5 Boys Who Told Me They’d Love Me Forever, Who Don’t Talk To Me Anymore

I am not blameless. I’ve made mistakes. I still wish you’d call.

The Spanish Boy Who Wrote Poetry

We met at a book-nerd summer camp in Connecticut. He was from Spain (‘Thpain’), handsome, and at 13, I thought he looked like he was twenty. Wrote forced-rhyme poems about beautiful Spanish girls and asked for my feedback. I took this as rejection. A month after camp, sent me an email revealing that all his poems had been about me (!), professed his ‘never dying’ love (!!), and proclaimed me his ‘half-orange.’ (This is, apparently, very romantic in Spanish.) Went so far as to say he would convert to ‘being a Jew’ for me. (I’m not really religious, but I guess the Catholic-country romance in that is more obvious.) Unfortunately, he sent this declaration to the entire camp mailing list in some freak, international-Hotmail-account accident. I was flattered but mortified and I think I replied in some awful, ‘you’re so cool, let’s just stay friends, okay?’ way that would have absolutely broken my tween heart had the roles been reversed. He sent a sad reply in broken English and we stopped talking after that.

The One I Thought Of As A Brother

We met when there was a bomb threat at my boarding school (yes, I know how ridiculous this sounds) and I stayed at his parents’ for the weekend. Took me drag-racing in his car, which I didn’t really know happened in real life or Massachusetts. Asked me if I had a boyfriend and I said something coy like, ‘There’s someone back home.’ He was three years older and read ‘serious literature’ and smelled like cigarettes, not smoke but a live, lit cigarette. I saw him as the cool older brother I never had. (I am an only child. I have brother issues. I realize, now, that this may be a bad habit.)

When I went back to visit friends on the East Coast, I needed a place to stay in Boston so I crashed at his apartment. We watched Paris Je T’Aime and went to dinner at a fusion restaurant with tiny plates. Evidently, this, in addition to the fact that we were both single for the first time in our friendship, meant that something was supposed to happen. I was unaware, and uninterested.

The next morning he took me to the train station without saying more than ten words. Shortly thereafter, I received string of manic texts, accusatory, then apologetic, then angry again. We don’t talk anymore. (Ironically, I remain very good friends with his sister.  His actual younger sister.)

The Bassist Who Fixed My Heart (And Then Punched It In The Face)

Fixed my heart with his bass guitar when I was 17 and heartbroken and ill-prepared to love anyone. I said, ‘This is a bad idea,’ and then we fell in love for a year. I decided we should go on a ‘break’ when I went to college. I earnestly believed this was a good idea. (Ultimately, I still do.) When I saw him a few months later, he looked physically ill. We cried and then fell into each other and I said ‘This is a bad idea,’ but it wasn’t, at least not for a while, until I flew back to California, and I would call him, crying at the darkest part of Pacific Standard, which is Eastern Standard dawn, and we would say ‘I love you,’ which we shouldn’t have. Said it, I mean. At the lowest point in my life, his voice was the one I most needed to hear. We video-chatted while I was in the hospital and he said, ‘You are the most beautiful thing I’ve seen in months.’ (This is something I will never forget.) But then I got better and life went on and a few months later we were seeing other people and screaming at each other at 2 a.m., which I guess is just what happens, our secrets became our weapons and I called him a miserable coward and he called me a horrible bitch and we deleted each other from our phones and Facebooks and we haven’t talked since.

My ‘First Love’

The only apt description of this relationship, aside from turning it into a beverage, is that of two people melting into each other. A week after we met, we were best friends, the world was the size of a twin-sized bed and the future was a guarantee. Locations of future country homes were chosen, promises were made. When everything fell apart a year later, our break-up was like trying to extract one liquid from another, so messy and undefined that the only way we marked a real end was by ceasing all communication. For a year.

