Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Boy Bits - Part 2

This next part of my relationship story includes two guys; Steve, who based solely on our time spent together doesn't really warrant a post, and Jake*. But their stories are intertwined and both guys were instrumental in helping me realize my worth and proving to me that there are good guys out there who will treat you well. (I haven't changed Steve's name in this because I have absolutely no contact with him and haven't in many, many years. I also don't know anybody who is in contact with him, so I don't have any qualms about using his name and photos here.)

I couldn't remember who I met first so I found an old diary to refresh my memory. First came Jake.

It was my sophomore year of college and Brian was finally out of my life. I was loving life! I felt really good about myself for the first time ever. I had lost some weight my freshman year (probably one of the only girls to do so!) and had finally gotten contacts, so I actually felt like a cute girl. I loved my sorority sisters, loved living in the sorority house, and was having a fabulous time partying and being in-the-moment at college.

One night at an off-campus pre-party with all the sorority girls, one of our new pledges introduced me to her older brother, Jake, who was in town for the weekend. I was immediately attracted to him. Super nice and friendly, tall (super tall!), cute, blonde - I liked him instantly. We brought him with us to the fraternity party we were expected at - Labyrinth at Lambda Chi Alpha. It was always a huge party and we figured we could sneak in one non-Greek boy without too much trouble.

My sorority sisters and I had a lot of friends and boyfriends at Lambda Chi, which meant that we were guaranteed a good time and all the alcohol we wanted. And there was no question about it, this night I was drunk. Jake was a total gentleman. He stayed near me all night, made sure I was okay, kept me upright. We kissed a lot, but he wasn't overly touchy. A nice departure from the usual antics of the guys at these parties.

The Labyrinth is essentially an outdoor maze with the prize at the center being a keg. Jake and I wound our way through the maze, stopping in dark, dead-end corners to kiss. We finally happened upon a hole somebody had ripped in one of the walls that led directly to the center. The walls were made up of black trash bags fixed on a fence-like frame. (I feel I have to tell you this because of what happened next.) I was holding Jake's hands behind my back and plowed on through the hole in the wall without realizing there was the bottom rung of the fence frame to step over. Without my hands, I couldn't catch myself before falling face-first into the grass. I literally had grass in my teeth. Really. Quite attractive.

Somehow this mortifying, drunken fall didn't turn Jake completely off. He helped me up, cleaned me off, and even walked me home. We hung out, kissed some more, and exchanged phone numbers.

The next weekend I went down to Albuquerque to visit my BFF Bridget during UNM's Homecoming weekend. I went to classes with her and her boyfriend on Friday and met a lot of their friends. One of these friends was Steve. Oh, the holy hotness that was Steve. He was the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome. At this point in my life, I thought that Steve was one of the best looking guys I had ever seen. Again, I felt an immediate attraction. In fact, I told Bridget I thought Steve was gorgeous and I stared at him throughout one of the classes we were all in together. But as cute as I felt I finally was, I thought Steve was most definitely out of my league. Turns out that Steve was actually the roommate of and a fraternity brother of Bridget's boyfriend, Chad, so she assured me that we'd be spending time with him while I was in town.

That first night we went to a few parties and I flirted with Steve when we saw him, but nothing more happened. The next day we all tailgated together before the football game. This is when I found out that Steve liked me as well! Though slightly disbelieving, I was ecstatic!

me, Steve & Bridget tailgating
After the game and the parties, Bridget and I went back with Chad and Steve to their apartment. This was when Steve made his interest in me really apparent and we finally got to spend some quality alone time with each other.

Steve made me feel like a goddess. He made me feel beautiful and wanted and worthy of being with somebody as gorgeous as I felt he was. I am well aware of all my flaws, but Steve made me feel comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life.

After being with Brian for so long - someone who did absolutely nothing for my self-esteem, who never complimented me, who made me feel like only his pleasure mattered - being with Steve was a serious breath of fresh air. He took his time with me and worshiped every inch of my body. He was silly and fun and sexy - sometimes all at the same time. He wanted me to stay with him that night, shower with him the next morning, spend every available minute with him. So I did. :)

The next day, we spent as much time together as possible. We lounged in bed, ate breakfast with Bridget and Chad, lounged in bed some more, watched a movie. When we left to get some lunch, Steve put his hand on the small of my back and called me "his girl". In the car, he ogled my legs beneath my short skirt. He made me feel pretty and desirable.

Late that afternoon, when we finally had to say goodbye - he had to go to his fraternity meeting and I had to catch my flight home - I felt like my heart was breaking. How could I like this guy so much in such a short amount of time? Now, of course, I can look back and say, "DUH! You liked him so much because he was actually nice to you." God, compared to how Brian treated me, this was like being a Princess!

Sometimes, a girl has what ends up being one of the most memorable kisses of her life. My goodbye kiss with Steve was one of these for me. Though the location left a lot to be desired (the parking lot between Steve's frat house and Bridget's sorority), the actual kiss made that all insignificant. Steve wrapped his arms around my waist and picked me up, squeezing all the air out of me. After he put me down, he took my face in his hands, and sweetly and passionately (how one kiss can be described as both is mind boggling) kissed me. I didn't want to say goodbye to him and ended up crying. He kissed away my tears and then lightly kissed my lips again. That is one of my favorite kiss memories ever.

Steve, looking pretty hot before his fraternity meeting

Bridget and Chad said they had never seen Steve act like this with a girl. He'd never been so attentive or so seemingly "into" a girl before. I was pleased that was that girl for him. But we would obviously have some struggles if we wanted to continue to see each other since we lived in different states.

