The One Who Didn’t Get Away

by Stella Forth

This weekend I went to lunch with the guy who didn’t get away. He was one of my best friends from college. We never made it work, because we just never did.  We lived in separate cities after college and every now and again, as I went through my divorce, as he bought his first house, as we navigated the dating scene, we’d meet up, hang out, and get re-centered on life.

I met a boy, who I married, had a kid and we went off into the sunset. Likewise, he met a girl, a beautiful, wonderful amazing girl, and now it seems to me that he’s still unsure that he asked her to marry him and they handed me their invitation this weekend and he still seems “meh”.

When I called him two years ago to tell him I was running to Vegas and getting married, I remember him commenting with sadness that I was basically his back up plan. That he thought we would work it out sooner or later. But we weren’t supposed to yet, and here I was going off and getting married. That said, I was in love with my husband and still today, this guy couldn’t have filled that space that my husband does now.

This weekend we stole a quick moment to catch up as his fiance and my husband and kid were using the restroom. He looked at my now short bob, and said it was a “Mom Haircut”. I have at least 40 lbs of baby weight and a set of dark circles under my eyes explaining to the world that I’m exhausted, but surviving parenthood. Perhaps he didn’t see my sad heart that my husband and I haven’t been on the best of terms lately, or perhaps that I’m having an identity crisis on what my life means now that I’m in my late thirties and feel as if I’m not where I should be professionally or as a parent or as a woman in general. Let’s just put it into type, he looked at me, and realized that I’d let myself go.

But, after 15 years since graduating from college, despite my own shortcomings, I will say, at least I know where I am is where I’m supposed to be. Yep, he’s a complete ass for doing so little as to comment on my hair rather than ask how I am.  He has no idea that he left that conversation hurting me. I did write him a quick note later saying that I would be praying for his heart to settle, and that he was somewhat hateful about what he said. Perhaps I just don’t have the brain room for him to occupy anymore, and because of that, I don’t have the energy to expend on keeping up the relationship either. This is just another one that will transition away as I grow up and evolve.

What I take solace in, as my ego and self confidence heal, is that “one day” he will understand, grow up and evolve as well.  He too will have a kid and a wife, and understand that we fall apart, and sooner or later, we get back up again – and that we should extend sympathy and love for the person who is inside rather than judging for the person who isn’t outside.





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