Dear Summer 2012 Kim
You don't actually love him, and he doesn't actually love you.
Hi. It's me, also Kim. From the future. You might be genuinely curious about how I was able to send you an email from 2019, all the way from this apartment in LA. You also might not believe it's really me, because as of high school graduation a few months ago, you didn't think living in Los Angeles was a thing except for in distant scenarios seen on MTV's The Hills. But yes, believe it. It's me... er, you.
You're currently in what you think is the best summer of your life. Spending every day with your "best friends," and a boy who makes you question if labels are necessary, and if double dates are actually a thing even when they're unannounced.
Let me tell you what's going to happen.
This summer will define a lot of things in life. Your vivid memories of the time with Sully*—the stolen glances, inside jokes, and late night drives—will all be enough to make you want to try to keep living this perfect little fantasy well into fall semester. You'll Skype him from your dorm room, and it won't occur to you until you go back for your high school's homecoming that he doesn't belong to you anymore, and that he never really belonged to you in the first place.
You'll go through waves of him being in your life, every holiday feeling the way it does right now. Like it's just you and him against the world, and as soon as you go back to school you'll disappear from each other's lives like nothing happened. Eventually you'll engage in a social media fight with his new beloved, and it'll hurt. You'll cut him directly out of your life, and he'll send you a letter begging to talk, about what he has no idea, because he has no idea what happened. Whether he's blind or just ignoring the issues because he doesn't want to deal with them, you'll never know. But, you'll give him the benefit of the doubt as you sit outside the Dairy Queen talking half-heartedly about your feelings a few months later.
You'll realize somewhere in this timeline that deep down you've known he's never had feelings for you, but you'll push that away, every time he puts his arm around you, or says that you're the most important girl in his life.
You'll ignore it, and ignore it until it finally bubbles over into him promising he's going to fly cross-country to see you, buying the plane tickets at the bar, and later ghosting, not saying a thing until way later. He'll try to make it up to you later in subsequent holidays, getting drunk and confessing that he genuinely thinks that:
- He indeed, has never had feelings for you.
- If you were in his city or he was in yours, things would be different.
And it's these mixed sentiments that finally make it easy for you to see him how he is. Without the halo of being "a good guy deep down," and instead as a manipulative, self-absorbed child who doesn't want the lego set, but also doesn't want anyone else to play with it either.
Over time, the memories of summer will fade. You'll find comfort in your parents finally saying they never liked him. You'll find comfort in your two best friends from home saying the same. You'll make new friends, and cultivate healthy relationships. It'll take time, but he'll become a character in a story that feels like it was some poorly written fan fiction.
But, while all of these things will happen, there's significant value in the moment you're in.
While he genuinely sucks, and your friends will want to fight him, he's also teaching you a lot. Lessons about what it feels like to love someone, and also when it's time to walk away. Even if you really and truly want to make it work, sometimes it just doesn't.
And when it doesn't, that's okay too.