I’m a very open person, and I have no problem talking about the mishaps and mistakes of my love life. But this story, this one is different. I have never told it in it’s entirety because it’s one of those things that you just can’t believe you actually did. And don’t want to believe. Even writing it makes me more emotional that I am comfortable with.
Let’s rewind this tape to the week before my Junior year of college.
As I was unloading the largest British Literature books of all-time onto the counter of the college bookstore and seriously contemplating a change of major, the dark haired boy glanced up at me and simply said, “English major, huh?” After a couple minutes of what seemed to be insignificant witty banter, I was on my way and searching desperately for a wheelbarrow. Although he was gorgeous and I was captivated by his wit, I was already in a serious, albeit rocky relationship.
We’ll call the bookstore boy, Jamie. Oh wait, that’s his actual name. And the last thing that occurred to me as I walked out those doors, was that Jamie would alter the course of my life.
Come October, my boyfriend (we’ll call him John) and I were on the outs because he wanted to get married and I didn’t. Oh, and he was bipolar. In pursuit of a creative outlet, I showed up at a meeting for the school paper and Jamie was there. That night, we went back to his dorm and ended up talking for hours. I can’t really explain the immediate connection between us because it transcends words – and it’s something I had never experienced.
As the air turned from crisp to cold, I found an escape in Jamie. Inside that dorm room, we were sheltered from the outside world – even the sunlight could barely touch us through the black sheets pretending to be curtains. I’d write in my journals while he played his guitar and we talked about our dreams. We’d sneak around, write each other poems and pass notes between classes – it was all very middle school on steroids and it was fabulous. The chemistry between us was intoxicating and as much as I wanted to get lost in it all, I knew I couldn’t. There were fundamental differences between us and I also knew he wanted to move to LA. We both had such passionate and explosive personalities that we fought as often as we kissed. Although I tried to end things several times, we just couldn’t stop seeing each other.
One night, I collapsed under the stress of John’s jealousy, the constant drama, the fact that I couldn’t be with Jamie, and simultaneously trying to fix my family. I ran out of Jamie’s dorm room and headed to my car as the most beautiful snowflakes fell down. I heard Jamie shouting my name as he ran after me. I stopped where I was, he grabbed my shoulder as he looked into my teary eyes and said, “Britteny, it’s fear. Your fear is what’s holding you back. You’ve got to get out of here. This town, these people, it’s sucking the life out of you. I’ve never met someone with so much unused talent. If you keep going like this you’ll just end up as another girl with potential.”
Jamie had often told me that I should study abroad in London like he had done. He said it would change my life. Despite my many fears, the idea of leaving the country was becoming more appealing with the surmounting drama. It was well past the date to apply for the spring semester, but when I expressed interest to Jamie he said that he would make it happen despite the fact that it broke his heart to lose me. In that moment, it was clear how much Jamie really cared for me. He was graduating at the end of May, therefore, when I came home from London he would have already moved back home and we would never see each other again.
Early January, we said our tearful goodbyes and I boarded a plane to London. I had no contact with Jamie whatsoever from then on. I wanted to go to Europe, forget everything, heal myself and start over.
And now it’s time for the worst part. In February, my ex, John, visited and surprised me with a trip to Paris and tried proposing. After that I was so confused. Mid-semester, I went downstairs to the school pub one night (yes, there was a bar INSIDE our dorm building) and had a drink. I was lost in my thoughts when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around and my heart dropped.
It was Jamie.
I looked into his eyes and felt so many emotions that I couldn’t even formulate words. He sort of smirked and said, “Hey you.” I don’t know exactly what happened in my mind, but I lost it. I said I had to go to the bathroom and I’d be right back. I exited the bar, ran as fast as I could through the courtyard and up into my room. I never went back. And I’ve never seen him since.
That night and my behavior will eternally haunt me.
Years later, I wrote a story about Jamie and how he inspired me to be a writer. It was my first nationally published piece. I emailed him to let him know. Turns out, he had moved to LA to pursue acting and as it seemed – both of our dreams were starting to materialize. I sent him a copy of the story with a heartfelt apology but I know him well enough that it didn’t make a difference.
Last year, he informed me that he landed a job based on a story he wrote about me. I never saw the story until a month ago when I came across it in a random google search of myself. I was surprised he had anything nice to say at all. Our short-lived relationship, although tumultuous, was something that gave me the confidence to pursue writing, to leave this town and discover so much about myself that has shaped who I am today.
So Jamie was half right. London did change my life, but not as much as he did.
Win over $350 in goodies by entering our Ladies Dating Badly GIVEAWAY!
Do you have a story of how you dated badly? This week, The College Crush will be featuring stories of ladies dating badly. To enter, you can post your story on our Facebook page (vlogs, blogs, or podcasts) and automatically be entered in our GIVEAWAY! Get your creativity on, ladies! On Sunday, we will choose our favorite story and the winner will receive $100 in Bare Tree Apparel products and a 2-hour session with Dating Makeover Coach, Kira Sabin, worth $250! Gift basket will include: messenger bag, T-shirt, belt, scarf and other assorted limited edition goodies!
Deadline to enter is Saturday, July 23, 2011