by Allison Turman.
Imagine that you’re at a party and you hear your favorite love song and you look across the room to see him standing in the corner gazing at you with sparkling eyes. He walks over to you and asks you if you would like to dance. Your body begins to shake as nerves begin to build up but you slowly nod and then, he takes your hand and glides you over to the center of the dance floor. As you slow dance to the country song, ‘Kiss You Good Night’ by Gloriana, your body starts to feels like it’s going through a rush of adrenaline, your heart is beating as fast as the wind blowing through the trees during a storm, your palms are sweaty, and all you can think about is how not to mess this up. Afterwards, you and this guy start to hang out and you are constantly obsessed with the song that you danced to that night. You feel excited every time you see him and every time you kiss, it’s like you’re in that moment all over again. A few months pass by and all that you felt for him are now just okay feelings. They’re not leaping for joy every time you see him and your heart is not beating rapidly. Love is considered a drug that could be good or bad, but it’s something everyone craves. This is what I was taught over the years and I wasn’t really sure if I wanted to believe that, I mean how could our brain tell us when we were supposed to love?
I never understood what love was other than it’s a feeling that we all have towards everything and that there are all sorts of love. When I think of love for someone special, I feel like I’m floating on cloud nine. I fantasize about having dinner on top of the roof of a restaurant under the stars with my dream guy. Then we would dance to our song and when the moon is high, we would lean in for a passionate kiss. And the kissing is natural and spontaneous. Everything just feels magical and whimsical, kind of like a fairy tale.
One day at Chaffey College, I was sitting in the cafeteria on the Starbucks side. I thought I got lucky even though the seat was right next to the automatic doors. I had to brace myself for the cold November air that blew in every time someone walked in, out or by the doors. I had my head phones in my ears and I began writing an idea for a story in my journal while drinking a hot beverage. Something made me look up and he caught the corner of my eye. He was between the entry of Starbucks and the main cafeteria. A tall, fair skinned man with dark brown hair and dark green eyes, he was somewhat muscular but I wouldn’t say he was in the greatest shape. I caught him looking at me and usually one would think why is that guy looking at me? My first thought was that he was kind of cute. He had a cup of Starbucks coffee in his hand, so I assumed that he was probably trying to look for a seat, since the cafeteria is usually crowded after ten in the morning. I had a seat open right next to me but no one really sat at a table with strangers. He began walking over on the same side that I was on and I thought that he given up looking for a seat, so he was set on leaving. Anyone would think of just asking him if he would like to sit with them but of course due to how pathologically shy I am, I completely clammed up and went back to my story.
I was almost startled when I heard him talk to me.
“Excuse me,” he said.
I looked up and saw him right there, kind smile and all.
“Is it okay if I sit here?”
I quickly nodded and said, “Sure.”
“Thanks,” he said as he took a seat next to me. “It always seems hard to find a seat here.”
I chuckled nervously and responded, “Yeah I like to think of it as rush hour here sometimes.” We fell quiet for a few moments thinking that our five second conversation was over, and I went back to my journal and trying not to be rude I turned my music down so I could hear him if he did talk to me.
Although, my nerves got the best of me, and I felt like I couldn’t really speak so while I was writing my story, I pressed my lips together to hide a smile and I kept quiet. It was weird, I usually didn’t experience crushes this quickly but he was good-looking in my eyes. I kind of felt special that he chose the table where I was sitting.
“Is that your diary?” he asked me, and that was the question that started it all.
We talked about everything from what I write about, to the songs that he writes, to the kind of cars that we drove and anything else we could possibly think of.
I’ve never felt this comfortable with a guy I just met before. Even with my guy friends I was still quiet, like naturally quiet. I’m not exactly sure why I have always been so shy, my parents say its genetics and I just say it’s me. Being shy and quiet is what I’m known to be. But with this guy I was talking, I was completely engaged in our conversations.
During the last part of our conversations I looked at my phone and it was 10:50. I realized that my math class was going to start soon. I kind of dreaded that I had leave. Not because I never cared for math anyway, but because I knew I was leaving a really great guy. He asked me a question that kind of scared me in a way because I thought that he might like me but because he has done something a boy has never done before…unless we were really close friends… he asked me for my name…and my number. Thinking I could trust him I took a risk that I thought I would never be able to take before and gave him my name and number and he did the same. His name, which I will remember until the day I die, his name was…Jake.
