It was the Summer of 2011, and I had just turned 20. I totally dated myself, but I was trying to set the mood. My friend was having a big Fourth of July party in Ohio, her hometown. I flew out for the occasion, and to spend the week with her during summer break. I had no idea I’d also be spending the week with someone else who would change the way I lived my life.
My friend invited others over one night to hangout, smoke weed, drink, and do all of the typical college kid shenanigans. One by one, her friends started to arrive. I heard a knock at the door, and that’s where this all began.
He was wearing an eye-catching red shirt, but that’s not what caught my eye. That gorgeous face, beautiful blonde hair, stunning smile, the 6ft something hunk who looked like he just stepped off the runway. That’s what I noticed. He was shy and soft spoken like he didn’t own a mirror.
I don’t even remember our first conversation. Fast forward into the night, and we were sitting alone on the rooftop, stargazing while talking about life. I felt it coming. A peaceful moment of silence as I saw the twinkles of the stars reflect in his hazel green eyes. He leaned in for a kiss. It felt like I just reached the flag pole on an epic level of Super Mario Brothers after trying to win all day. Success.
He lost his virginity to me that night. We laughed, talked, and cuddled until the sun had risen and the birds began to chirp. We spent several more fun filled days together until my time in Ohio was up. This is where it starts to get complicated.
For over a month, we texted everyday. Sometimes FaceTime. At the end of the summer, we made plans for me to fly out one more time to see him before the new school year began. Once I booked the ticket, the talking became less frequent, and I felt us becoming distant. Still, with my head in the clouds, I got on the flight.
It wasn’t the same. Some silences were awkward, and there were feelings of detachment on both ends. Still, we made the best of it.
With school approaching, I went back to pack. We may have had one or two more brief conversations before I found out he blocked me. You read that right. Not ghosted, blocked. I was livid, hurt, and genuinely shocked. Worst of all, that was the Summer “Now You’re Just Somebody That I Used to Know” became a #1 hit, and I wanted to puke every time it came on the radio.
I’m not some crazy psycho bitch. There were genuinely no arguments had, or obvious reasons at the time, as to why he would’ve blocked me with no explanation. My less evolved 20 year old self decided to send him a Facebook message. I spewed all my sadness and anger towards him. Ending with, “Pathetic dude.”
Three years go by with no contact. Three years go by and my friend from Ohio, now living in Manhattan as well, called me one morning while I was in my apartment. She told me he, the guy from my never forgotten Summer romance, was found dead the night before in his NYC apartment just a 15 minute walk away from me. She asked if I could help her clear out his apartment, as she’d been a friend of his and his family all of her life.
I was speechless. I was overcome with feelings of guilt knowing that the last words I said was “Pathetic dude.” I even used to think about reaching out to make amends from time to time before my ego would get in the way. Obviously my time to reach out, ran out. Yes, there are some other relationships in my life that have not ended perfectly, but for the most part, there has been some type of closure and I’ve made peace with it. The way that ended, I hadn’t come to terms with.
His death taught me how to live. It taught me that I should never leave a relationship unsettled. It showed me that I need to make peace with what is, and if I have a hard time doing that, it’s up to me to find a way to solve it. I hope I can inspire, even if it’s just one person, to make peace with the way your relationships have unfolded, or are unfolding, and learn from them. You never know how much time you or someone you know has, so all we can do is learn to make the best of it.