Time, friendship and life lessons

It seems a lot of people my age are getting married, at least according to status updates on social media and Internet stalking various couples’ profiles on TheKnot.com.

One of those people getting married is my first heart breaker.

To clarify, we never were in a relationship, so calling him an ex isn’t accurate. But we were acquaintances, friendly in class and grew up during junior high and high school.

I still remember him as being the kid I partnered up with during sixth grade math class, who was quiet but helpful. We reunited in high school through mutual friends, socializing during lunch and art class. What came as a surprise to me then was his artistic talent. He was a country boy, into some rough-and-tumble hobbies, and not the first person you would imagine when you heard the word “artist.”

My story with him began spring quarter my senior year, right before prom.

I skipped prom my junior year, mainly because I was going through a serious depression and the social anxiety was too much to bear. Come my senior year, Mom was determined I go to senior prom, insisting senior prom was something you had to do.

That lead to the debate about who I should ask. The thought of asking a guy out, getting rejected (which had to be proof of something horribly wrong with me) and then having the news travel around my small high school would cause a meltdown. Mom suggested my buddy from class, and actually, when I thought about it, I decided to try it.

If he would reject me, at least it would stay between us.

The first night of Spring Break I invited him over to my house. Mom met him, and I was impressed that my normally quiet guy was pretty chatty and comfortable around Mom, who then basically pushed him out the door with me in tow.

After dinner at Pizza Hut, we drove around and talked for hours. We laughed our butts off, sang and opened up to each other about some things that we normally didn’t share outside our immediate circles, if at all. We got back to my house and watched some special on Comedy Central with my folks until they decided to go to bed, leaving us alone. It was then he asked me if I liked him, “more than usual?”

“Well, yeah,” I answered.

That’s how I got my first kiss and a prom date.

Over the next few days, I was in a daze, while he was acting unusually distant. I knew he had a girlfriend prior and they had broken up; she texted me from his phone a few days later to tell me they were back together and my prom date was off.

Mom left an angry message at his house, since we had bought the dress, and I got a text message apologizing about buying the dress, with no mention of the fact he was kissing on me while having a girlfriend (I learned this later through my best friend.)

I was crushed. Rejection right before prom was part of it, but I felt more betrayed by him. I trusted him as my friend; I certainly wasn’t expecting to get my heart broken. I did find another date for prom, but the dance itself was terrible. I was on edge and it was awful seeing the friend I had feelings for kissing on someone else.

I didn’t cry until I got home, which is the most impressive part of the whole night.

Fast forward to now, about five years later. The short ‘n sweet version is that he and prom girl didn’t last, he kept in contact with me the beginning of college, and after an almost-reunion that I cancelled because of some fishy behavior on his end, I haven’t seen or heard from him since.

Typically once I’m done with a guy, he gets sorted into one of two camps: I genuinely wish the guy well (as in, we weren’t right for each other, it ended amicably and I harbor no ill will) or I cringe and thank the stars that mess is all behind me.

However, First Heartbreak Guy doesn’t really fit in either one of those camps. We all go through some betrayal or disappointment — even heartbreak — at some point or another. It stinks, but it’s simply a part of growing pains. And I learned quite a bit from that issue which has helped me to examine myself and guys differently.

Even now, when I periodically Internet-stalk him, what happened when we were 18 is not the first thing that springs to mind about him; it’s talking in art class and singing/laughing our butts off in his car. It’s the fact that we were friends, and even after all this time the ill will is gone.

Like a roll of toilet paper, life goes on.


You can reach Allison C. Gallagher at agallagher@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Troydailynews.

You can reach Allison C. Gallagher at agallagher@civitasmedia.com or on Twitter @Troydailynews.