating and I barely knew him. The sex was incredible and he was thrilling and edgy and outgoing in ways that helped me escape my comfort zone. After three or four weeks he just vanished. He had personal, emotional issues that I’m assuming caused him to run. I don’t regret a minute spent with him. I always wanted to have that hot and heavy one night stand kind of thing and even though that lasted more than a night, he was still a basic stranger with a hot body and a smile that could turn you on.

On New Years Eve I met up with a girl that I’d met on Tinder. We ended up making out and messing around in the bathroom. She turned out to be batshit crazy and I never spoke to her again after that night, but that was another bucket list thing that I got out of the way. My only regret is that I spent New Years Eve in a bathroom stall. That night kind of sucked but you live and learn. At least now I know I’m not a lezzie.

I also slept with two of my friends over the break. I really didn’t want either one to happen and they happened way too close together. Actually, it happened in 24 hours. The first one I felt obligated to and the second one kind of just happened even though I didn’t want it to. I said I didn’t want to and he kind of pushed me into it. Afterward I curled up in the fetal position and nearly cried. It was pretty terrible. I avoided them both for the rest of the break as best I could. That couple of days also fall in the mistake department.

I also went skiing and had the time of my life. I hung out with a cute boy and saw all kinds of bad things, but that night is one of my favorites.

So it was an eventful break.

Then, last Wednesday something magical happened. The last five months have been punctuated with Skype dates and Facebook messages. That’s where I backtracked. After all of this personal growth and all of the wonderful things I’ve experienced, I backtracked big time.

Alan has peppered my posts (actually he has been 75% of them) since I started this blog six years ago. He was my first love and he was the boy that taught me everything about playing hard to get and flirting. I fell hard and fast for someone I barely knew and he turned out to be an incredible asshole, but for reason I couldn’t escape him. Over the years we had every fight imaginable and we went months on end without a word passing between us. We dated other people and tried to move on. We each grew up and matured in many ways. However, a lot of things didn’t change. His name still made my breathing shallow. His voice made my chest constrict. He still drove me crazy in every way possible.

When I was in San Diego this summer, I was less than a mile from him. I posted Snapchats so he would know I was there in hopes that he might come to me. Jake had made it very clear that I wasn’t to talk to Alan, but I couldn’t help it if he texted me, right? So he did. He texted me and we had yet another hard conversation that was strained by the fact that we were in love with each other but I was still with Jake.

When I finally broke up with Jake a couple of months later, I went straight to Alan. I emailed him (since he was on deployment) and things kind of picked up right where we left them. I would feel bad about this regression except two things are different now.

1. He has grown up a lot. The realization that I almost married Jake and he would have lost me forever paired with the time he has spent in the Navy has led to a much older, much more mature Alan.

2. We are a couple officially for the first time in seven years. He told me he couldn’t chance losing me again and that he loved me and wouldn’t ever let me go.

Since then, things have been wonderful. He is thoughtful and sweet. We still bicker and we will fight I’m sure, but he definitely cares about me and wants nothing more than to take care of me.

He is already talking about getting married. Since I’m spending the summer with him in California, I imagine I’ll come back with an engagement ring. People will say it’s fast since we will only have been together six or seven months, but in truth it’s been long enough. I know I love him. I’ve always loved him.

But we will just see how the summer goes…

Once In A Lifetime

His breath slowed as he slipped into a deep, peaceful sleep. She lay awake, listening to him and the sound of his breath. His arm was draped over her and his head was resting on her chest. It was perfectly pleasant and she hated it. She felt disgusting and lonely as she felt his chest move against her side with each long breath he took. He began to snore slightly. He really was precious, but she loathed snoring.

She turned her head and looked through the window at the full moon that hung in the sky. Moonlight spilled through the glass and across her naked body like a spotlight that was highlighting what she’d done. Tears welled up in her eyes as she thought of him and wondered if he was thinking of her too.

It had been a little over two years since she’d seen him last. They had had a very difficult relationship with many ups and downs in the time that they’d known each other. But in all eight years, through all of the other relationships, the distance, and the college experiences there had been one constant: their love for each other.

And A Happy New Year

Today was the happiest and the best Christmas I’ve ever had. I handmade all of the presents I gave my family. I had a blast doing so and they really seemed to enjoy them more than if I’d just bought everything. It was way more personal and meant a lot more to me. But that wasn’t what made this year special.

Today I had a Skype date with the love of my life. He is currently on deployment and I hadn’t heard from him much in the past month. Dating a military man is hard. We have it pretty good because he gets to email me or we get to IM on Facebook every four days or so. It’s way better than nothing. But after a while, the ache you have in your heart becomes harder and harder to bear.

Two days ago I woke up to a Skype phone call from him. We talked for two hours before he made me hang up and go to sleep. We spoke a couple more times over the next twenty-four hours. Basically, as much as we could talk, we did. I hadn’t expected to hear from him, so rolling over and hearing the tone that told me I had an incoming call was by far the best Christmas present I could have gotten.

