It was a hot day in July when I met Ben—standing outside a coffee shop in northwest Portland where I lived. He stood tall and broad. I was wearing a long, flowing dress that hugged my figure, blue like my eyes. I remember because of how I felt when I realized he was looking at me. It was that strange and wonderful sense of being noticed.
We exchanged a few short, curious glances before he struck up a conversation—a conversation that ended with him asking me to dinner.
Over the next six months, we fell in love.
A Sharp Turn
We went to dinners and wine tastings, and we talked on the phone for hours. He traveled for work and I traveled for fun, so when we couldn’t talk in person, we exchanged blushing emails. We discussed our favorite music, favorite books, and places we wanted to live when we “grew up.” We shared our dreams with each other, encouraged each other, and always looked forward to coming home.
Then, just about six months into our relationship, he told me it wasn’t working.
This, of course, was the last thing I was expecting. I was floored by his admission because I didn’t agree. Not by a long shot. But I was also overwhelmed by the sensation that there was nothing I could do to change his mind.
So we moved on.
Or, I should say, he moved on. Not me. I lingered. “Clenched” might be a more appropriate way to describe it. I obsessed over what did happen and what could have happened and what would maybe happen someday if he would ever give me another chance. I stalked his Facebook profile and spent hours obsessing over who he was with and what he was doing and what he might be thinking, all while lying awake in bed, terribly lonely.1