Lost Loves


I was walking with a friend the other day.  A friend who is a regular reader of my blog.  And it is usually on Wednesday or Thursday that she asks me, “So what are you writing about this week?” I replied, “I don’t know….I’m a little stuck, “ and perhaps those who have come to expect a new edition in their mailboxes each weekend might have noticed, I did not publish last week.  Twice now, in 66 weeks, I missed a post.

I said, “I’m thinking about writing about procrastination.”  And she said, “Why don’t you write about lost loves?”  Just then my stomach dropped and churned.  Because to write about lost loves means I have to hash out the memories.  And I’m not sure I’m ready.  Some times some things are best left in the past.

But I often say in my classes that the things that make you the most uncomfortable are the things we need the most.  And since I am single, that makes all of my past romances a member of the gang of Lost Boys…..

So here it goes:  Lost Loves. 

It started in Kindergarten, really.  My first two boyfriends fought over me at the Lego table.  (Yes, I had two)  That was the highlight.  It’s kind of all downhill from here.

My first date was in the third grade.  A Vietnamese boy named Huy Nguyen, which was pronounced “Wee Wee-in”.  My parents picked him up from his swimming lesson at the YMCA, and when he climbed in the back seat with us, we nearly gagged in the fog of cologne or aftershave he seemingly swam in.  We choked our way to the local movie theater where Huy and I sat next to one another, sharing a bag of popcorn that tasted like Old Spice.  My parents sat four rows behind us.  Probably also eating Old Spice.

I dated a boy in grade five whose hobby was square dancing, and so yes, I put on a frilly skirt and bloomers and I dosey-do’ed until he noticed me.  We chastely passed notes and pecked each other on the cheeks, but we were professional hand-holders.  We, and the rest of our couple friends, would walk up to the hill overlooking the soccer field and sit in a circle and hold hands.  That’s it.  I imagine that perhaps we might have talked a bit, but mostly we held hands.  And when the principal tried to put a stop to it, instigating a rule of “no hand-holding at recess” we, as a group of hand-holders, marched into his office (holding hands) to protest the regulation as an infringement against our inherent rights to intertwine digits.

My first kiss was in the 7th grade, with a fellow named Brandon, with whom I had a major crush on for months.  I watched him date the girl that all of the boys wanted to date, and I was thrilled when he chose me as second choice when she dumped him.   We arranged a baseball game in the field by my house with my neighborhood friends, and in the middle of the game he pulled me by my hips, mid-sentence, away from first base to a shady spot under a tree.  Knowing what was coming, and scared out of my wits, I shyly looked into his brown eyes, and not knowing what else to do, pulled his baseball cap over his eyes.   What followed was sloppy and unexpected and in general, unpleasant.  Almost enough to make me swear off kissing forever.  Almost.

The first time I had sex it was with a boy named Trouble.  He was a gangster.  Or the closest thing that our small town could muster up in the realm of gangster-ness.  But he certainly was trouble.  I was too young to know better or to know that “no” was an option.  Coolness was a priority.  Self-respect was apparently not.

And then there was Kristian.  My first love.  We dated in high school for three months and have remained friends ever since.  He is still my best and oldest friend.  But oh, did I watch his 6th grade blonde, boyish curls bounce through the county fair; making all the girls swoon….and this was years before we ever dated.  He was cool and kind and fun wrapped up in one spontaneous package.  When we broke up, I was devastated.  Sarah McLachlan was my soundtrack to and from work and provided all of the solace that teenage angst could muster.  My family moved across the country because of him.  (My parents wanted to move, but didn’t want to take us away from our friends, and so, in the midst of heartbreak and sorrow, I said, “fuck it” let’s get out of this small town.)  In a family of four, three was all you needed for the majority vote.

After the move, I dated a man/boy who was 6 years older than I was.  I was 18 and he was 24, which is why I call him a man/boy because these days 24 does not make a man.  (24 is like the new 4).  He had his own issues, but he said the thing that I’ll never forget:  “I love you.  But I’m not in love with you.”  And that was my mental mantra that I carried around for many, many years:  “lovely, but unloveable.”

The next big one was the first time I tried to play house.  It was the first person I moved in with.  The guy that, with whom buying groceries with was romantic; because it was novel.  It had all the major components:  sex, romance, fun, friendship, companionship and full disclosure but lacked the maturity and how can one person fill so many roles anyways?  Two halves do not make a whole.

Then there was Mr. Big.  It is the genius behind the writing of Sex and the City because who doesn’t have a Mister Big?  Even fishermen have a Mister Big, except they call him “the one that got away”.  My Mr. Big emotionally cheated on me plenty of times, with lots of girls; whether or not he physically carried through with the motions, I’ll never know.  He lied and he drank and he rejected me and then apologized and at some point, I sort of thought, “maybe I don’t deserve this.”  Then I spent another three years trying to convince him to convince ME that I definitely do not deserve this.

The hard part about looking back over all of these lost loves and broken hearts, whether it was small, third grade, immature and unrefined; or adult, “realistic” and/or jaded is because it provides a very clear reflection of how you saw yourself at those times.

Unworthy or undeserving or second choice or uncool. 

And that is very sad.  Or somehow, bittersweet.

Because now things are so incredibly happy and incredibly good and unfathomnably okay and all without a partner.  And I would almost pity the girl that allowed herself to be treated this way.  I would shout at (or hug)the woman who talked about herself like this if it wasn’t me we’re talking about.

So, to all of the Lost Boys, thank you for your attentions and adorations, for your tangled tongues and intertwined fingers, for your mixed messages and your stinky cologne because without you, I would not be here as I am now:  honest, raw, beautiful and grounded and me….



5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mary Lynn
    Nov 17, 2012 @ 07:05:26

    XOXOXOOXOXO Love you unmessable, thanks for sharing sharing!!


  2. Robin
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 07:19:58

    Lovely, honest and introspective – just like the writer.


  3. Dad
    Nov 18, 2012 @ 19:51:28



  4. Carrie
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 12:16:40

    Love it, Jen!


  5. nicray12
    Nov 20, 2012 @ 18:47:31

    I love the comment, “it provides a very clear reflection of how you saw yourself at those times.” How very true!


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