I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear. As I walked through the Health Science building I was shaking inside. I couldn’t tell if it was the cold or if my nerves were acting up. I passed by the pond and I looked around. Nobody was around as far as I can see. I felt like a can of soda and burst out jumping with excitement, as silently as I could, but I’m pretty sure I let out a squeal. I guess I wasn’t really sure why I was so excited. Jake was just a normal guy and I’m pretty sure that we were just going to end up friends. But my instincts were telling me that this time things were going to be different.
After I came home the first person I told about Jake was my mom and I added that I really hoped to see him again. Later on that night I told my dad and both of my parents started asking me questions about him. Where did he live? Does he have a car? Does he have a job? What does he want to major in? It was question after question and I know I didn’t answer them all but I knew I answered the important ones. It was almost obvious that they were slightly nervous that I had found someone that I really like and might have a chance with. I understood their anxiety though; this was not only new for me but for them as well. Except for the part of where I felt excited finally talking about a guy that I think I was starting to like.
It wasn’t until the next day that I got a call from Jake asking if I could meet him at the cafeteria again. I didn’t have class that day until 12:30 but I was more than happy to meet with him again. Jake had already saved us a table by the time I got there. We started our conversations off with ‘Hi’ and ‘How are you?” then we went into conversation which I can’t completely remember. I do kind of remember talking about the movies that we did like. He did like a lot of action pact movies. I told him I am open to pretty much everything except horror and films with lots of bad language in them. I prefer romantic comedy and anime. Probably a half hour into our topic I started to notice that he was rubbing his hands against his legs and he slowly began to speak again.
“So I was wondering,” he said, “the Muppet movie comes out soon and would you like to go with me?”
My heart fluttered inside as I said, “Yeah, I would like that.”
He did warn me that he didn’t have a job so he didn’t have a lot of money but he was currently looking for one. He was living at his parent’s house and living on financial aid like I was. I did not care if he had money or not but I did agree to split the bill. We set the date about a week from that day since that was the day it came out.
When I was in high school was afraid of the seniors. Every time I saw one they looked like they should be in college and I told myself not to date anyone that was more than a year older than me. When college came around came around I started to be a little bit more open minded as far as age and I extended the age limit to two years older than me. I guess it’s safe to say that I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t dating anyone twice my age. It didn’t dawn on me until I was in my English class which was towards the end of the day that I did not know Jake’s age. Thinking that it was an important question to me, I decided to text him and find out. He told me that he would be twenty-one, December third and I had just turned eighteen. I was a little apprehensive about that because I didn’t know Jake that well and I wasn’t sure if he would be the typical twenty-one year old who would want to go for a drink and party every weekend and then I would just be seen as an underage girlfriend. So far though, he hasn’t tried to throw cheesy lines at me or touched me inappropriately either. I decided to give the age difference a chance and see where Jake and I could possibly go.
He texted me out of the blue one Saturday morning and asked if I would like to go for a hike up in the foothills. Usually it’s annoys me when someone out of the blue just drops a plan at the last minute because I like to plan my day. Plus I have a mother who is adamant about getting our chores done and any homework that my sister and I had to do. So I’m always making a map of some sort of how the day would be. But for some reason this time, I said yes. The date didn’t happen until late afternoon, mom said that I could do my chores tomorrow and I double checked that my homework was done, which gave my mom and me plenty of time to go shopping for a new outfit. I was slightly embarrassed that my mom was going through so much trouble just trying to find me an outfit. Actually she was going through so much just to find me a shirt. We were only going on a hike, it seemed like no big deal to me. In the end, however, I needed warm clothes anyway and although I did act like, ‘oh no Jake won’t care what I’m wearing,’ I was kind of starting to like the fact that I was going shopping for a small date. This one guy could go out with any other girl in the world but he chose me. I honestly don’t care what I look like, if the guy did not like what I was wearing then he’s not worth it and I knew that Jake liked me either way and didn’t care what I wore as long I wore clothes. So I got a few new long sleeve shirts and a couple pairs of blue jeans.
On our way home, my dad decided to play a joke on me and had texted me that Jake was already at my house talking with him and my sister. My heart was instantly racing, my finger nails were picking at my skin and I felt like I couldn’t breathe all of a sudden. I was freaking out, which clouded my thoughts and logical thinking. I kind of wonder now why I didn’t text him on the way home to make sure he was there. No, instead I walked inside the door, dumbfounded to find that he wasn’t there yet. I took a big breath of relief because I wanted to be there when Jake got to meet my family. I glared at my dad for it because it was kind of a mean trick. I was shaking enough thinking about a guy that I like was going to meet my family and then all of a sudden Dad pulled this prank. I wasn’t really amused. It was kind like one of the TV shows where the young girl is trying to beat the next to person to the door so the guy doesn’t get swamped by her embarrassing family.
