Letting Go Can Sometimes Take a Decade or More
I met Hannah when I was 14. We were drunk at a friends house and ran out into an adjacent corn field and shared our first kiss under a full moon that blanketed the summer night in a pale glow. We were instantly in love, or at least I was. We spent the rest of the night making out- in the closet, on my friends bed grinding with our shirts off while my friend watched form the other side of the room. It was not the most romantic evening, but it lasted with me the rest of my teenage years.
It wasn’t until I was 18 that I would see her again. The friend that had introduced us brought her up to me one night. He was ignorant to the fact that I had tried to reconnect with her dozens of times over the years, sending her AOL instant messages to no response and trying to find any mutual friends that could convince her to respond. She was a dream to me, but she went to another school and I had lost hope of ever seeing her again. She had stopped corresponding with the friend that introduced us, so I was overjoyed when he brought her up again, except… it was just to tell me that she was a total slut. I was at once excited and distraught. I said “You just wait and see, I”m going to make her mine!”
He had also told me that she was an artist now and that was my angle. I looked up her AOL instant messenger name again and struck up a conversation with her., letting her know that I had just completed my first semester at an art school in Georgia. She was enthralled and a few days later I was at her door despite the fact she had a cold. We instantly bonded. She neglected to tell me she had a boyfriend, not that it would have stopped my eager attempts to get to know her. We spent the night talking, realizing how much we had in common. She showed me her artwork. It was impressive, almost as impressive as the way she talked. She had a magic to her, like some kind of angel I had seen in a vision.
Things progressed fast. A few nights later I almost fell to my death climbing into her second story window. We made love and she snuck me out of the house in the morning. A week later she asked me to promise to marry her. I did. A month later we had a mushroom fueled “marriage” at a New Years Eve party, overseen by a Catholic school girl. We consummated the bizarre ceremony by making love in a spare bedroom without a door. People from the party passed by and watched. I wrapped her in an American flag that had been pinned to the wall and we spent the night in a bliss I have known only a handful of times in my life.
I went back to school in Georgia, 15 hours south. We talked every night. We made plans to reveal our marriage to our families, although it never happened. We were devout in our personal faiths, a kind of neo-shamanism mixed with non denominational evangelical Christianity. It was a weird time.
It was made all the weirder by the fact that I was facing seven years in jail for multiple felonies I had charged against me from a party I had thrown after my senior year of high school. She was still in school and becoming more and more alienated from her social sphere. I was OK with the charges, as I was sure I would be let off with a couple years probation, well, that was what my lawyer told me. Things were going just fine until I got in trouble with the law and kicked out of school. I was sure that I would go to jail. I went home and fell into a deep depression that left me without a voice. I couldn’t speak. I was sure that my life was over, that I was going to jail, and my new wife would leave me. I stopped returning her phone calls. The last call she made to me was from her senior cruise, and she suggested we start seeing other people.
The next time I saw her was a few years later when I had followed her footsteps to an art school in Baltimore. I remember seeing her walk towards me in the hall. She glanced at me and it looked like she was looking at a ghost. So much of my life was wrapped up in trying to reconnect with her. I was seeing a woman named Laurel, but was never in love like I had been with Hannah. Not only did I follow her to a school that was far too expensive… after one lunch with her and learning that she was pursuing videography, I decided to do so as well. We ended up in a few of the same courses. She had guys falling all about her, and the night I went to her house to profess my love, she told me she was leaving school to go to the school I had been kicked out of in Georgia. She had just broken up with her nearly boyfriend and her neighbor told me it was a really bad time to try and start something. There was one night she spent at my house in a spare bedroom after we had all gone out dancing. I had to resist the urge to tell her then, which would have been very difficult to explain to my live in girlfriend. She moved and I tried to move on and make the best of my existing relationship.
It was ten years before I began to get over her. I had a ruptured appendix and was on heavy pain killers. I called her out of the blue and we talked for hours. Many things had changed. I was living in Colorado by now and she had moved to Georgia. She had a daughter by now from a guy that was out of the picture and she had just started a new, seedy job to pay the bills. She was writing a book about it and asked if I could keep a secret. It was more than I could handle. Eventually I tried in vain to profess my love for her again. She didn’t respond. She asked me to delete all messages and email, all drafts of her book, and told me it was best if we didn’t speak anymore. I did so, and it is probably for the best. It wasn’t until a few years later that I was able to put all these things in perspective and let go of her. Sometimes the best was to love someone is to let them go.
Last I knew, she married a lawyer near Atlanta and got a decent job and has been raising her daughter with him. I try not to think about her anymore.