Thought Catalog
May 31, 2017

An Open Letter To The Girl That Got Away

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What is the issue?
Everton Vila

I do not believe that everything happens for a reason, but I do believe that every choice we have made in the past has put us where we currently are in life. I do not believe that we would have ever worked — no matter how many do-overs we could’ve gotten — but I do believe that we both learned something from our time together that will serve us well in the future.

You’ve moved on — married to what seems like a loving husband with whom you share a beautiful child — and I truly could not be happier for you. You deserve all the happiness in the world. You deserve everything that I could not give you, or at least wasn’t ready to give you.

I’ve moved on — no ring, no kids, but otherwise satisfied with where I am in all aspects of life — and I truly am happy. I’ve dated, loved, lost, and dated some more. I’m still hopeful that the next girl will be the one who ends my search, but I will never stop learning from the failed experiences.

You’re the one that got away, and I have no shame in admitting that. I don’t know what would’ve happened if we had stayed together longer or if our life paths were more in sync when we dated, but I know that you will always be one of my biggest regrets.

No girl has ever made me light up at the sight of her like you did, and without a doubt, no girl has ever cared for me the way you did. Despite any fallouts we had, I never for a single second questioned how you felt about me. I’ve spent years trying to find a girl who can make me feel that way again and I’m still searching.

Every now and again it will hit me: “Damn, Mike, you’re 28. Pretty soon you’ll have a wife and kids,” and that doesn’t scare me in the least bit. Perhaps the only thing that scares me is not having those things.

That’s when I think about you.

It’s like somehow the two thoughts are intertwined with one another; I can’t think one without automatically thinking of the other. I feel like so much time has passed, yet it all feels like yesterday. I’m only a couple of years older than you were when we were together, but I feel like a completely different person than I was all those years ago.

Somewhere over the last seven years, that boy you dated became a man. At some point during that time, he realized what he had lost. When it all finally sank in, it was too late.

Had we met today — literally hours from now — and replayed our time together, I can’t promise you that anything would have turned out differently, but I know that I would have handled things differently. We were never going to be the same age, but it is possible that we could’ve met later in life, when we both wanted — and were ready for — the same things.

It’s funny how many things can set off the thought of you — a warm spring or summer night under the stars, any time someone references 500 Days of Summer or any time I see Inglorious Basterds, or any time I see a lean brunette with a high ponytail — and it’s even a little funny how they still set off those triggers years later.

Personally, I don’t mind the flashbacks every now and then. You’ve never heard any of this from me, and perhaps that was part of the problem. We haven’t seen each other or spoken in so long that, honestly, part of me thinks you wouldn’t even recognize me if we saw each other in public. I’ve always wondered what would happen if we bumped into each other around town, if anything at all.

Would I keep on as if we were perfect strangers?

Would I say hello and risk the awkward, “Um, hi?” from you?

Would I say hello and we would catch up on all that’s changed in our lives through the years?

I guess the answer to that will come if and when that scenario presents itself. There is no rhyme or reason why you should ever stumble upon this. Even if you were to, there probably wouldn’t be a rational thought in your head to assume it could be about you. More than likely, you will never read this; and I’m perfectly okay with that.

In some ways, this article wasn’t even meant for you. It was meant for everyone out there who is too blind or ignorant to see what they have in front of them, with the hope they don’t repeat my mistakes.

But this article was about you, so I’ll end it by thanking you. Thank you for the lessons you taught me and for the constant reminder to enjoy a good thing while it’s in your grasp. TC mark

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