The Ones that Got Away

There are boys in my story that will never have the status in my mind that The Exes do, mostly because we were never really a thing in the first place. That doesn’t mean I don’t remember them, though.

There was Don, of course. Don and I were best friends in middle school. He’d just moved back to the States from Africa, and he sort of attached to me when he came back, because I’d written him letters while he was there. We were both, of course, incurably nerdy, so we were a good pair. We rode our bikes everywhere together, spent most summer days hanging out. He would come over to my house, climb our avocado tree, and pick avocados to toss down to me. Then we’d put them in his backpack and ride to his house so his mom could make us guacamole. It was all very My Girl, except without the bees and funeral parlors.

In my mind, we were really too young for a boy/girl thing. Plus, everyone always thought he was my little brother because I was a towering hulk and he was a tiny little white-blondie.

My family moved across the country after middle school, and I never saw Don again. But who knows what would have happened if I’d stayed?

There was George. I met him in college between boyfriends. We went to church together once. I wasn’t particularly into church at that point, but I went because another friend asked me. This other friend, Mike, (who I think was vying for the position of Boyfriend at the time) wanted me to come to his church, and he set up a carpool for me with this guy who lived in the dorm across from mine.

George was really nice, and liked to read, and was addicted to coffee, and was impossibly adorable. But I stuck my foot in my mouth multiple times. I said something insulting about 5th-year seniors and then he told me it was his 5th year. Oops. I was also a little mean to Mike because he kept inserting himself next to me at all points during the day, like an ankle-biting yappy dog. In hindsight, it was not the best strategy to be mean to the guy who was also friends with George, despite his yappy ankle-biting tendencies.

After we had lunch with Mike and some other friends, George dropped me off at my dorm. It was freezing and starting to snow, but I remember feeling warm and happy, thinking George and I might have something.

But, George never talked to me again, and I never made the effort either. After my three-year relationship with Luke, I was pretty confident about my charming-ness, but I realized with George that maybe I wasn’t as sweet and lovable as Luke thought I was. When I started replaying the day and realized what an ass I’d been, I was pretty embarrassed. So the George that could have been never was.

So here’s my tip on impressing guys you might want to have a thing with: Don’t be an ass.

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