We smiled and laughed and talked about the future. We talked about the Summer and getting married as well as having kids or what kinds of pets we want. We talked about everything under the sun and poked fun at each other for hours. It was fabulous. Literally a dream come true.

Today I was on my way to my parent’s house for a celebration and he called again. I pulled over and we talked and he told me Merry Christmas. He couldn’t stop telling me he loved me and that he missed me. He called me baby. He said all the right things. He told me he wanted to marry me and we pictured a possible wedding. We pictured what this summer together will be like. We pictured life together and talked about cars and houses and what not. He was constantly reassuring me that if I wanted it, I could have it. He was promising to take care of me and make me happy.

I trust him. I shouldn’t, given the history, but I do. I do, totally. I waited for him. I knew that he was the one from the day I fell in love with him. I waited while he experienced life and grew up. Now he has come back to me and it looks like this is actually going to work.

So from the love in my heart and the joy at this being the most honestly fantastic Christmas I’ve ever experienced, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Love Isn’t Real

I think I’ve reached a point where I have broken. After being self-identified as being a writer for my entire life, I’ve changed. I was a writer because I was a hopeless romantic. I believed in Pride and Prejudice romance and a love like Elizabeth’s and Mr. Darcy’s. The deep music and the strong words made me feel things I couldn’t begin to describe. My heart would swell and I would feel what they felt for a time.

Now, after a couple of dead end relationships and a failure at a new connection, I find myself totally complacent. The writer in me has been totally snuffed out. I walk around thinking about life and thinking about love, but I don’t hold it in the same regard as I used to. I used to think about true love and what it meant to me. I would imagine the day I met “The One”. I would imagine bumping into each other in a coffee shop and being hooked at first sight. I have started to realize that “love at first sight” isn’t a thing. We live in a time that has been totally taken over by technology.

Love isn’t real. Infatuation is a great thing. It makes us feel like we can touch the sun without getting burned, but that’s part of the honeymoon phase. That “love” fades and we are left with someone that we now have to get to know in a real way. Love is the stuff that keeps  you going once you know everything about that person and you’ve seen their darkness, but you choose to stay. Love is a choice. It isn’t a feeling. It isn’t fire or passion. It isn’t crazy and intense. It’s just comfortable. It’s finding your best friend and enjoying sex with them at the same time.

I want something extraordinary. I haven’t ever been the kind of girl that asked for much, but that’s where I won’t sacrifice. I have a very simple list of what I want out of a man. I want someone that will treat me like a princess, tell me he loves me and that he thinks I’m the most beautiful girl in the world, and brings me home little trinkets every so often because they made him think of me. I don’t want someone that is a fixer. I want someone to fix me. I’ve been broken and beaten down too many times to get back up on my own now. I want someone to help me fight the darkness with a crazy, happy, joking personality. I want someone that will say, “You can have whatever you want baby.” I’ll never ask for much, but I want to know that he would do that for me.

It’s all of these things that tell me that I’ll end up an old cat lady. I know I’m not needy or clingy and I’m not high maintenance. I make every attempt in the world to make my man feel loved, but I always end up getting taken advantage of. I’m sick of it. So what’s the answer? Don’t even go there. Just avoid it all together. So now I’ll be realistic. Find someone I can keep it casual with. Find someone I can just enjoy being around without anything getting too serious. Because love isn’t real.

If you took the time to read back through my posts from the past six years, you’d find a common theme. He has been in and out of my life for eight years now. For the first time, things are actually looking halfway decent for us.

I was young and stupid and I fell in love with the older guy that had a toxic smile. He made my heart flutter and a look from him sent me into a nervous fit of giggles. He always had a ridiculous effect on me. Our relationship was strained. We bickered and fought all the time. We went through spells where we wouldn’t talk at all. Every time I’d pass him in the hallway, I felt drawn to him. I always wanted to text him. I always wanted to be near him. It would take hours and a book or two to replay all of the interactions and all of the times that he left me breathless. I hope that one day I’ll actually put the good stuff into a book.

Our times together were always like a fairy tale. Our first almost-kiss, our first actual kiss, our Skype dates, our late night phone calls, sneaking out to meet, the first night that we spent together….all of it peppered with the forces in our life trying to keep us apart. The hardest was this summer when I was in San Diego. I walked right past the ship that he was on. We were within 200 yards of each other but I couldn’t go see him. I couldn’t talk to him. It was actual agony.

When I broke up with my boyfriend of almost two years, Alan came right back into the picture. He swears up and down he isn’t going to lose me again. He started talking about getting married someday and being together when I move to San Diego at the end of next year. I am starting to let myself believe that this time it’ll work. I’m not sure and I don’t know if it will end in tears again. I do know that I have to try. After all this time, it’s pointless to deny that he is anything other than my first love and my Achilles heel. I’ve loved him as long as I can remember. He has always been my “What if” guy. He was always the passionate, spicy, intense, tortured love that I believe they all should be like. If we are being perfectly honest, I’ve compared all of my flames to him. How could I not? I am a hopeless romantic and he makes me believe.

