That first photo I stumbled across was taken at my dad's company Christmas party. Bobby and I had just started offically dating about a week prior. So when I saw this photo, it really took me back to a happy place.
Before I know it, I am grabbing my phone, taking a picture of the picture and DM'ing it to Bobby on instagram at 12:14am.
Friends who knew me back in the day, don't let your jaw hit the floor too hard.
E: (Photo of us looking really cute) "organizing old pics and damn, we were babies. hilarious to look back at"
B: "where did you find that?!"
E: "my old,old,old hardrive from college that I am merging into iphoto, its a ten year project, so many memories!" (attach another pic)
B: "seems like lifetimes ago! crazy."
E: (photo) "lots of gems haha"
E: "I'm also curious how the hell I was ever THAT skinny. Any ideas? gimme some tips" (attach pic of me wearing a bandana as a shirt)
B: "no idea, me too haha - comes with being 18/19 I think. That outfit was prob one of the more ridiculous ones - things people not in college would never wear"
E: "omg there's so many! i am in shock at how poorly i dressed, its astounding."
B: "seemed appropriate at the time!"
E: (attachs photo kissing bobby, wearing a jean skirt w/ my thong showing) what the hell was that? I am dying. I remember you feeding me gatorade and easy mac, so idk how I was thin"
B: "the fade on the skirt is one thing haha, but year the thong above the skirt, that's something else. Clearly we were too busy to care"
E: "it baffles my mind" (attachs photo from prom dress shopping in LA with him) I happily wore that to my 27th birthday, so finally some dual usage. But seriously - so many funny photos. I'm glad we documented everything even before iphones existed. It all makes me laugh and smile way too hard." (attaches photo of Bobby next to a blue car) "do you remember this cars name?"
B: "Obviously! I still think "shitty" whenever I see that model car"
E: "Idk how we managed anything we did. No one rents cars at that age, no one has multiple fake ids, stays in hotels and literallys does anything/everything they want. we were such trouble"
B: "it was the best."
E: (attaches photo from prom when we won best dressed) "best dressed award goes to...."
B: "it was - and that outline pairing was pretty great - only outclassed by the following year with the custom tie made from your Prada dress."
1am - E: "Are you back east? Sorry if so, I know it's late, I figured you are 3 hours behind in Cali."
B: "yea, I'm east for the holidays, based on that I take it you're in OC?"
E: "I am in DC, insomnia. I do this photo thing when I can't sleep"
B: "Still dealing with that? Sorry, that stinks."
E: "Not always - just sometimes. Hard to shut my mind off"
(attachs photo dressed in Bobbys clothes) "omg you gave me your clothes for boy day and I think you were dating Cat haha"
B: "I think I forgot about Cat haha"
E: "Good, that was always my plan ;)"
B: "Back when you pretended not to like me and set me up with your friends only to get jealous about it"
E: "I liked you. You friendzoned me because you were scared what your parents would think. Remember you'd sneak into my basement? Idk how we ever left the friendzone to be honest. I know it was xyz's house but idk what made that finally happen."
B: "There was an element of that for sure, it wasn't that straightforward I don't think. Hmmm yea, I'm not sure either, but I was always attracted to you - I think at first I thought you genuinely wanted to be friends with someone in the neighborhood. Teenage boys aren't that smart you know...."
E: "I'd invite you over to tutor me in something I didn't need help with and then we'd makeout on my couch forever but hey, I didn't like you lol"
B: "Fair. In retrospect of course it's obvious"
E: "It was then too. Strategy has always been my strongest suit. But somehow that night at xyz's it just happened. In his poor parents bed, haha he was so pissed. That was like, a year later? In retrospect, it's good we were actual best friends first. Made things way more fun when we finally did the damn thing."
B: "That was so crazy - I still feel bad for him for that but of course don't regret it at all. And agreed, being friends first made it more fun (and real) when we did get together.
E: "We definitely did the whole first love thing right."
B: "Couldn't have asked for better."
E: "I am sorry for being an idiot, I didn't know any better. But I will say I think the majority of our chapters were good ones. And I am so glad you found your "person" you deserved it 10000%"
B: "Well that's the closest thing resembling anything close to recognition or an apology I've ever heard, so I'll take it. Agreed that the majority was the best and without any regrets at all."
E: "HEY! I apologized last Christmas over the phone and we talked for a long time, don't go forgetting that. And I'd say it in person if I saw you. I mean it. You were the best first boyfriend and I've never had a better adventure since. I keep searching and I can't seem to settle down."
B: "Heart emoji"
E: "I'll blame you for me not being able to settle down. How'd you know Jello was the right person? I'm always second guessing. I've almost been engaged twice and i just freak out. Idk how someone "knows""
B: "Not sure if I should accept that blame or not, but I can take it if you want...you were the best first love though, seriously, it was quite a ride and regardless of anything I remember it with fondness."
E: "You were the best too. Best friend, best adventurer, partier, lover, supporter and other half. Idk how I would've survived without you back then. We did it ALL together. You and I were always magnets. Even when broken up, we couldn't stay away and I kinda want that in whomever I marry. But I haven't found it since...I loved that about us. I always had butterflies before I saw you. Even when "I hated you". (Don't judge me for saying that)
B: "No judgment at all, I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel the same way back then. And that absolutely should be something you find in someone you marry."