I changed into my new outfit, packed a lunch, and waited for him to come. He came a little later than expected. I let him in and he met my family and I could tell that he was nervous. He hardly sat down and I could just barely make out his hands fidgeting in his pockets. Which I understood because I was even nervous just sitting down on the couch. We talked for a little while and then we decided to get going. I hopped into Jake’s Ford Explorer and we drove off to the foothills where we could go hiking. Through the car drive we were quiet. I kind of played with the window button on the door and was beginning to gently bite my lip. I took a deep breath and my nerves finally died away and I began to relax a little more. I wondered if I was strangely growing comfortable too quickly. Usually when I go out with a guy friend, we are just friends, nothing more. But this…this was different. I wasn’t sure if I had feelings for him yet but it almost seemed unreal that I could ever be this comfortable with someone I barely even knew. Maybe I was over thinking this but instinctively I knew this wasn’t me, but then what was it?
Honestly, I didn’t even know that anyone could hike in Upland. It was almost hard to believe that it took a guy to show me there’s actually something worth doing in a small town. On the way up it was more dessert than green. There were lots of rocks, dry dirt and a few dead bushes and trees. At one point I got a little skittish because in the direct path there was a tarantula walking ever so slowly down the path. I walked along the side to make sure that it wouldn’t attack me…even though Jake kind of assured me that it wouldn’t. As we got to the picnic bench, we enjoyed the nature around us. There were more lively trees and bugs flying around, flower bushes on the east side of us and on the west side was a view of the city. Upland never looked so beautiful with the mountains pasted against the clear sky, a few clouds here and there, birds flying overhead and below you could still cars driving through Foothill Boulevard.
We got to know each other a little more as far as what our parents do for a living and what religion we were. His dad worked with the gas stations and his mom worked in the law field. I thought it was kind of cool that both his parents had jobs, unlike mine where only my dad works and my mom just waits for work to come to her. I discovered that we were both Christian and I was grateful for that because it helps when one is in a relationship and they have the same beliefs as you. I also discovered that he had a brother that day, Chad. He was a little bit older Kelly, but I found it cool because maybe one day if they met, they would have someone to relate to in the future as far as school and teenage life.
Then it came up to the point of where are we in our relationship. We’ve talked about our history of dating other people…well Jake said he has never dated before and neither had I. The only real history I have had with guys are now my best friends or crushes that I had and waited too late to tell them how I felt. He said I was nice and easy to talk too and I was smart and funny. So far I’ve only been amazed of how smart he was. He had helped me with my math homework before and he was taking physics classes. So I knew I found a good math tutor but I knew that there had to be more than that. We decided that we should stay in the friend zone until our movie date and go from there.
We were probably at the picnic area for another hour and noticed that sunset was approaching and we decided to head back down the trail. When we got back to his car I took out my phone to see that I had already gotten a text from my mom but never heard it because I put on silence for no interruptions…especially from my mom. I just had this sort of feeling that she would have texted me on my date and I just wanted it to be me and Jake. No mom texting me something she could have told me before we left. She said if we were done, they were still at Victoria Gardens and Jake could drop me off there since it was on his way home. It took me awhile to find my family since he dropped me off on the opposite side of where they were but we said our goodbyes, I found my family and went home.
The movie date finally came. To my family I seemed confident on the outside but I was shaking like a rattle snake in the inside. My sister was trying to choose my outfits for me but I told her I rather choose them myself. She claimed that she was trying to help me and always teases me that I had no sense of style. She suggested my denim skirt with my blue blouse but I told her it’s November and its cold. I’m usually not one who likes help choosing my clothes and since I’m so sensitive to the cold, a skirt would not do anything for me. I decided on a purple long sleeve shirt and jeans, with a simple necklace.
Jake and I decided to go out to dinner with our movie date. We went to In N Out and it was a quiet dinner amongst a crowd of people, we both hardly talked. It was then that I realized that we were both naturally quiet people, which was kind of not what I expected on a first date. We did talk about our classes, we also found out we both have Kaiser and that we both see a therapist. He sees his because he has mild depression and I have slight mild anxiety. We also had the same surgery a few years back, and we have had a reaction to anesthesia. I found these things kind of quirky.
