“You’re not good enough for me,” I whispered into the phone. I could hear his breath hitch right before he gave a disheartened sigh. I didn’t want to hurt him, but I didn’t know how else to tell him that my blue blooded all-American Southern family in pearls and Dumas khakis would never approve of him. His name is John. He’s an ex-drug dealer who grew up in a trailer and wears t-shirts riddled with holes and swim trunks as everyday apparel. My family, the most important people in my life, will never approve of John, the man who could quite possibly be the love of my life.
“What do we do now? I love you. I won’t stop trying to be with you. I won’t stop showing you how much I’ve changed, how good I can be for you, how good we can be together. You don’t know what you mean to me,” he says. I hold my breath so he won’t know I’m dying. I’m dying from the pain of hurting him, dying to tell him how I feel, dying to say ‘fuck you’ to my family so I can be with him. Instead, I simply say, “Love isn’t enough.”
Rewind to 10 years ago. I’m a teenager who believes I’m madly in love with an older guy who doesn’t care about anything as much as he cares about cocaine. We met by both being in the same place at the same time. By day he’s one of the town’s most notorious drug dealers, but by night he’s everything I’ve ever wanted. We would get high and talk about everything. He would hold me when I fought with my family, fuck me until I passed out, and he would tell me how beautiful I was while kissing my cheeks. We were the most fucked up (literally and figuratively) summer romance I knew. When the summer came to an end, I moved away with my parents to another town. He couldn’t handle the distance or I couldn’t handle him always being coked out and we broke up. Over the course of 10 years, we have talked randomly, mostly for phone sex but also to just let each other know we’ve never forgotten about the other.
Now I’m in law school doing everything I can to help others and he’s still wearing the same grungy t-shirts and swim trunks while working construction. I read at least one novel a week and he can’t read past an eighth-grade reading level. I’ve never thought of myself as someone who believed she was better than other people, but I am. I was born into a better family and I have made better choices. And I think I’m going to be punished for those things.
“I have to go,” I say. “I’ll call you later.” I quickly hang up so I don’t have to hear the anguish in his voice. I get a text two minutes later that says, “Please just give me a chance. I’ve never stopped loving you. We would be so good together.” I stare at the screen until I finally muster up the courage to let him know how I feel. Tears are pouring down my face as I type, “We will never be together.” And now I’m wishing that wasn’t the case.