The Boy I Met At The Wrong Time

I have always had a tendency to be attracted to boys that I shouldn’t be attracted to.

I’m not saying I’m attracted to the straight-up asshole that only calls me when he’s drunk, or my best friend’s ex-boyfriend that always thought I was cute, or the charming bad boy that uses drugs, alcohol and short-term investments to disguise the fact that he’s a loser.

I am talking about the boys that surprise you with flowers on your doorstep for no particular reason, or the boys that you can talk and laugh with for hours under the stars, or the boys that make your heart flutter with something as simple as that endearing side glance and the kiss that followed at those red lights.

I am attracted to boys with amazing qualities… but they always come with an asterisk.

What I mean by that is that there is always some outstanding problem that is clear to me in the beginning but naively ignored. My best friend and I have this ongoing half-joke that we’re always falling for guys on the “Do Not Fall In Love With” list. Sadly, it’s quite true. My track record doesn’t exactly disprove the list, either:

Once, I was head over heels in love, only to have that relationship ruined by our unwavering stubbornness and the inevitable 3,000 mile distance. He was a year older, and when he left for college, I stayed behind. I knew it wouldn’t work but I let myself fall anyway. That was the messiest.

Another time, I tried to rekindle my romance with someone I had missed my chance with in high school. It was ridiculously impulsive, considering we went to colleges across the country from each other. I’m afraid that we’ve ruined a 13-year long friendship because of it. That is the one I most regret.

And when I was finally ready to love someone as mercilessly and wholeheartedly as I did the first, he changed his mind. He was two years older, and about to begin a part of his life he didn’t think I could understand. That one hurt the most.

There have been others; some that overlapped, some that came too quickly after another, and some that came when I wasn’t looking. But the ones mentioned above are the most important; the lessons I learned from those are the ones I carry with me at all times.

However, here I am, making the same mistake with the fourth boy on this intangible list: the one I met at the wrong time.

We met the summer after my first year of college. I took a marine biology class at the local community college to stay on track.

When I showed up on the first day, he was the first person I noticed before I walked in. And as we endured those painfully forced icebreakers, I realized immediately that I was sitting next to someone with my sense of humor because of the similar and equally sassy comments we made.

However, similarly to previous shortcomings in romantic relationships, there was one outstanding problem that I could not ignore: I was going into my second year of college, and he was going into his senior year of high school. And when the summer ends and I go back to college two hours from home, it just isn’t going to work.

Did that stop me? No. I should have kept reminding myself that I was crushing on someone that much younger than me. But I fell anyway.

This boy is WONDERFUL. He is tall, dark and handsome with that soccer player’s body. He is intelligent, driven, and already so motivated. He is so young but already has a plan and knows exactly how he wants to get there.

Even the little things, like the amazing taste in music, the fact that he brakes a little too late even though he is an otherwise good driver, the random obsession with manatees, the smallest problem with pronouncing “r” that he doesn’t think anyone notices, or the never-ending collection of college apparel… they make me crazy about him. It’s hard not to enjoy his company after spending four hours sitting next to him everyday.

We have handfuls of inside jokes that we talk about on a daily basis, most of which have resulted in our classmates asking how we got so close so quickly if we didn’t know each other before.

We have exchanged mixtapes, sharing our favorite songs and deepest thoughts about them with each other.

We have had “study sessions” outside of class that have resulted in us laughing, getting Starbucks, and driving up into the mountains to look at the beautiful Southern California valley we live in and talk about life.

Everything wrong with the situation mirrors the issues I saw with the first three boys on my “Do Not Fall In Love With” list.

But like the first, I am going back to school in less than a month and we have only known each other for that much time. We have nothing but the summer we spent together to base anything on.

Like the second, we have become such close friends through this process. I love the idea of being able to come home on breaks and watch his soccer games, or have him visit me at school for a day. I don’t want to ruin what could potentially be a good thing long-term with someone so special.

And like the third, two years is not very much in the grand scheme of things, but I learned the hard way that it’s not the age that makes the difference; it’s the experiences. High school and college are two very different worlds.

The thing they all have in common? None of them necessarily spelled “disaster” from the beginning, but boy, did they all have the potential to. Everything wrong with the current situation mirrors the issues I saw with the first three boys on my “Do Not Fall In Love With” list.

And so this brings me to the conclusion that the boy I am currently stuck on will be disastrous, yet I’ve somehow managed to fall harder and faster than I ever imagined I could.

I’m scared that this will end badly like most of this kind do, but for now, all I can do is hope for the best. Maybe I’ll just keep wishing on those shooting stars, like we did together on that summer Sunday night. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Dear John

More From Thought Catalog