After dinner we made our way to the AMC Theater at Victoria Gardens and we each paid for our tickets. The movie was very funny, I’ve always enjoyed the Muppets and I was so happy that I had someone else by my side to enjoy them with me. Jake was comfortable yet nervous. I kept glancing over at him and I could see that he was enjoying the movie but he was also sitting very still with his hands rigidly on his legs, kind of like someone glued them there. I found that cute and understandable and I wasn’t going to expect my fantasies to come true at this moment. Every moment that I did feel nervous though I laughed at the funny parts and the nerves seemed to die away. I did feel a little nervous and confused because I’ve watched so many movies and I kept thinking that there will be more to this. I guess I expected more romance out of the date. I wanted him to hold my hand or put his arm around my shoulders in the movie theater. I think I also wanted to go somewhere quiet for dinner.
When the movie was over we headed home and talked about the movie how good it was and the funniest part was the scene where the main guy and the Muppet who was supposed to the main guy’s brother sang ‘Am I a Man or a Muppet.’ Then we kind of talked about our behavior in the movie theater. How nervous we were and we weren’t really sure what we were supposed to do. Come to think of it, it’s actually not the kind of topic that you would want to discuss after a movie date. It made things seem a little awkward.
After we had gotten home, Jake walked me back to my apartment and my parents welcomed him in and he stayed and hung out for a while. He took up on my dad’s offer of coconut cream pie and a glass of water, and he, my family and I just talked until it was really late. This was nice because my parents got to know Jake a little more and it was easier keeping the conversation going without the awkward silence.
The week after our date, we met at school and talked about how we should move forward in our relationship. If we did move forward, it would mean that we would do more couple things together and just grow together as a couple. I told him that we should meet at the bench behind the Administration Building. I wasn’t sure where we were in our relationship but I knew that I did have some sort of feelings for Jake. I asked if I could speak first because it seems like every time I tell a guy how I feel I am too late and it blows up in my face. I suggested that we tried dating.
He thought about it for a moment and then he said, “I do have feelings for you and I do want to see where this goes.”
Then he asked me a very important question that made my heart just leap for joy. As a Christian based family, his family believes in ‘no sex before marriage,’ and he asked my thoughts about being together sexually. The moment that I heard him ask that question and that I told him I completely agree. I felt a whole new comfort and trust with him because this meant that there would be no pressure of any type of sex between us. We would do things when were ready and we could just be two people dating. He also wouldn’t be one those guys that just wants a girl for a sex or a stalker for that matter.
At the end of our conversation we decided to start dating and I felt really happy that for once in my life someone just might be having feelings for me and I had feelings for him. I almost wanted to break out in song and then have him join in like a musical because I felt that good. We would sing the cute duet song in the Lady and the Tramp: Scamp’s Adventure, ‘I Didn’t Know That I Could Feel This Way.’
Between November and December, Jake and I were pretty much inseparable though we still had our awkward moments. I kind of had to go by my instinct and teach Jake how we are supposed to act as a couple. I had to give him signs to hug me and we had not held hands yet. I waited patiently, though for I knew that he would come around eventually. We went on dates almost every weekend and he was at my house certain nights and we saw each other every day at school. I kind of felt like I was training a dog but without giving treats but then I think I eventually learned along the way too. Like one of the things, I learned to be patient with someone who was just barely learning how to be in a relationship like I was.
I began to notice that he was romantic but then the romance kind of started to die away when he kept repeating the gestures. When I think of romance, I think “out of the box, completely different.” He always liked playing music on his guitar so he had written me a song and he played it in the court yard on campus. It was about how my faith in God had been fading and the song was called ‘I Know You’ll Be Whole Again.’ From what I have told Jake, he knew how I felt on certain things not just my faith, it was my family, the way I live my life, so it was an encouraging and special song for me. There was one moment where he kept coming to my house unexpectedly and so I had to ask him to call or text before he came over. The first couple times he even came with flowers and it was romantic and unexpected. After the next few times it was kind of getting old and my family didn’t really like it when people came over without any warning. Sooner or later the dates that seemed spontaneous kind of started to fade as we always ended up at Victoria Gardens. I’ve never been to the mall so much in my life.
