Please be reminded; any names of people portrayed in this series are altered to protect their identities.
Due to my habit of skipping classes and not showing up to school, when graduation crept near, I decided to stay back one more year to tie up my academic loose ends. By the time my Grade 13 year began, the rumours had become old news and people started focusing on other things. I knew I didn’t want to bother dating for some time, so I decided to simply do my own thing, hoping this year would pass quickly so I could finally leave behind all the bad memories and move on with my life.
I had started to reach out and reconnect with some old friends. As fate would have it, my first boyfriend (Seth) started contacting me with casual conversations. I knew my feelings for him hadn’t gone away, but the pain had long died down. Conversation turned to coffee, then coffee turned into a lunch date. Before we knew it, we were in a relationship again. I was slightly concerned about the whole thing when it all started; after all, I remember how horrible I felt the last time we parted.
I knew I had grown much over the years, however. As time passed, our relationship built and we even lived together for about a year. Granted, the circumstances as to why I moved in with him weren’t the greatest. When you’re at that age and living with your parents, personalities have a tendency to clash. So I figured, “I’ll move in with my boyfriend; whom you despise, by the way. That’ll show ya.”
All things considered, our relationship was going well; I may even say it was thriving. The distance did my family and I some good as my relationship with them began to grow much less toxic. However, over two years of being with Seth began to wear on my nerves. I don’t know what changed, but it seemed as though suddenly, everything he did just made me cringe. I tried to shrug it off and pretend I was just in a weird state of mind; surely it would pass.
The leaves changed, the weather began to grow colder, and I found myself growing distant. We started to get into more arguments, and I found myself feeling physically sick whenever he touched me or held me. I started to go for late-night walks just to get away. In retrospect, I couldn’t imagine how confusing my behaviour must have been for him at the time. I decided to take on a seasonal job working at a Halloween festival in the city, hoping it would get my mind off of my relationship.
That job turned out to be one of the best times I could recall from my teen years. I was just a games attendant, but the people there were so much fun to work with. I found myself genuinely smiling while I was there. Especially when I was matched up to work with Ryder. He was an odd duck, that’s for sure; but his eccentric nature and devilish grin had piqued my curiosity. I looked forward to working with him every weekend, and before I knew it, I was hooked.
It was an unfortunate situation; every time Seth spoke to me, I found myself rolling my eyes and wishing for silence. The dynamic when I was working with Ryder was so drastically different that I found myself wanting to be around him as much as I could. Despite these feelings, I kept my distance. I had started staying at my parents’ again from time to time just to get some decent sleep.
By the time the final day of the festival had come and gone, I collected my things from the booth I was stationed at and recall feeling a sense of panic when my coworker/friend at the time decided she would run over and tell him I wanted to, how she so eloquently put it; “have his mouth-babies.” I wasn’t sure what that meant, but before I could grab her or flag her down, she’d already run up to him and was tugging his sleeve. I remember feeling hot head-to-toe, and feeling unsure of whether or not I should stay and wait for the rejection or simply leave then and there so I wouldn’t have to see. My legs seemed to have decided for me as they cemented to the ground. To my surprise, after a quick exchange of words, Ryder looked over to me, smiled brightly, looked back at my friend and did a little hop of joy before she ran back to join me.
Apparently, the romantic interest was mutual. I laughed, waved farewell and made my way back home.
I know, I know. “Why didn’t I go for him?”
Well, you forget; I was still in a relationship with Seth at the time. Testing the waters when I’m already taken has never been my style. However, once that night had ended, and I climbed into my bed, I knew I had some thinking to do. I would be speaking to Seth the next day, and quite possibly for the last time.
To be continued…