It might have gone on longer if we hadn’t run into each other when I was visiting after graduation. We laughed uncomfortably, agreed to meet for coffee. We ended up getting brunch at the restaurant where we used to go on dates. It had since switched ownership, twice, and had been completely remodeled, a massive silver buffet set in the middle of the dining room where we used to feed each other desserts and those promises that we would come to break. We talked about  California, archaeology, and other safe topics. When I reached for my wallet he said, ‘Please, Jenn, we’re not Dutch,’ and I remembered how he used to make that joke and was surprised at how indifferent I felt. I had sobbed over him for months and now we were civil, we were smiling, we were eating eggs Benedict. It was surreal. It was sad. We hugged, hugged again , assured each other we would talk soon, that we wouldn’t let another year pass.

Just another promise we failed to keep.

My Grandfather

I started smoking in November and I knew that he smoked too, when he was alive. It’s not what killed him, but he died young anyway. I was seven.

I’d inhale and grow lightheaded and blow the smoke upwards and say a silent apology. I’d tell him how much I wished he could be there to tell me what to do, to tell me I was still his princess, no matter how inconsequential I felt. My throat would ache and my eyes would tear up. It was probably just the smoke.

The last time we spoke, we didn’t. It was summer. I was running around outside, wild-haired, happy. My mom appeared on the porch and said my grandfather was on the phone and did I want to say hi? And I said, ‘Not right now!’ I don’t why. He was sick and I don’t think I saw the consequence of that beyond the fact that it made him a little tired and made me a little sad to hear his voice. I didn’t know that was the last time he would be on the line. I couldn’t have, but I should have.

I’m sorry.

_____

But as much as I sometimes wish I could dial those deleted numbers that I never had to learn by heart, as much as I mourn the circumstances under which we lost each other and then lost touch, what I miss the most is the voice of a girl, whose number I know but cannot call, the girl I lost to time and experience, the girl who remains only in the tainted memory of another, and is perhaps lost there too, to the overwriting power of uneven endings, or the-girl-who-came-next, or the will to forget.

The girl I was at 13, unaware of what it meant to turn away from a boy’s affection; at 17, when I really thought that emotions could be put on pause; at 15, quietly admiring the boy in the driver’s seat.

The girl I was at 16, falling in love for the first time, unabashed, unafraid, completely brave in a way I know I will never be again.

Or the girl I was when I was seven years old, running barefoot through the backyard. The girl who could not yet conceive the weight of a call on hold, who didn’t yet understand that at any moment you can lose someone.  That sometimes a conversation is a last, and eventually one will be. TC mark

image – Adrien Schopfer

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://www.facebook.com/t0dd.dwyer Todd Dwyer

    Sheesh. How old are you? 12?

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      Yes.  I am 12.

      • Ivory

        Aww you’re still a baby! Graduating in 2014 — should be about 19 or 20? Get ready for more boys who say they love you but who you don’t talk to anymore. Sometimes though, things turn out better than expected. 

        Sincerely, 

        Jaded-yet-surprisinglyoptimistic-25yrold

  • http://www.facebook.com/t0dd.dwyer Todd Dwyer

    Sheesh. How old are you? 12?

  • guest

    This warmed and broke my heart at the same time.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      glad it warmed, thanks guest.

  • Anonymous

    This is beautiful. :'{

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      thanks, ninmonster. that emoticon looks deeply sad

  • http://robvincent.net Rob T Firefly

    This is very beautiful and terribly sad.  Thanks for sharing it.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      thanks for reading, mr. firefly

  • Nicki

    Wow, now I’m crying at work. 

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      glad the piece affected you, nicki. hope you weren’t wearing mascara

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612928768 Samie Rose

    Actually, how old are you now? I’m not asking facetiously, I’m asking as a legitimate point of reference.

    This was lovely in it’s honesty.