Due to my history with guys, there’s one thing I thought I would never do…meet his family. I’ve always fantasize about meeting my boyfriend’s parents but never thought it would actually happen. I guess I never thought of getting this far with Jake either. I think I’ve expected the parents to reflect the children. So since Jake was sweet and smart so would his parents. I think it seemed like it all moved so fast. We set the date for one day after I was done with my day at school. He lives in Rancho Cucamonga just a few miles away from the school. His house was small but perfect for him, his brother and his parents. When I got there his parents were not home yet so I got to meet his brother, Chad, first. His parents didn’t come home until close to dinner time but his mom was a short, sweet lady who just took me in with open arms. When it came to dinner I noticed their living styles were different from my family’s. They prayed before they ate, which I was able to respect being a Christian myself. After dinner they have sparkling cider and do something called cheers. It’s where they say something positive about the day or something you’re just grateful for. I really enjoyed it and a part of me wished that my family and I could do something like this. I think that day met all of my expectations except for the part where his parents weren’t home before us. That part just seemed kind of awkward because you would think that if you meet someone else’s family you would want them all under one roof.
December third, Jake’s birthday, we still didn’t know what we were in our relationship. We were dating but we weren’t as my parents put it “exclusive.” We had a hard time deciding on what to call each other. It was like, ‘Hi my name is Allie and this is Jake, my…’ that month was hard since we were still dating but we couldn’t call each other boyfriend and girlfriend yet.
While Jake and his mom were setting up the food, one of his friends did ask me, “So are you like his sister or something?”
I hesitated before I answered. “No, we’re friends.”
I hated saying that, because I felt like we were friends, but as time went on, I was having feelings for this guy and I could not say if he felt the same way. I think it was more confusing than anything for both of us at this time.
His birthday was a simple, quiet, gathering at home with his family and a few friends. I got him a couple of guitar picks and made him a card as a gift. Jake loved board games or any kind of games for that matter, we played In a Pickle, Boggle, and Uno. It was a lot of fun since two of the games I didn’t know how to play. After food and games we went to sit in his backyard, where he started a fire and we made Smores. I interacted with his friends who seemed like very nice people, and they were also people from his church, so it was nice to feel like Jake had a good set of friends, which I kind of me feel like I could trust him more.
During December, we visited the lights on Sapphire Street a lot. The first time we went, we parked somewhere far from the lights and then walked the dark streets until we finally saw the lights up ahead. We saw so many colors and Santa and Disney themes. I saw one house that had a row of Nutcrackers. Being that I’ve grown up with them I’ve always found a liking to them. Distracted by the nutcrackers I jumped when Jake had suddenly grabbed my hand. He has never done this before; not within the month that we’ve been dating.
Despite the surprise I smiled and said, “I’ve been waiting for you to do that.”
Eventually we ended up talking about music and I told him a song that I thought represented both of us quite well. It was the song by Lady Antebellum, ‘Just a Kiss’.
He asked me, “I don’t know that song, sing a few bars for me?”
“I can’t sing,” I warned him.
“Okay well, speak them then.”
I grew nervous and almost forgot the words, I took a deep breath and started to whisper and my voice grew louder as I spoke the words, “Just a kiss on your lips in the moonlight, just a touch and the fire burning so bright, oh I don’t to mess this thing up, I don’t want to move to far, just a shot in the dark that you just might, be the one I’ve been waiting for my whole life, so baby I’m alright with just a kiss good night.”
Once I was done, I looked shyly down at the ground and couldn’t help but smile now that I had sung that song.
“Well,” he said suddenly, “there’s no moonlight, but…”
I looked up at him, the sky was black behind him with very little stars and dark clouds blended in from the last rain spell we had. Next thing I knew he was leaning into me, catching on to late I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to kiss and yet here I was thinking that a kiss is a natural thing it will come to you when it comes to you. So I puckered up my lips, and they connected into kind of a kiss. I think the nerves both caught up to us and the kiss became kind of weird and sloppy, but it was then that I realized that he did have the same feelings as me. Although we didn’t seem like the complete couple just yet, we finally made some sort of connection that I’ve been waiting patiently for. After that night, we finally started walking hand in hand, and we kissed on cheeks and sometimes on the lips. It finally felt like we were becoming a real couple.
