When I first left for my trip 3 months ago I couldn't stop thinking about TA. We said goodbye before I left and decided to cut things off for good. I knew it was the best thing for both of us.
I wanted to email him many times but discarded the draft each time. What would I have said? We barely had anything more than a physical relationship. Would I tell him stories from my trip? Would I tell him I missed him? I knew I couldn’t do that. I would just be opening a door I just closed.
Last month I was laying on the beach on the Gulf of Thailand, sunbathing. I propped myself up on my elbows and looked around. The island was surrounded by beautiful green mountains. The sand was white, fine, and soft. A breeze blew through every so often, giving me a few seconds of relief from the heat. I was laying there with nothing on but my bathing suit bottoms, tan and glistening with sweat. I smiled to myself and thought, “Fucking hell, I am so damn happy right now.” As I laid there watching sexy, fit, and tan European men walk past me I thought, “I am completely over TA.” I was no longer holding back the desire to email him. I no longer missed him. It was such a Jordan Catalano moment. Remember in My So Called Life when Angela Chase woke up one morning, realized she was completely over Jordan, blasted Blister in the Sun and danced around her room in her underwear? I would have gotten up to dance at that moment except I was topless.
Two weeks after that moment, I got an email from TA. The first line read: Hey! It’s great to hear from you! I thought, “What the…,” scrolled down and saw that he was replying to an email I had sent just a few days ago. I know I wasn’t drunk because the email was perfectly legible and because I knew from the date sent that I didn’t go out that night. Yet still, I had no recollection of ever typing out that email. I must have written it right before I fell asleep (I tend to not remember anything from about 30 minutes before I fall asleep). The message was short and sweet. I was just saying hi. I didn’t say, “I miss you.” Regardless of what kind of shenanigan my subconscious was trying to pull, I don’t miss him.
I met someone on this trip. I’m not saying that it takes a new person to forget the old. But it took spending a little time with this person to realize that I was settling before. I got more from a few days with this person that I did in a year with TA. I had never asked TA for more. He made it clear from the beginning he couldn’t give me more. I didn’t think I wanted it. I thought that if I didn’t want more, then I was content with taking what I got.
I had totally forgotten about this little feeling called Smitten. I had confused butterflies with smitten. I don’t know if there’s a technical difference. I mean, butterflies is technically not an actual emotion. I think you feel butterflies when you like someone, but you feel smitten when they like you back and treat you accordingly. I had forgotten how it felt to smile from ear to ear while looking at someone. I had forgotten how it felt to blush, smile sheepishly, and look away when he caught you grinning like the Cheshire cat at him.
I was selling myself short before. I was settling without the person who takes your hand while you’re crossing the street, the person who picks you up and carries you over puddles. The person who stays up late talking to you and tries to change their flight to spend a few extra hours with you. The person who says, “I don’t care what we do, I just want to spend time with you.”
I had to go into this knowing it could just be a fling. I mean, don’t holiday romances always fade…long before your tan? I told myself it’s ok if that’s just what it is. It helped me realize at least, that I don’t want to settle for less anymore.