Just a Boy, Just an Ordinary Boy

That Boy. You know the one. We all have one. For me, That Boy is my high school sweetheart. I cheated on my first real boyfriend with That Boy and we have been on again-off again-will we-won't we-we're perfect for each other-we're totally wrong together ever since then: six years of a complicated, nearly indecipherable web spanning between Old Friends and Current Lovers. He's That Boy who I swore I would marry one day. He taught me, for better or worse, things about myself and about life that felt so good and hurt so badly I thought I would burst. He taught me how to lust, how to really love someone, how to be hurt and betrayed and how to sob into my knees for two weeks straight. He taught me how to move on and to forgive but never forget.

Winter 2005: Norfolk, VA

Every summer, That Boy and I somehow ignite again. I keep coming back to that spot in my life where we made sense, and we try the relationship on again, one year older, adults, different now. Things are always different. Last summer, after our relationship simmering into ash for so long, years of indifference and "what if"s spontaneously combusted and suddenly I realized we were in a healthy adult relationship.

Spring 2006: Norfolk, VA

In the summer, no matter how we've changed or grown apart in the previous year, we're somehow reduced to our high school selves: naive, impatient teenagers who were little else but crazy about each other. Last summer we made the difficult decision to not attempt to continue our relationship when I moved to Egypt, and parted ways.

Spring 2007: Virginia Beach, VA

Now here I am, back in my high school town, just back from a trip to DC with That Boy to see my friends from Egypt. But something has changed. Unlike every other summer, this summer I couldn't go back to who I was in high school. I couldn't make myself be that girl that he loved anymore. I don't know that girl anymore. I hardly remember her. I hardly remember anything before the sand and the noise and the endless deserts and blazing heat. I don't remember the girl who loved That Boy, either. She seems like a stranger to me. Because, for the first time in my life, looking at him, I don't feel lust or passion or an intense need to be near him and hold his hand and to love him and be loved by him. I only feel a smoldering, comfortable affection: he is an old friend who I used to be in love with- nothing more, nothing less.

Senior Prom 2007: Fort Monroe, VA

I don't understand him or his goals, and he doesn't understand me or my life or why I have made the decisions I have. With nothing in common but our shared history and a deep, newly-platonic love for one another, it is finally clear: it will never be just he and I. The future for the two of us is something we never could have anticipated, but it finally feels right. That Boy is like a relic from a past that doesn't seem like my own in its distance from my present.

Summer 2009: Atlanta, GA
As always, That Boy taught me something new this summer without even realizing it. He's shown me that sometimes letting go feels good, and falling out of love with someone isn't necessarily a bad thing- sometimes it's healthy and necessary. You can't move on until you know for sure that That One Person really isn't the one for you. I finally know....this boy isn't going to be The Boy. That Boy is finally just that...just a boy.
Summer 2010: Washington, DC

2 "bhebek"s:

erika edith said...

I loved this post. Thank you.

KK said...

Great post.