1. Meet a guy through friends of friends. He is four years your senior, which isn’t a lot, but at your stage in life it is.
2. Learn he went to your university and lived in your city, but is currently living two hours away, having moved only a week before you began talking.
3. Collectively decide to pursue something anyway despite the distance and never having met in person. He promises you that he loves to drive, and that the distance will be fine. You begin to fall for him quickly because you love the way he composes his words, it almost makes you want to cry.
4. Converse mainly through emails, texts, and Facebook messages, but these conversations are the deepest you’ve had with anyone for a long time – maybe even your entire life.
5. Learn he possess almost every quality on your shallow “What I Want in a Guy” list. Plays guitar? Check. Messy hair? Check. A writer? Check. Fall for him even further.
6. Continue talking over the next two months, the conversations are long and don’t revolve around the basic bullshit of everyday life. You discuss the moon and the sun, fate, literature, music, and religion, along with any other topic you may think of.
7. Look forward to the messages sent with him, those are what get you through the week, along with the hope of finally getting to see him.
8. You finally meet him briefly at a concert you both attend. You later learn he was on acid, which is why your interactions were short and awkward. You think nothing of it, even calling it cute.
9. Continue talking, he makes broken promises of coming to visit you, leaving you wondering if this could ever work out. Deep down you know it won’t but you cling to the idea of him.
10. Have your first “fight” about a word, nonetheless.
11. Four months in you finally set up a date to attend a concert in a city in the middle of the distance separating you two.
12. Have the best night of your entire summer, realize he is “everything you imagined” despite the many red flags you already let slip by you, for which you begin to make excuses. The date is cliché but perfect. You attend the concert which blows you both off your feet, you get lost walking around in the city, try to find a 24-hour coffee place to fulfill both of your needs and loves for coffee, realize the place you end up is a fancy restaurant, whisper about writing in the candlelight while awkward soft-rock plays overhead, which is neither of your taste in music. You end up having to order the cheapest thing on the menu because they bring you bread and a sample plate, leave a tip for the waiter all in change – you obviously don’t fit in there. Leave laughing and full of love, and life. Find a beach, take your shoes off, and create a fire. Finally get to kiss the guy who knows so much of you mentally, but so little of you physically.
13. The date does not last forever, you both kiss goodnight and head north on the freeway while he heads south. You cry because you miss him already, you know you love him in that moment.
14. Continue to talk the next few days and you are dying to be in his arms once more. You convince him to let you drive to his city where he is currently living on his friends fold-out couch. You make the 126 mile drive late at night arriving at one in the morning, just as he is getting off work.
15. Pull an all-nighter, get high, continue your deep conversations – but in person this time. Be intimate, sleep in his arms. Everything feels right.
16. Spend the next day – your day off – in his city where you have nowhere to go and nothing to do while he is at work, just so you can be in his arms once again later that night.
17. He fails to tell you when he is off work, so you wait an hour later than you needed too. Brush this off; make an excuse that he is busy. Another fight ensues. You make up by making out in the moonlight and sleeping in his arms once more.
18. Wake up early the next day not wanting to leave, but you must make the 2-hour commute to work. Kiss goodbye, with plans to hang out that Friday.
19. Talk all week, like a couple would.
20. Thursday rolls around and he says he has to cover for someone at work, accept this as a legitimate reason to blow you off – he needs the money to pay for his student loans. He doesn’t end up working that Friday, but still blows you off because he “has shit to do.”
21. Begin the downhill decline of the two of you. Call him asking if you will ever see him again, he replies, “Of course.” This comforts you, that’s all you need for now.
22. Continue to talk, but less and less. You drunkenly write him a long text message about your feelings for him, and how you have begun to talk less, and how you don’t want to screw this up like all your past “relationships.” He replies as if everything is alright between you, telling you that you don’t have to go through an approval process with him.
23. Maintain light conversation, with tentative plans to hang out. It has now been five months.
24. A month after your first date you send him a 1,350 word message venting about your feelings and how you want to become official with him – nothing is censored, it is lightly edited. He doesn’t reply for three days. You don’t realize how much of him you have made up of him in your head, how he is not the perfect man for you, and he has many flaws and warnings you have been letting slide and making excuses for.
25. He finally replies. He has a girlfriend now. You read this and expect a flood of tears to cascade down your face. Instead, you vomit.