E: "Yeah, I don't think most people have that."
B: "Agree - and I think sometimes it either is because they can't get out of their own way to let it happen, or sometimes it just isn't there and they are forcing it. But those years, that time in our lives, it's not going to feel exactly the same happening 5-8 years later, your approach and perspective on the world isn't the same."
E: "Yeah, innocence is gone. You don't need a person now like you thought you did then"
B: "and that part, that's something that those people who are high school sweethearts that end up married, they will always have that on the rest of us"
E: "Yeah, I guess I need to let go of that feeling. Can't replicate it now. I always thought it'd be us. A few others told me the same after your wedding. It was weird for it to not be Bobby and Elle. Not in a bad way, I mean we deviated and it was inevitable but it was funny to hear they all always expected us to make it. Since obv. no one else did"
B: "At the time maybe you didn't - but I thought we had a shot at it. I could have seen myself marrying you"
B: "No, it certaintly isn't. and if the chips fell in a different way, who knows, eventually it could have happened that way."
E: "Difference was I keep running from things and you don't. There is this thing I've become obsessed with, it's called love languages and I always figured you and I must've been the same. It's short, you should take the quiz. I know it's 2am, I'll shut up. But really, you should take it."
B: "Love languages? Sounds like something from cosmo. I'll do it - but not sure it will help, sounds like it has you over-analyzing things"
I assume he's fallen asleep and then...
B: "So what's yours? I just took it"
I send mine.
10 - acts of service
9 - words of affirmation
6 - physical touch
4 - quality time
1 - receiving gifts
E: "2/3, makes sense"
E: "well, I guess it's just chemistry + first love that gives you that feeling. Time for me to "settle" down and stop thinking too much
B: "Well it's also possible/likely we've grown and evolved over time so we are directionally compatible 9 yrs later but might have been even closer then"
E: "I am a big writer and I love words, I think I always have. I sent you on a scavenger hunt, we left love notes on cars, those are words"
B: "Haha I remember the notes and scavenger hunt - and maybe HS kids these days don't do that, but certainly adults don't, at least not in the beginning anyways. Maybe they should but that's a vulnerable position and most people aren't willing to risk it, whereas high school lovers what did we have to lose? There was no second guessing or alternative back up plan, we were all in"
E: "Yeah, my title for that story was along the lines of "things I'll never do again" because young love is so precious and exciting. It made me laugh to think how romantic I once was and how I've never been that person since."
B: "You resisted it sometimes even then - but agreed, I had trouble being romantic with anyone I was with regardless of how serious for years after you"
E: "Resisted? No way....we celebrated every month anniversary, people STILL think I am crazy for that. I loved you even more for going along with it and never making me feel dumb. I always argue that life is hectic, why not have one day a month thats a littttleeee extraordinary? I've still got remnants, I don't think I resisted."
B: "Perhaps it's just the phases - certainly not in the beginning or middle was it like that, so maybe I'm just biased by the end - but even with that, you were crazy for that, but why shouldn't I go along with it? In those early days especially you think I was being coy or whatever but I was so madly in love with you. You could have (and sometimes did) make me do whatever you want."
E: "Right back at you. No one had power over me like you. It was magic, we got so lucky. Not everyone gets that experience."
B: "I know that, and agree. Lightning in a bottle, as it was"
E: "Even fighting with you drew me in closer. It was the craziest damn thing. It always ended in the same way which I think we got a little addicted to."
B: "haha, yea this is true, and yes we might have set that up on purpose a time or two...unconsciously of course ;) But my advice, if I have any for you, is that if you are looking for that, I'm not sure you can find it at 28. Those types of experiences I'm not sure happen at our age."
E: "Yeah. :( That is what I am after. I wanna feel like I NEED someone again. So many different things I used to feel, that I want again. But I should stop running and pushing everyone away. It's called "settling" down for a reason.
B: "Well needing someone is a different story - but your current situation, and your guard, is not the same as it as, and it shouldn't be. You have your own business, your own life - you run shit for yourself. Not that you didn't have those aspirations then but the concept of how someone else might fit into your life now is totally different than it was. And as well it should be. The settling I think reflects on the experience of love as an adult as compared to an adolescent - it doesn't feel the same in the entire experience, but it doesn't mean that all the same aspects aren't valid. It just means (to me) you come to discover them in different ways."
E:"Well, thats useful. You know me well. I've changed but somethings are the same. And you lived the magic so you know what I am talking about. Gotta get out of the fairytale in my mind that no one can compete with. I wanna feel that madly in love again feeling. I've fallen in love plenty of times as an adult but it was different and I guess that's how it's supposed to be. The first wasn't supposed to be so good I don't think ;)"
B: "I fully believe Jello is the the one for me. I really do love her to pieces. But I can't in good conscience tell you that falling in love with her felt the same as falling in love with you - and it's hard to say objectively now which was the better experience, but i think we can agree that our experience was just so powerful that it can be hard to know at this stage of life. And I agree, the first one ptobably wasn't supposed to be so good. No regrets though. :)"
E: "Yeah nothing compares to the first time. But that doesn't mean it's the end all, be all (obviously). Definitely no regrets."
