The summer I turned 20, I was introduced to a guy whom my dad worked with his dad. We had a really fun summer. In fact, it was a great summer. I fell head over heels for the guy.
The summer ended. We went back to college. Life went on. There was no text messaging, snap chat or instantaneous correspondence. We would have had to write each other a letter. Or heaven forbid, make a phone call, actually talk to each other, but that would have been a long distance phone call.
You just go on. Happy for the memories. Happy for the fun. Back to the real world.
The second summer. It was a heart break summer. Well, after my 21st birthday anyway. Up until then it was pretty fun. But I do remember being completely heart broken for half of a summer.
The third summer. We didn't have a third summer together. I went off to Europe for school. He had run off and married another girl. He was all of 20 years old. I still remember hearing the news. It was heart-breaking.
Life goes on. We lose touch. I always wondered what it would have been like if we had the third summer together. Instead of resolving unanswered questions, it made us just wonder "what ever happened???" "Where did they go?" Going on with our lives, but in the back of our minds, wondering "what if". At least that was me.
When we did re-connect it was many years later. We were both divorced. I had two boys. He had a girl. He's probably one of my dearest friends. Romantically, we wouldn't have worked out. We would have figured that out the third summer. And then, we would have never reconnected. I wouldn't have wondered what happened to him. I would have known.
See, he's everything I tried so hard to get away from. He's a bit messy. He didn't want more out of life - he was given what he needed. He likes trashy women. Man, I still love him, but really we need to help his taste in women. He's an incredible friend. Very loyal. I would have known all this years ago. And my boys would have missed out on an Uncle whom they adore.
This year, I finally got my third summer. Only this time, it was another summer love. The first summer was filled with romance. The second with heartache and the third, well contentment on my part. I don't need to wonder "what if". I know the answer to that. He's neat, not sloppy. He pretends he likes quality, but his taste in conversation and how he treats his girlfriend, well, that's not quality. And, he's not the good friend he says he is. All that matters to him is "how long you've known him" - not the quality of the relationship.
So now, the nice thing is, that I don't have to spend the next 10 years wondering "what if". I'm sad that my sons won't have a male friend to admire, but it's a small price to pay for the quality of our life. We know we turn out okay.
And one day, I may get my third summer with my first summer romance, but it's okay if I don't, I know whom I really am and how it turns out. Never really wondering what would have happened that third summer.