So yesterday we were chatting on Facebook. Our latest issue is that he is an Enlisted sailor and I’ll be an Officer at the end of next year. In the rules of the Navy, a relationship between us would be fraternization. Fraternization is a huge no-no. It’s grounds for the end to a career that hasn’t even started yet. We are currently investigating ways to get around the rules since this is a well-established prior existing relationship. I got upset yesterday because for the umpteenth time, it all seems to hopeless. I said, “This is the most complicated mess.” He replied, “I’m sorry. But I can’t unlove you.”

I know that everything is a mess and I know that the odds are never in our favor, but I also know that I love him. Our love has withstood the tests of time. We have lasted through eight years, other relationships, his parents hating me and vice versa, friend drama, deployments, and long spells of not even talking. This is just another bump in the road, but I’m starting to realize that NOTHING can keep us apart.

Full Circle

It’s fascinating to see how life changes and moves along while relationships evolve and fizzle out. The friends you thought were forever might not make it past the first year of college. Your first love might have seemed like the end all be all, but you may just realize that life holds bigger and better cards. The truth is that you never know how things are going to turn out. I’ve learned to enjoy sitting back and letting life just happen.

I had grand plans for my life. I had giant dreams, but I stumbled through the first year of my adult life. I didn’t really get it together before my Sophomore year of college. Now, I’ve made all of my dreams come true and then some. I never in a million years figured I’d be where I am today.

I always wanted to join the Navy and see the world after doing well in college and enjoying being a college student. I’ve got the Navy right around the corner and I’ve begun to enjoy my college experience now that it’s my senior year.

But that isn’t what this is about.

Alan has been a staple in my life since I started High School 8 years ago. He has faded in and out of my life based on our temper tantrums or my boyfriends, but we always come back to the same place. We always come back to each other. Now, it finally seems like we are on the same page.

He was my first love. I fell so hard for the older guy when I was in high school. I had it bad. I followed him around like a poor little puppy dog and he didn’t give me the time of day. He was a pretty big jerk, but I was young and I didn’t know anything. I learned from that time in my life. I learned how not to be with me. I learned not to be clingy or needy or text your man too much. I learned how to play hard to get. It is because of this that I don’t regret anything. He has long since apologized for his behavior in our younger days.

In the next two years, our relationship was peppered with arguments. We would go two or three months on good terms and then we would have a falling out that would last three or four months. I’d have a new boyfriend that wouldn’t want me talking to him or he would go back into an asshole phase and break my heart. Basically, he was horrible and I let him be horrible because I loved him so much. I couldn’t stay away from him. I’d get mad and tell him I was done, but I’d always go back. It was exhausting and very confusing.

I got to college and broke up with my boyfriend of a year and a half. Alan and I were on good terms for a few months during my Sophomore year of college where we skyped every night. We talked about actually being a couple for a while, but always decided that the distance was keeping us apart. He was in the Navy so he came home twice a year at the most. He was very skeptical of the long distance relationship and so he refused to try things with us.

I got another boyfriend that lasted another year and a half. He hated Alan for the way that he had treated me in high school, but he never could understand why I still wanted to be friends with Alan. I would sneak texts once in a while and try to get Jake to be okay with me having a relationship with him.

The time I spent without being in contact with him was always agony. It got to be the worst it ever had been this past summer. I was in California. I was there for training with the Navy. I walked right past his ship and I knew he was on that base somewhere. I wanted to see him desperately but we weren’t allowed to talk because Jake had begged me to let him go. I had promised not to talk to him anymore, because my fiance-to-be should be granted a courtesy such as that. It felt like my heart was ripped into a million pieces knowing that he was within a mile of me and I couldn’t see him.

The minute Jake and I broke up, I ran straight to Alan. I felt an instant relief when I got an email back from him that first time. I was afraid he hated me. I was afraid he wouldn’t want anything to do with me due to the history. Instead, he has decided to snatch me up and hold on to me. We have been emailing and skyping every chance we get and I’ve never been happier. Honestly, I think the fact that Jake and I were planning on getting married was his wake up call. He has had a couple of years to grow up and he definitely has. Now he is ready for the relationship that has always been something special.

He started talking about getting married yesterday. While I’m nowhere near ready to breach that subject again, it is crazy to realize that seven years ago I decided I was going to marry him. I remember sitting in class and thinking that a love like this was too raw and too intense not to be real. I imagined our lives and our kids and our house. I melted every time he spoke to me. His voice drove me wild and being around him always made my heart go a million miles an hour. Eight years later, he still has that effect on me.

So after all of that….all of the ups and the downs….all of the back and forth and the arguments, we are here. We are talking. We are in love. Things have changed, but all for the better. I’m not going to jinx it or get too excited by thinking about the possibilities, but I’m going to let things happen.

And if, someday, he pops the question, I might just say yes.

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