I had a T-shirt that said that in high school. It was one of the many gifts from my high school boyfriend. He was a year ahead of me. He was captain of the track team (sprinter), a musician (he played for his church and was in a band), an artist, and all around good student. His letter jacket had a ton of medals. He had gentle blue eyes; and spoke Polish. He liked to send me notes in school that would quote lyrics from Styx. He was a romantic. Get real, he was a trophy boyfriend.
When I met him my freshman year, I never thought he'd go for me. But somehow, we ended up together. Many girls in his class didn't like it. I knew that - yet I told myself I didn't care. Having him escort me to my locker was a total validation trip. I must have been somebody to have a boyfriend of that status.
I always had someone to dance the slow songs with me. I got to go to the formal dances a year early. I got to go on car dates. I had someone take care of me until my senior year. He was never mean to me. He was never disrespectful. And he put up with a lot of my teenage B.S.
Pretty sure my boyfriend was near sainthood by sticking with me during the drama of my dad's death; and my other "shadow" issues. I'm sure our relationship could be identified with any of the high school dramas on TV. Looking back, I still can't believe he stuck with me as long as he did. No one deserved that kind of ..... punishment.
We were still identified as a couple during his first year of college and my senior year. It caused a few confusing times because I knew I didn't want to be tied down - but I didn't know how to end a relationship that he seemed to be counting on. I still have the pre-engagement ring he gave me. He wouldn't take it back. I think he had some ideas of needing to be responsible for me. He parents were immigrants from Poland. Maybe there was some of the old world in his values.
So what ended it? College.
My freshmen year was the first time I was in an environment where NO ONE knew any of my relationships. I had no sibling shadows, no lingering pity, no boyfriend within two hours drive. This was in the days before text messages, facebook, email. We talked on the phone frequently - but I was ready to create a new identity.
I couldn't keep my trophy - and he couldn't keep me. I ended it badly. I know I hurt him. But we both know that was for the best.
He's now married to a beautiful woman and he has children who are now in college and high school. My mom likes to save newspaper clippings of their success. She's not being mean. I'm sure I'd be reading these stories if I had a subscription to my hometown newspaper.
I think about him from time to time. But never more than when I'm leading a group of new college students through the four-week seminars of Evolution; an orientation program that introduces students to core competencies of intellectual development, self identity and environmental awareness (local, social, global, etc.) I wonder if any of the students are trying to figure out who they are now; without lingering relationships.
I also think about him when I'm heading back to my hometown to visit my mom. I wonder if I'll bump into him at the grocery store, or pumping gas. I always hope it's on a day I have good hair.
I've thought of tracking him down. But I should him leave him alone; in peace. If ever there was a way to apologize and to thank him for looking out for me, I would. He taught me how to be gentle with my husband; to not take advantage of his generosity, sweetness or dedication.
Then there was the boy who broke my heart in college. I could tell him about the shoe being on the other foot. But that's a whole other blog post.
How I was able to snag TWO trophies in one life time is beyond me. I do realize how lucky I am.
(high school boyfriend's picture withheld out of respect - but I still have a few stashed away in my memory box)
#81 of 90in90 for #LUBlogTribe
(I warned my husband I was going to write this post.)