When December came, we had been dating for a month. One day we were coming back from a date and talking about how it feels to be in love. Jake and I had never really been in love before. Jake felt that love is something that you feel unconditionally for someone no matter who they are. As for me, love is based on intuition. The next day, Jake came by unexpectedly and he stood on the front porch with an artificial rose in his hand. I remember him saying that I make him really happy and that I was really sweet and kind, I don’t think I could remember anything else he had said because right after that he said, “I love you.” Shocked as I was, I placed my arms around him and he kissed me lightly on the top of my head. I was shaking inside and my mouth suddenly felt dry. I knew that I had feelings for him but I didn’t know for sure if I did love him back. All I knew was I felt like I had to react quickly and I had this fear of losing him if I didn’t say something back to him. Next thing I knew I heard myself say, “I love you, too.” I’m not really sure if I really did feel that way but I knew I did care about him and to me care was a form of love.
Christmas finally came. I spent Christmas Eve with him and his family, which was eating Chinese food and watching the Muppet’s Carol, an all-time favorite Christmas tale of theirs. Jake spent Christmas day with me and my family. We exchanged our gifts, had our early Christmas dinner and he spent the day with us. Our gifts were simple yet sweet. Since Jake knew how much that I love to write, he had given me a fountain pen, with an epic Christmas card. It was a Snoopy 3D card. One side was for Christmas, the next page was for New Year’s Eve, and the last page was to get ahead on Valentine’s Day. I wanted to show Jake the sentimental side of me so I made him an ornament. In the clear plastic ball was snow and holly leaves with a tiny little present in the middle and hanging above it was a music note, to symbolize how much he likes music. My parents got us a gift card to the movie theater and Lucille’s Restaurant for our next and future movie dates.
A week later was New Year’s Eve and Jake had come over. The first thing I noticed when he walked through the door, he was becoming distant. My sister, Kelly who was playing her Justin Bieber music which no one, including me, liked. I pulled Jake gently by the hand into the kitchen where I was making all of our delicious New Year’s food. He followed me in but he pulled his hand away.
I looked at him with concern.
“You okay?” I asked.
He just nodded his head and didn’t talk much. I didn’t want to push him to talk, so I continued on with making the food. He socialized with our neighbors across the way but I knew something was up. When it came to midnight we watch the New York ball fly down and we gently kissed on the midnight hour but it wasn’t the kiss that I have imagined between us. Basically I thought since we were getting stronger and closer that we would have more of a romantic kiss but in the end we barely kissed each other on the cheek.
During our winter break we started to drift apart. He usually texted me at some point during the day every day, whether it was in the morning, after noon, or at night. I hadn’t heard from him for least a week or so. And we would usually talked most of the day but we hadn’t been doing that for a few weeks now. One day Jake asked me if we could see each other. I went by his house after my classes were over and we took a walk to the park. He told me that we should just be friends. Even though I wasn’t surprised it still hurt inside, like for once I had someone to love me back but in the end he fell out of love with me and so quickly. I knew we were growing distant and I agreed with him and tried to move on.
What really confused me is towards the end of January he came back and he told me that he still had feelings for me. He explained to me that some of his depression was blocking him from seeing what he really had in front of him. I didn’t know what to think, I was just finally getting over him and then suddenly he brings me back in like a rat trap.
I asked him, “How do I know that your depression isn’t going to interfere again?”
I’ve experience depression before I know it’s not a great feeling and sometimes it takes days until you feel like your normal self again and in the end it blocks all senses including feeling. That’s when I realized that with Jake being naturally quiet, he has also had depression spells around me. He said he wasn’t really sure; his depression was as unpredictable as my vertigo spells. The difference was vertigo didn’t block the way I felt and with Jake feeling the way he did, it made it hard for both of us because he couldn’t say the things that he really wanted to say to me. He’s told me things like, “I think you’re beautiful,” and “I think you’re smart,” but it felt like he had to say those things. Nothing was ever natural to him.
I remember not saying much but I also remember saying, “Right now is not the time to get back together. We should stay friends.”
As friends, we did still hang out together and our biggest thing was ice skating. I suggested it one night when we were at the movie theater at Victoria Gardens and there was nothing willing to go see. We went to the ice skating rink in Ontario and I kind of wished I hadn’t suggested it. For starters, I did not know how to skate very well and although Jake did stay with me most of the time he was very talented in skating, like he’s been doing it for most of his life, which made me feel kind of out of the box and in a bad way.
He told me, “If you take my hand, I can help you balance.”
I resisted, I felt holding the wall would be better than taking his hand because I knew that I took his hand feelings would come rushing back to me. With my history of crushes, I’ve always gone back and forth to them and Jake was the one guy that I did not want to do that with. Finally I eventually gave up and I took his hand, sure enough those feelings that I’ve buried in the back mind came back. About a week later we ended up skating at the ice rink in Pasadena, which surprised me because according to Jake, a twenty minute drive in the car is long enough.
