A close friend—we’ll call her B—called me the other day and dropped the OMG-bomb: “I just saw Nick’s new status update and he’s engaged.”
“Wow—congratulations to him! I mean…how do you feel?” I asked, changing my tone midway as I realized the news may not be all that happy for her. Nick, my friend’s high school sweetheart, and B had the type of relationship people write novels about, the kind of sickly sweet fairy tale stories Taylor Swift won Grammys for, the romances we all too eagerly could wait a lifetime for. The “I’m going to search for someone just like you for the rest of my life” kind of love that has the hearts of even the most curmudgeon of people pitter-pattering but like a juicy and tragic daytime soap opera, it didn’t end well.
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B spent the rest of high school and many years in college dealing with the emotional and physical aftershock of losing her first love recklessly over a stupid fight but now in her mid-20s, she’s doing great with an up-and-coming career in finance and envy-inducing lifestyle. And she’s dating someone new. Someone pretty special to her. Nick was like a faded bad dream from her past so when she saw that he is engaged, she should have been happy for him…right?
“When I saw that, I had to quickly turn off my computer because I felt so weird,” she told me. “I mean, I don’t know how to feel. I was really upset over it, actually, but I shouldn’t be. I know he’s so in love with his fiancé and they seem perfect for each other. And we were just kids when we were together. We would have never worked out anyway.”
“So why does this bother you then?” I wanted to know.
“Maybe because this means he could never be mine again. Maybe he was never mine all along and I just have to let it completely go. But after I turned off my computer, I went over to my boyfriend and just cried. He just hugged me, never asking me why I was so sad like he already knew, and I kept crying. Maybe I was so sad because it wasn’t me. But I didn’t think I wanted it to be me. Maybe it’s hard for me to know Nick has truly moved on, that our ending is real. That after all these years, it's really over now.”