Many blogs ago, I wrote about R and fireman... (Let's call them that for old times sake)...two very different people, both of which made my love life completely complicated. And before I even knew it, I found myself standing in the middle of them both with my compass spinning. How could I chose?
I knew R first. He was this completely unpredictable wild card. Something you threw out at the end of a card game so you would win. And I felt like I had.
R would pick me up for spontaneous, no-destinations-in-sight rides down back roads in his daddy's old pick up truck, through towns I never heard of. Both of us catching glimpses of each other; him grinning the biggest grin. Getting lost with him never sounded so good. The trill of making out behind old barns in tobacco fields on mosquito infested nights the summer I started college. Even now, I couldn’t even tell you where that barn is. R was someone who made me fearless in so many ways. He was the reason my stomach had constant butterflies and when we kissed, there were fireworks. He made it impossible not to fall in love with him.
That summer was one of the best summers of my life. And all the while, we knew, as the summer dwindled away, that he would be leaving our little town and beginning a new adventure miles away from me. I never did tell him that I loved him then; or ever. I was always too scared, thinking I didn't mean the same to him. So he left after we said our goodbyes the last day of our perfect summer together. They were filled with promises to see each other on college breaks and he left without knowing how I felt. In the days after R left, Fireman came walking into my life, full force, as firemen tend to do.
Fireman and R couldn't be more opposite. Fireman was someone you could call home. And I did. Engulfing me in his arms. He was a different adventure for me.
Fireman extended his hand to me the first day by the river and every time after. He held them tight while teaching me to ice skate. I knew he would never let me fall. Squeezing my hand ever so slightly knowing I panicked in large crowds; letting me know he’d keep me safe. Those hands of his could calm all the nerves in my body, I swear. He was someone I never expected to fall for, but I did. With all my heart. He was my best friend. The sound track I never wanted to stop playing. I knew I loved him in the fall. And when he told me he loved me, I never felt so happy. I wish I could tell you that this was the happily ever after, but it's not.
Things were complicated then. R was still woven into my story, so much so that it was hard to write him out completely. And Fireman got restless. Commitment was a hard beast for him to tame. We had so many great memories throughout the years. But he broke my heart and put it back together a million times. And the last time; he didn't come back.
Instead he fell into someone else's arms, my ex best friend's to be specific. She had earned her title even before I truly knew fireman. I swore I’d never trust her again.
She tried her hardest to befriend me again over the years, but it seemed I was the only one that could see through her act. Confiding in fireman over the newest guy of the week. Telling him everything he wanted to hear, getting too close for comfort. It became this never ending fight, that she could never be this person I was saying she was. It was her "nice girl" act against my words. Becoming so big, it eventually drove a wedge in between fireman and I. It’s exactly what she wanted. She played the game and she played it well. Suddenly, I realized she stole all my cards.
And then came the day that he promised his life to her with a ring. It devastated me in ways I can’t even put into words. For two years, I cried myself to sleep, in the shower, and any minute I had alone. I never thought I would see a day where I would stop hurting. All the while, secretly hoping he would never make it down the aisle. But I was wrong, again. Even after all these years, seeing those wedding photos (or any photos of them really) it still stings just a bit. The way a lemon burns you when it finds its way in a tiny cut you never even knew you had.
Chapter two: Keeping the moon.