On the way there I told Jake how I felt about him and he said, as simply as possible, “Thank you for telling me that.” Since I knew that he felt the same way about me he didn’t really have much of a reaction to that.
Through the entire drive there and the entire drive back we were confused of where we wanted to be in our relationship. The next day he came by my house unexpectedly again but with beautiful purple flowers in his hand that he said he had picked from his backyard. It was a sweet gesture and I suddenly felt good inside again the way I felt when we were together. He leaned in to kiss me…still kind of awkward since we were kissing on top of what led to a hill and Jake lost his balance a little but my heart skipped a beat, something that I have never felt before when we kissed and I finally considered that had to be our first kiss, and it was then we decided to get back together again.
During that time, I got mad at Jake for the first time. There was one night he came over when my parents still assumed that we were just friends. I hadn’t told them that I wanted to be back with him yet; I guess I was just waiting for the right moment to tell them and Jake had gotten ahead of me. He had asked for my parents numbers, and I figured it was just in case something happened while we were hanging out he would be able to call them for emergencies. Come to find out he was texting them while I was in the room and talking about us getting back together. My parents weren’t exactly thrilled that we were back together but once my parents had accepted the fact that we were back together, I talked to Jake at his house and I told him that I didn’t care if he talked to my parents but if it’s something about us I would like him to let me know. We should figure out our problems before we go announcing them to our families. My parents said something before Jake did and I was mad at them because they had all kept this issue hidden from me for a while. In the end all was forgiven and Jake understood.
One day, Jake wanted to meet me at school and I was on my break so I waited for him at the cafeteria. Sitting there as we tried we couldn’t pick up a conversation and that was when he had asked me if I would like to go to the Claremont Gardens with him. I still had another two hours before my next class so I said, “sure.”
We took his car and I texted my parents to let them know where I would be and they did not like that. They weren’t angry with me but they were bothered that I did not ask and that I left the car at the school. Even though it was locked and I was with Jake, not like I wasn’t with someone I didn’t know. We went to the Claremont Gardens anyway and it was beautiful and romantic seeing the nature that actually grew in California and walking hand in hand like couples should. We finally sat at a nearby bench, with his arm wrapped around me and I laid my head on his shoulder.
He asked me, “How happy are you right now?”
Thinking of what my parents had said I was a little worried so that made my happy meter go down slightly, “I’m at about a nine right now, what about you?” I said.
He nodded, “I’m right at a ten.”
I smiled knowing that I could make him happy made me happy too and we just sat there in quietness. For once this quietness was good, we got to hear everything and anything around us, the water falling into the pond, the bees buzzing and the birds singing, it was all so surreal, almost like being in a dream.
February started out romantic and ended terribly. I had noticed certain things that Jake had done and so had my family. My mom was worried that since we didn’t spend a whole lot time together during winter break due to Jake’s depression that I would be more of a school girlfriend rather than a daily girlfriend. It wasn’t just mom either, my dad didn’t like the idea that Jake just swooped me up from school during my break and took me to the Claremont Gardens…frankly both of my parents didn’t like that. Kelly, however, a smart twelve year old was wondering if I still loved him the way I say I did. She said sometimes when Jake left the house I look almost relieved. She was thrilled that I had a boyfriend but she also got kind of annoyed about some of the things that Jake did. Like when he came over and he just helped himself to a glass of water like he owned the place or when he did come over unexpectedly. I was a little defensive about it but I was listening and most likely thinking what if they were right? I thought about it and when it came to our anniversary and Valentine’s Day I practically didn’t know what to think.
My mom convinced me that I needed some time away, so on the day that we were supposed to go out for Valentine’s Day, my mom, my cousin and I went to Disneyland for the day. I felt bad for telling him that we would need to postpone our date and a part of me was looking forward to it but a part of me needed to somehow separate my family’s feelings and my feelings and figure out what was right. My family noticed the certain things that he did while he was around and they just didn’t think he was the right one for me. They weren’t alright with us being together and I felt that if I had to prove to them that they’re wrong, it would be just too much work. A relationship is work, but I don’t want one where I have to prove that the relationship will work. I thought long and hard and realized there was just too much pressure being together. The more I thought about it our relationship had just been going on suggestions and thoughts; nothing ever came naturally to us, which is the way I felt a relationship should progress. To make matters worse, I broke up with him in the worst way possible, through text. I felt like I didn’t have time since my mom thought that I needed to get out for a while. We spent some time at our favorite park in Chino Hills and I was texting him back and forth. I felt bad because I knew he didn’t understand it all and I knew I had hurt him.