  • http://twitter.com/kelvin_lee Kelvin Lee

    This could’ve been really cheesy and self-indulgent but it turned out to be the opposite. A beautifully woven post.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      thanks so much, kelvin. glad it wasn’t cheesy or self-indulgent, trying very hard to avoid those things in life, writing, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/kalina8malina Elena Shuliakovskaya

    Thank you, it touched my soul..

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      lovely, elena, thank you for reading

  • rose georgia

    i sort of thought i wouldn’t like this, but i thought i would have a look anyway and i’m glad i did. that moment of missed opportunity – not picking up the phone at the right time, not talking when you should have done, is so painful once you recognise it, and i think that really came across here. 
    i like the fact that you mixed the amusing with the sad and difficult, and that you began and ended with a sort of unintentional cruelty. 

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      glad you took a look, thank you rose

  • Erin

    Do you live in my brain? Loved this.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      probably not but i’m so glad you enjoyed this :)

  • Diana Salier

    well done. I especially liked the part about having breakfast with your ex a year later.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      thanks, diana

  • Touched

    Beautiful piece.  I can relate to these on multiple levels.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      thank you, glad you could relate

  • Anonymous

    That’s why I’m only interested in men.

    One of the best I’ve seen on TC. But it sucks that you had to go through all that to be able to write this piece.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      thanks, dearkoku, glad you enjoyed.  

      i wouldn’t be who i am now if it weren’t for everything that’s ever happened, so in a way i’m glad it all did, if that makes sense

  • Anaksuey

    really have enjoyed reading this! sad is the truth we “old” people know

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      glad you enjoyed, anaksuey!

  • Anonymous

    Nice piece :)

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      :)

  • http://twitter.com/iamthepuddles irreverent puddles

    DID YOU GO TO MILTON

    • http://twitter.com/iamthepuddles irreverent puddles

      also :'( my grandmother smoked and died from lung cancer. her son, my uncle/godfather, smoked as well and died last week. i always felt like i was betraying them when i lit up, for whatever reason. i don’t know, it’s weird how neither of them (or your gandpa?) ever said “don’t smoke!” but it can still feel like you’re doing something bad in their memory. your writing is lovely, i’m glad you’re articles are coming regularly :) please, please continue to share with us

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      no, not milton

  • Elizabeth Whalley

    Excellent, excellent piece. Depressing as shit, though. Just how I like it. 

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      thanks, elizabeth. glad you liked it.

  • Anonymous

    The ‘first love’ one was my favorite. Really beautiful.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      thanks gaby dunn :)

  • Mohammed

    Neat, tight, clean writing. Very good!

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      hi mohammed, thank you

  • http://twitter.com/Flarfer Dave P

    Let’s start a game show: Real Life or Massachusetts?

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      hahaha

      nice, dave p.  

      let’s do it

  • Keriann Gannon

    My first love.  One year without talking is how my first love ended, too.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      first love, silence, etc.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      first love, silence, etc.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      first love, silence, etc.

  • Bealtaine

    I didn’t think other only children had brother issues!I still hope my parents will reveal the secret of my cool but in hiding older brother….any day now,any day

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      yes. one day he will come home for the holidays & take you out on his motorcycle.

  • Sri Batchu

    Jennifer, the 3rd and 4th stories were the most hauntingly beautiful.  Excellent writing.  While I like the twist with the grandfather, I don’t think it belongs in this piece–too populist, tear-jerker type story.  I also don’t think you need the over-expository epilogue.  Less is more.  We got all of that about you by reading your individual stories, don’t spell it out.  It kills the subtlety of the piece with a sledgehammer.  Excellent, excellent piece though.  So beautiful.  

    • peter

      i disagree…

    • Rosy

      From the title, I had expected a grandfather/father relationship reference; I found it to complement the other stories perfectly, completely.

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      thank you for reading, sri

      thought about ‘subtlety’ but it’s never been my strong suit

      maybe as i get older i will ‘mellow’

      maybe

  • Emily

    Grandfather story broke my heart :(

    • http://distractionetc.blogspot.com Jennifer Schaffer

      :(

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