I got back to Fort Collins, devastated about leaving Steve, but determined to work something out with him. We started a phone relationship and decided try the long-distance thing. I sent him care packages and we planned to see each other - him coming up to Fort Collins, me going down there, etc. But it was hard. And at the same time, I actually had Jake calling me, too. I wasn't sure I wanted to get involved with Jake after meeting Steve, but he was determined. And at least he was in the same state as me.

I started seeing Jake on weekends. Sometimes I'd go down to Denver, sometimes he'd come up to Fort Collins. I told him I was also seeing someone else - I wanted to be completely honest with him about Steve. He didn't like it, but he accepted it. Jake was very attentive. Sometimes too attentive. I wasn't used to that from a guy. He'd call all the time, he'd email, he wanted to see me a lot. I liked him, but it was almost too much in addition to how I felt about Steve.

But things weren't going all that great with Steve. The last straw was when he told me he wouldn't be spending Thanksgiving with me as we had planned. That was it for me and I decided it wasn't going to work. We hadn't seen each other since I had been in Albuquerque and I just couldn't deal with it anymore. I had Jake, who wanted to see me, who wanted to spend time with me, who was available, and - most importantly - here. He liked me, I liked him. I owed it to myself (and him) to give it a go. I ended the "thing" with Steve and told Jake he was the only one.

Oddly, that's when I had another one of those most memorable kisses. Jake is super tall - like almost 15" taller than me, so sometimes kissing him was a bit of a logistical challenge. The night that I told him I was only seeing him, we were at my sorority house. He was standing, leaning against the wall between our formal living room and the stairs that went up to the mezzanine, where my bedroom was. His legs were splayed out and I stood between them. His stance put his face much closer to my height, which made kissing very comfortable for both of us. He was so happy when I told him, I could practically taste joy in our kiss. The happiness made it such a memorable kiss.

me & Jake at a CSU football game

When I look back on it, my relationship with Jake was essentially my first real relationship. Though I might consider Brian my first boyfriend, we didn't have a typical relationship. I had that with Jake. We spent lots of time together, we called each other boyfriend and girlfriend, we went on real dates, we gave each other cards and gifts, he wrote me my first love letter (I still have it!), we met each other's parents (my parents liked him, his parents liked me!), and we spent holidays together. He took me skiing for my first and only attempt at the sport (disaster!) and he taught me how to drive a stick shift on his beloved Jeep. He attended one of my sorority formals with me. He was the first guy I said "I love you" to and the first guy who said it to me.  We had a fun and mutually fulfilling sex life. He fit into my life well, got along with my friends, and was essentially a really good guy.

me & Jake at my sorority formal - holy shit I look SO young!
(trying to preserve some of his privacy by hiding his eyes)

But it didn't last. I'm not sure why. I know I can be high maintenance, and maybe that's what did us in. Or maybe we just weren't meant for each other. Or maybe our relationship just ran it's course. We were really young and had a lot of living left to do. So after a while, Jake wanted out. It was really, really hard for me to let him go. But I knew he would never be completely gone from my life. His sister, my sorority sister, had become a good friend. He and I worked in the same mall, just a few stores away from each other - me at Victoria's Secret, him at Structure - so we always saw each other there, too. That made getting over him tough.

To soothe my broken heart, I kissed a lot of other boys at parties. Some of them were inappropriate in that they had girlfriends, or multiple boys from the same fraternity - which really wasn't a good idea. But I thought it helped ease the hurt I felt, especially when I found out Jake was dating someone new. Eventually, after enough time passed, I felt ready to let Jake go. I know I didn't mean anything to him anymore and I needed to move on, too.

I did see Steve once more, the next time I visited Bridget in Albuquerque. It was after Jake and I had broken up and I was in my phase of kissing lots of boys. I ended up kissing a guy I had met the last time I was down there. Turns out Ryan was Steve's little brother in their fraternity. Oops. He knew who I was to Steve, but I didn't know who he was. Steve didn't like it. It was awkward and tense. But Steve was the one who screwed up with me, so I continued kissing Ryan just to make Steve jealous. He ended up blatantly ignoring me the rest of the weekend, even when I sat across the table from him at breakfast with Bridget and Chad. That was the last I ever saw of him. I have no idea what's happened in his life.

I learned a lot from my relationship with Jake. He was a good boyfriend and he treated me well. It helped me realize what I wanted in a relationship and how it felt to be loved. And I knew I wanted that again. I finally felt worthy of being loved.

Years later, after we had all graduated from college, Jake continued being included in my larger circle of friends. He would come to the parties my roommates and I had, and he and his friends were sometimes part of the large group of us that would go out together. Sometimes I thought this continued exposure to each other would end up with us getting back together, but that was never meant to be. This became especially evident when one New Year's Eve he kissed one of my roommates. They never became anything, but that was the most obvious way I could ever see that we were never getting back together, and I'm sure that was never even an actual thought in his head.

Though I don't see him anymore because I'm not really part of that group of friends and haven't been for years, we are Facebook friends. It's nice to see what's going on in his life. He seems really happy with his current girlfriend, and she seems like a good match for him. He is still one of the good guys and I wish him all the best.

Up Next - Zach, the boy I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

After a While You Learn...

I found this poem in an old diary while reading up on my old relationships for my "boy bits" posts. I have no idea who wrote it because I stupidly didn't credit it in my diary, so I apologize for not knowing. I wrote it in there during an incredibly difficult time in my life, but I found it very touching even now and actually cried while reading it.

After a while you learn...
The subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn...
That love doesn't mean learning and company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn...
That kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead;
With the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn...
That even sunshine burns if you ask too much.
So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn...
That you really can endure, that you really are strong, and you really do have worth.
And you learn...And you learn...
With every goodbye, you learn.