He said, “Maybe we should just stay friends.”
As much as I wanted that I told him, “I’m so glad that I met you, Jake, but we can’t be friends not when we still have feelings for each other. I’m sorry, but we can’t be around each other anymore.”
I knew he was angry at me and I was devastated but I didn’t know what else to do. He told me that he had sent me a letter explaining how he felt but said that it’s probably not worth reading now since I was breaking things off. After finally getting through his head that we were broken up I was sitting on the park bench crying my eyes out on my mom’s shoulder and when I got home I read his letter and some of the things he said in it was so sweet and caring that I cried more in my room, not only had I gone through my first break up but I think I had lost my first love.
It wasn’t until last spring semester that I saw him. I was sitting in my car listening to my music and Jake had parked in the parking lot across from me. My heart felt like it stopped when I saw him. My brain was telling me don’t go see or talk to him but my heart was suddenly telling me to go after him. I turned off my car, grabbed my stuff and ran after him. I tried to make it look like I had just seen him as I walked by. I began to slow down as I start to realize what I would say to him. Would he even stay to listen to me or would he send me away? Has he even forgiven me yet? Thinking about these things, I lost him by the physics building in a classroom. I realized that this day was April 1st and all I was thinking was if this is some sort of April fool’s joke my mind was playing on me, I was seriously not amused. On Wednesday I saw him again at the same time same place. I got up again playing like I just seen him as I was walking by but I froze up and I could not even call out his name.
That day when I got home I decided, since he’s around that area I would just write him a note and put it on his car. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say to him but I didn’t like the way that we broke up and I felt that was my fault so I thought I should explain a little more. Unfortunately, with thousands of cars in one parking lot looking somewhat the same I didn’t want to put my note on the wrong car, so I waited for him to show up and memorize his car and then wait for him to leave and put the note on his car.
After those two times I haven’t seen Jake since and it drove me nuts. I was constantly thinking about him and all I could think about was that I needed to talk to him. I thought about our rocky relationship and realized that through all the hard times, he was the only guy who has told me that he loved me and in my worst state possible he told me that he thought I was beautiful. I had made a big deal of working on our relationship but I never gave it the chance to work itself out. Looking back we never did make my fantasies come true. We never had dinner on top of a restaurant and our kisses weren’t always spontaneous. Maybe my fantasies won’t ever come true and all I can hope for is that the romance is spontaneous and different. I do realize that relationships are going to have issues, the question is do you work with it or let it go? Coming to an end, I think that I might have made a mistake breaking up with him and I vowed to myself that the next time I saw Jake I would talk to him. About our relationship, how much he really meant to me and how I was a fool to let him completely go.
Two years have passed on now and although Jake comes into my mind every now and then I’ve realized that it was a good thing that we did break up. I didn’t like the way I did it and for a while I was blaming myself for the way I did it. I made a mistake and like every mistake I lived and learned. I wished I had a little bit more time to talk to him rather than just dropping the bomb on him. It felt like I was a fool to let him go because I looked over the stuff that he did and thought they were just little stuff, nothing really worth to get upset or irritated over. It really frustrated me because I had so many voices racing in my head between my family, Jake and my own. I was hearing one thing, trying to think logically about another, and then letting my heart guide me but I still ended up at a crossroads. But then once I cleared my mind and thought straight for a moment, I looked at the bigger picture, we were two people with some in common but not enough. It was only every once in a while that we would have a real conversation. Although we claimed that we were both Christian we both still lived in different worlds. As a writer, I go between fantasy and reality every day as for him, I think he was more of the rational person, when I’m only rational when I need to be. Every time I think about him, new things come up in my mind and it’s another reason convincing me that we were just not meant to be. I still care about him though, and he still holds a place in my heart. I haven’t dated anyone since then but I do still stand my ground in saying how much love should be natural and romantic. Chemistry may be involved in attraction somehow but no one is married sixty years just based on attraction but the love that they still have for one another. Love is the most powerful thing that anyone can have and that is given through trust, happiness, and instinct. I know one day I will find my dream guy and with everything that I have learned, my heart will be the judge.