Let me get personal for a sec…

We’ve all had that “perfect” love that came into our lives, swept through our emotions, and then slipped through our fingers like quicksand. Sometimes we’re just not ready to receive our perceived soul-mate and often times they’re not ready for us. Here’s my one regret in the love department, it’s a lesson I’ll never forget and one that every once and a while still twinges at my sanity.

His name was Melik and I met him when I was 16 years old. Now I know what you’re thinking already- puppy love. But I wouldn’t bend your ear for a story about an innocent “teenage love affair,” it’s a bit more complex than that. So before you all shy away from this developing story, pop some Orville Redenbacher and tune in for the rest of this loveless tale.

Like some of you, I was young and immature and my thoughts weren’t affixed on a desire to have a boyfriend. Love wasn’t even in the mental forecast for me. My mind was in the clouds and was not hardly waiting on a daybreak or a handsome sunrise to bring me out of my glorious skyline. I guess in a way I was a late bloomer in the Love Department. Most of my friends had already had their hearts broken, and as quiet as kept had already ditched their virtue. I was still dodging the heat for a cold winter afternoon.

I was dreamer and a bit naive. My ideal “Mr. Right” was predetermined by my fascination with the most popular male celebrities who dominated the big screen at that time. Yes, it truly was ridiculous logic and any boy I dared to choose, had big shoes to fill and even higher expectations to follow.

Melik was the complete opposite of everything my ideal “Mr. Right” was, so when he approached me with open arms in the hopes of shooting my heart with cupid’s arrow, I bent his bow with my actions and offered him a consolation prize instead; friendship.

We got along great junior and senior year of High School, but our friendship was noticeably off balance and leaned heavily in one direction. Melik worshipped the ground I walked on, and I say these words coming from the mindset of a naïve 16 year old. He would buy me flowers, write me poems- truly go the extra distance. And every time we sat up late chatting on the phone about the ins and outs of a teenager, when I’d pretend to fall asleep during our lengthy conversations, he’d always whisper into the receiver, “I love you, Alaina. I wish you loved me too.” Of course he said all this without the knowledge that his words never fell on deaf ears. I was always listening, smiling, caring but never interested in taking it there. He just wasn’t my “type.”

After High- School and when Melik finally grew tired of chasing the wind, we fell out of touch and our friendship eventually dissipated. It would be 4 years before I saw him again. It would 4 long years before I realized my mistake.

I remember the day exactly because my car was parked in front of my University and I was loading my trunk with heavy film equipment and was dreaming of a helping hand. I had matured in my thinking and at this moment in my life I wasn’t living in the movies like in my teenage years, I turned that fascination into making my own movies by pursuing a degree in Film/Video.

As I was seconds away from dropping the lighting equipment, a hand reached from behind me and assisted the heavy suitcase back into my hand. Before I could turn around and thank the stranger, I heard a simple, “You’re still as weak as you were in High-School, I bet you can’t even lift a pen.” Even through the added base I knew who it was. Melik.

I turned around to greet him, but the him who I saw wasn’t the boy I’d left behind. Yes, somewhat like the movies and the age old tale of “meeting in the middle,” a few years had done justice to an awkward teen, because standing before me was an exceptionally handsome man.

We exchanged information, and quickly reacquainted, but as goes the promise of karma, after several months of harmony, my unimaginable fate became noticeably clearer.

As fine as he was, he was still single, no children, had a beautiful apartment, a great job, was educated, and just as respectful and kind as he was when we were young. I was hoping that he still had a love thang for me, and was ready to magnify those desires. After countless months of hanging out, I had now found myself ready to accept his old advances. But I was too late. Four years apart had somehow extinguished his will to chase me and now the tables had regretfully turned and I was stuck in Monday waiting for a midweek exchange.

At 22, it was now I that yearned for him and it was he that wasn’t interested in meeting my desires at the front door. After years of chasing me with an empty handed end result, he had moved on and the love had moved out, and no matter how hard I tried, it wasn’t coming back into the picture.

Just like him, I was unsatisfied chasing an illusion, and after a while, quite like before, our friendship collapsed due to it’s lopsided foundation. As I did to him, he had now broke my heart too.

I could go on for days talking about that 1 regret, and for a while I considered him my unrequited love that got away. Years went by, and I privately blamed him for all my failed relationships. I cited the idea that if he had stepped up to the plate and acted on “what was supposed to be,” I wouldn’t have suffered a few of my heartbreaks and an endless amount of wasted energy.

A tiny fragment of anger and bitterness followed me quietly up until 3 and a half years ago. I used to rack my brain about the shoulda coulda wouldas of my runaway boyfriend, but it wasn’t until I absorbed the truth that I realized the beautiful conclusion.

I wished I had more time to elaborate on my journey through relationships, but I know none of us have a week to read through it or the patience to really care, so I’ll be quick in my conclusion. My point is, after each failed relationship, and I’m including Melik in this statement, I always sat back and wondered that if I had done something different, or made a better decision in my actions would I still be inside one of their hearts to this day. The answer is no.

Our entire lives are laid out for us long before we even consider waking up to the truth. At some point in time, each man I’ve approached the possibility with, has been an accepted truth but only for a temporary hour. The one true love that I should have never let go of, that got away in a sense, was the love that I had for myself that didn’t care if the Melik’s of the world opted for a backseat to my heart. The reality is, my Mr. Right is out there somewhere even if I’ve yet to meet him or cross his path.

So nowadays when I’m thinking about the “one that got away,” I apply that title to myself and my former train of thinking. Then I was lost to regrets and ridiculous ideas and swept away by passing sunsets. Nowadays I’m alive with hope and dedication and respect the promise of anew.

Clutchettes and Gents, do you have a story about “The One that Got Away?” What lesson did you learn in the end?

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