This post is the first in a brief series called “The Boys Are Back in Town” [TBABIT]. I have been thinking of writing this series for a while, but it wasn’t yet complete. I was waiting for one more person to pop up and, it took a while, but he finally did.
TBABIT is a series that focuses on each of my long-term boyfriends. They are all exes now, but at one time they were a super-significant part of my life. I was just saying to my male BFF that, not to toot my own horn, but every single dude who I’ve dated long-term has f*cked up in some way, which lead to our breakup. And every single one of them – except my high school/early college ex – had come back to me suggesting that he never should’ve let me get away.
But then, yesterday, the final chicken came home to roost and my story was complete. So, again, I don’t want to toot my own horn, but: toot toot, beep beep. What goes around comes around, peoples. Remember that.
#1 – Robert
Robert and I met during my junior year of high school and his senior. I went to his prom with him, he accompanied me to mine the next year. We went on dates. Real dates where he would scoop me in his little white sports car, greet my parents, and pay with his own well-earned money. We had a good relationship. We spent holidays together, mostly with my family (which was a plus). He humored my idiosyncracies, encouraged me, and we trusted each other unconditionally.
We dated through my last two years of high school. When I got to college, we both lived in the same dorm, him on the eighth floor and me on the sixth. He had already been there for a year and I was just beginning. We spent a lot of time together. This was the first time in our relationship that we weren’t under the watchful eyes of our parents and we took full advantage – at first.
In the middle of my first semester of college, Robert decided to get a job. He would go to school and then go to work for three to four hours in the evening. But, it got to the point where he would expect me to be home when he got home from work, and he also expected that I would go to the dining hall and get him dinner so that it would be waiting for him when he got home.
To me, this felt too much like marriage. You go out and work and I am supposed to be sitting, waiting at home with dinner on the table? That will not work for me. And, I was only 19.
There had been a few days that Robert had come home and I wasn’t waiting for him and there was no dinner to be found. He was getting irritated, but I was too busy with my new college friends to notice. One night, I had been out with a few other girls from the sixth floor. When we returned home, there was a big “1” scrawled across the dry-erase board on my dorm room door in red marker. My roommate asked if I knew who had written the number.
I told her I didn’t have a clue.
A few days later, I had gone out to study at the library with one of my classmates and when we got back, there was a big “2” scrawled in red marker across the board on the door. Ok, this was a pattern. I erased the board and headed upstairs to see what was going on with Robert.
“How was your day,” I said, plopping down on his small twin bed. “Hey Kyle,” I said to his roommate, a tall, gangly white guy with a buzzcut who was sitting on the bed across from me. He waved at me and put his headphones on and went back to reading a magazine.
I leaned over to kiss Rob, but he turned his face so that I got a mouthful of cheek.
“Damn, no kiss for me,” I said, laughing.
“You weren’t there again,” he said with a straight face.
“What?” I said.
“You weren’t there again,” he repeated.
“That was the second time.”
Ahhh… it was all starting to make sense now. “Have you been the one writing on my door?” I asked.
“Yup,” he said without hesitation. “That was your second strike. Three strikes and you are out,” he said seriously.
I began laughing uncontrollably. So loud, in fact, that Kyle heard me despite the music blasting in his headphones and looked up from his magazine.
“Negro, you cannot be serious,” I said, sobering up. “Don’t threaten me.”
“I’m not threatening you. I am just letting you know how I feel,” he said.
I stood, looked at him for a moment, and then went back to the sixth floor.
It was pretty much downhill from there.
The girls I was hanging with were boy crazy. They weren’t hos or anything, they just had info on every guy on campus. Plus, I was meeting a new guy every day in some class or at some on-campus event. As I began to assess the situation, I realized that Robert and I had a great high school relationship, but once I was exposed to the different types of guys that were accessible, I was losing interest in him – quickly.
In particular, I had a friend, Kenny from Boston. He and I were tight. We rolled together everywhere. And, though we never crossed the line from friendship to benefits, he opened my eyes to the possibility of a guy who was smart, cool, cute and fun to be around. Robert was a big deal at St. John’s College High School, but once I was exposed to the other guys on campus, I felt like he was small potatoes. And Robert was treating me more like a wife than a girlfriend and I felt as though I was being taken advantage of at the tender age of 19. My reasoning is all effed up, I know that now. But what can I say? I was young, dumb, and hella immature.
Robert and I were approaching our 3-year anniversary and things were very rocky by this point. By the time the actual date rolled around, we still hadn’t decided on any plans. I went looking for him around dinner time, because it was unusual for us not to go out on a dinner date for our anniversary. I found him in the fitness center playing basketball. He acknowledged me… sorta. And I left and went back to the dorm.
Later that night, he came into my room and sat down in the chair.
“It’s our anniversary,” I say.
“I know,” he says.
“You smell,” I say. “Why didn’t you take a shower before you came down here?”
“You never used to think I smelled bad before.”
“Well, things have changed. I don’t think I like you anymore.”
“I don’t like you anymore either,” he blurted.
“Wanna break up?”
“Uh huh,” he said.
He got up, walked out, and we didn’t speak again until six months later. Our 3-year relationship was over - just like that. Miraculously, I never even saw him on campus. Funny enough, this was the easiest, least painful, most sane breakup I have ever had.
After our six month hiatus, we weren’t immediately friends. But, we were always civil to each other. Eventually, our contact become less and less frequent until, finally, there was no contact at all. Not even a birthday call or a Christmas text. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
Up until yesterday, I hadn’t heard form him in three years.
Yesterday, my mom calls me at work and said: “You’ll never guess who called us [she and my dad]!”
“Guess,” she says, excitedly.
“Mom. I am at work. I don’t want to guess. Who?”
“What?!” I nearly drop the phone.
“Yeah, he said that he looked us up on the internet, got our phone number from our website and wants me to pass his number along to you. Now, please call him, because I don’t want him to think that I didn’t give you the message,” said my mother being her ever-so-polite self.
“Ok, will do.”
I stared at the information that my mother had relayed to me, but hesitated to dial the number. What could he possibly want?
When we finally spoke, it was a 2-hour conversation. During the course of our talk, he told me that he never cheated on me (not even once), he told me that the highlight of his dating life was our relationship, he said that I was the only woman he ever completely trusted and hat he knew for a fact that I had never cheated on him either. And, then, he said it. Robert admitted that he had fucked up and wondered aloud where we would be had we stayed together. I didn’t even entertain that last part.
“Your problem was that you had changed,” Robert explained.
“Your problem was that you hadn’t,” I said.
And that was that.
Yet another case of the chickens coming home to roost.
The satisfaction wasn’t as sweet with Robert because our breakup wasn’t bitter, but with him uttering these words, the circle is complete.
“The Boys Are Back in Town” Part II = Jeremy, coming soon. (That one is an interesting story…)