B: "Well I don't know what posessed you to instagram message me tonight, but I'm glad you did, and I'm glad I answered"
E: "I'm sorry it got so late, I'm glad we talked too, it's been fun. Sleep well Bobbieeee.;)"
B: "To this day, no one else has called me that"
E: "Nor will they ever. It was mine."
B: "Probably not"
E: "Strategy, my strongest suit ;)"
B: "Be well, good to hear from you"
3:14am E: ":)"
Exactly three hours spent messaging my first love/serious boyfriend...possessed completely out of the blue, as mercury in retrograde would have it. Oddly enough, this time last year we talked too. It was after the Christmas party I ran into him at and I had this urge to clear the air. Here's the refresher from last year. He kept looking at me in the most intense way at this party. Jello wasn't in attendance and I knew that if left alone, things could get complicated, quickly. I felt that magnetic pull towards him and he felt it towards me. That led me to 100 proof vodka and peppermint patty shots and calling XF to come get me ASAP because I had to get out before I did anything highly regrettable. I was in a relationship, awaiting a proposal, once again, trying not to mess up my entire life.
There is SO much in this conversation, none of it expected. I always wondered if he still thought about me. I guess I have that answer. It's crazy to think he always thought he'd marry me too. I don't enjoy admitting this but regardless of who I was dating, I always expected him and I to wind up together in some weird way. I didn't think he'd propose to Jello, but he did and now he's married to her. It is so naive to think he would've come back especially how things crumbled by the end but I always thought he would...in my defense, so did all of his/our old friends.
I met Liam and had just moved in with him (after dating for 3 months)...that was when Bobby stopped trying to get me back. That was the year I graduated college, so 2011. From 2004-2011, Bobby had a permanent place in my life. Sometimes it was a good place, other times it wasn't. But he never stopped trying. When he met Liam at a Christmas party, he knew he had to give it up. It appeared I'd found everything I ever wanted. Tall (6'4), handsome (dark hair, bright blue eyes), impeccibly dressed and a complete gentleman. That night he wound up cheating on Jello with a girl at the party and I wound up hearing about it from someone who witnessed it. (This is why I didn't think he'd actually propose to her) I think he had hoped we'd talk or rekindle but I didn't speak to him the entire night. I was working hard to not fuck up my new relationship with a guy who was 8 years older than me, I knew the HS flames had to die or else so would my future with Liam. I was "doing the right thing."
In the end, I don't regret how things have turned out. Yes, I think we would've been really good together as adults but at what expense? Would I have started my businesses? I wouldn't know my roommate or half of my friends now. I wouldn't have my other cat. I wouldn't be as good of a partner to someone as I can be now (when you date enough, you start to get good at doing the right v wrong things). "Everything happens for a reason." That being said, it sucks when your mother AND one of your bestfriends agree that he was probably the best fit/I seemed happiest when with him. You can't peak on the first try, dammit!
Before he got married this past summer I actively had to talk myself out of calling him, multiple times. This I have admitted to 0 people. I wanted to see him again before he tied the knot. A huge part of me wanted to tell him not to do it because we both knew that it was supposed to be us. The day he got married was also the day Mia's HS love got married. Oddly enough, both fellas got married in the woods to the girls who came right after us. Refresh yourself here. I think Mia and I both were kinda unsure how to process that...we never thought they'd beat us down the aisle.
I guess I am a better person than I give myself credit for because I resisted doing that and it was the right decision. After last night's 3am confessional, I can see I still have a power over him & had I made that call, I could've really fucked things up. He deserves what he chose, and I deserve the path I chose (whatever the hell that might be). What we had is now just a really great memory that makes it hard to realistically accept that love doesn't feel the way it used to nowadays and guys don't put in even half the effort now that he did back then.
Sigh, it really is time to change the expectation. Magic might not be in the cards anymore and I guess that's okay. Especially when you stop to consider that the kind of guy who intrigues me is also the same guy who plays games, openly admits loving the chase, and typically lacks consistency. I'm unsure how I went from insanely consistent to being drawn to the polar opposite? Maybe there's the problem? Bobby was never "the nice guy". We fought like crazy, had insane sex our ENTIRE relationship + for years after, he is a definite A type "know it all", hated saying sorry, but somehow it worked/never got boring or routine.
I look at photos of Jello and Bobby and I can see there has never been "magic" between them. I think it's something you can see in a photo which sounds incredibly stupid (I know.) From what he's told me of their relationship, there is respect and common interests and apparently, that's enough. She isn't beautiful by any stretch of the imagination (one day none of us will be), she doesn't seem particularly engaging/exciting/sassy (based on my brief interactions with her), but she looks like a good human being who you can count on (which is probably the most important factor).
I think I know one of "those" types myself...Maybe it's time to start thinking about love in a different way.
PS - Throughout the last two posts, (Stranger Things & The First) I have linked old blog posts to help this make sense. Take the time (if you have it) to click the hyperlinks and get a bit of background to piece this story together a little better.