Sunday, August 16, 2009

a birthday wish on the shooting star of my adolescence

It was four years ago, today. August 16, 2005.

I can't remember whether I was already moved in, or whether I was moving in, but my mind leads me to believe that my parents and I were moving my stuff in that day. I was on the campus of the University of Florida, waiting on the slow dormitory elevator with God knows how many other kids, getting dropped off for "the best four years of [my] life."

It's all quite vivid in recall: I remember being on my period, I remember sweating in the Gainesville heat, I remember walking into room 507 for the first time, and seeing my suitemate who was so short and petite, I was afraid I might break her by merely standing too closely to her.

I remember my parents taking me to the store, and I remember buying that T.G. Lee "Blue Drink" (delicious, despite the slight aftertaste), and I remember my parents helping me with everything. I remember my mother making my bed for me and helping me arrange everything in the room. I remember my dad's short temper as he tried to find a parking space in the overly-crowded parking lot.

I remember the way I felt when they pulled away from the curb and left me standing outside the place that would come to represent a type of hell for me: as my sister, father, and mother left, I felt a type of anxiety of excitement. I was officially living by myself, kind of... I had my own address, my own mailbox key... my car was back in Orlando, but that didn't matter as much. I was officially a college student, I was officially legal, and at all of eighteen years old, I was on my own... and in love with a man. A real, six-feet-four-inch tall, gorgeous, man.

It's no coincidence that the day I moved to Gainesville and his birthday were the same day. Four years later, I look back on the day I moved to school with the type of excitement memories can bring about sometimes. There's nothing like your Freshman year of school, and it saddens me that the fantasy before the reality was so damn delicious it was hard to cope after the summer turned to winter. It took almost two years for me to regain the type of anxious excitement I had for Gainesville when I first arrived. That could easily have been all my fault, but I didn't know what to do, or how to do it. So I did my best.

Sometimes, I'm sure people wonder why I still write about things that have passed. The memory of moving to school, I'm sure is understandable, but why would I write about the man I loved, who now doesn't know the woman I've become, and doesn't care to know that woman? I'm sure it could make me seem fixated on the past, or stuck in a dream never to come to fruition.

Well, it wouldn't be the first time someone would accuse me of being so "stuck" in the past. And it won't be the last time someone will accuse me of something so foolish. Not to mention, it was then and will always be another time when someone is wrong.

Four years ago, I loved someone for the first time with my whole entire childish heart. I thought of ways to make him smile, I worried about whether I sounded okay and intelligent during our instant messages, I went to sleep smiling and thinking of him; some nights, I watched the sun rise while listening to his voice in my ear. He left me sweet messages when I had to go to sleep before he was finished with his work, and I created voicemail greetings just for him. For a very short amount of time, I loved someone with my whole heart, while at the same time, they seemed to do the same. I will never, no matter how hard I've tried, or how old I grow, never forget that feeling. It has not been duplicated. It won't be. I don't want it to be.

Four years later, the idealism is gone, as are the people we were then, as I've said many times. I don't go to sleep praying for him to walk through my door anymore, but I still pray for him and I think about him often. I wonder what kind of relationship we could have had, if it had an opportunity to grow. I wonder what type of man he is now, whether he still wears his hair cut short, whether he's a father now, whether he's happy. Gone are the days when I long to know his every move, even when it hurts. Now I simply salute him from afar, wondering if, maybe I'll see him next lifetime...

Four years later, I've loved someone else, and I've liked plenty others, but never will I be able to recapture the innocence of how I tripped and fell into a man so wholly, so unabashedly. For some reason, this year, I've thought of him often, and today, I remember the day when I became an official college student, but more than anything, I remember the fact that it's simply his birthday.

So, why still think of someone like so, you may wonder? Why even remember that it's someone's birthday when they probably won't speak to you again? Why?

Because there's a point in life when you learn the difference between selfishly wanting someone and selflessly loving someone. It's the the difference between adolescence and adulthood; the difference between loyalty and trend; the difference between fireworks and a shooting star.

This is something I didn't know then, and something that I embrace now.

Happy birthday.

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