I’ve just returned to the apartment from a morning of errand-running. In the car, “Against All Odds” by Phil Collins came on. I loathe this song, but instead of switching to a different track, I listened to the song to completion. It jogged my memory enough to remember my first adult break up and how poorly I handled it.
It was January of 2010, and my first “real” boyfriend and I had been together for a solid two and a half years. When I say “real” boyfriend, I mean he was the first guy (in the history of ever) who wanted to commit to me. My crush in high school considered me his “partner in crime” as opposed to his girlfriend, and the guys I dated thereafter didn’t want more than drinks and blowjobs. But I digress.
My relationship with first real boyfriend deteriorated rapidly over the course of six months following our return from vacationing in Japan. I had broken up with him immediately upon return, but we reconciled a week later. Things did not get better. He continued to irritate me, to say the least. We related to each other less and less. I resented him more and more, to the point that I resented every fiber of his being. The things I used to find endearing (like the fact that he used to make up his own slang terms) now made my blood boil with rage. And that’s when we broke up. It was pretty brutal.
We didn’t speak until March. I think I may have reached out to him because I was curious and mainly lonely. Our initial phone call following the break up was innocent enough. Subsequent phone calls were equally pleasant. And then I began romanticizing all of those things that I hated. I loved his made up words, and his socially inappropriate behavior, and the way he would completely ignore my feelings in public and yell “bukkake” at the top of his lungs. My loneliness didn’t help the situation out any. The more I romanticized his bullshit behaviors, the more I longed for him. The more I longed for him, the more I believed the voices in my head that told me I would never be loved again. By the time we saw each other in April, I was desperate for him to take me back, if only to feel what I used to feel when I knew someone loved me.
We met at the same bar we had our first date at, even sitting in the same seats. We drank, laughed, remembered the good times. I told him he looked well and he returned the sentiment. A Depeche Mode song came on overhead, and it was the same song we sang the first time we met. Things seemed to be stacking up in my favor. The song, the bar, the pleasantries. Could it be that we were in the midst of some kind of reconciliation?
I read into the song too much, I guess. I read into the moment too much as well.
We drunkenly stumbled to the parking lot, using each other for balance, still laughing just as hard as we did in the bar. And then we went from using each other for balance to hand holding. And then we went from laughing to waiting for the other to speak. We reached my car, staring at one another, our faces very close.
“What do you want to do?” He asked, the question typically asked by someone looking to pass off responsibility for the moment.
“I don’t know,” I said, equally looking to pass responsibility. He paused. We were breathing heavily. I was pinned between him and my car. I felt his erection against my leg, much like our first date. I grew impatient, wanting him to make the first move, needing to know where I stood. “Do it.” I finally said, breaking the silence. And then it happened.
Yeah, we kissed. A bunch. I don’t think I need to go into detail. You’ve made out with someone you had no business making out with before. You know damn well what those moments consisted of. Bad life choices 101: DON’T MAKE OUT WITH YOUR EX.
There wasn’t much to say after that. I had sobered up nicely since leaving the bar and was prepared to drive home. I made my exit with standard platitudes one would make after a non-date. “This was fun.” “It was great seeing you.” “We should do it again sometime.” I wanted to stay longer, to make out more, to hear him say “I’ll change and I want you back.” I wasn’t willing to wait forever for those words, though (it was a work night and I was tired). As I was grabbing my car keys out of my purse, however, we grabbed my wrist.
“What?” I said, the fantasies in my head running amok. And then he broke out into song.
The dumb bastard started serenading me with a damn Phil Collins song, spoon-feeding false hope with every word. And I was eating that shit up. I was so blinded by my desperation to be wanted by SOMEONE, I mistook the inappropriate social behavior that I typically hated for genuine interest.
I drove home on a cloud, imagining what the second reboot of our relationship would be like, putting his last name next to my first name, picking out baby names for fetuses that didn’t exist. Merely thinking we were getting back together was enough to keep what was left of my self-esteem and self-worth together (at least for the next 12 hours).
The lesson in this story, dear friends, is simple: once a douche, always a douche.
I’m not going to tell you about the conversation that occurred the next day, about my complete and utter disappointment, about the weeks that followed in which I walked around confident that no one wanted and/or loved me. And I’m not going to tell you that this train of thought and self-talk ended then and there. You can use your imagination.