Dear M

Dear Mike,

Thank you for being my first boyfriend, and helping me get past that first hurdle of adolescence. I had resigned myself to recognizing that the guys in my class just did not find me attractive, mainly due to my tall stature, and the fact that my head stood well above most of theirs. I was awkward with my height, everywhere outside of a volleyball court, but you made me feel more comfortable in my own skin, because I was able to recognize that I was the only one who saw my height as a disadvantage in the dating world. I was so incredibly self-conscious, and had not yet learned to love myself fully and confidently. So thank you for taking a chance on me and helping me shed the Ugly Duckling complex that I had created for myself, by showing me that boys were interested in me, if I would just be brave enough to make eye contact with them. To this day, I am still confused as to why you pursued me at the young, awkward age of 16 – we didn’t have much in common, but then again, what 16-year-old couple really does? Our relationship was shallow, based on the alignment of two of the most popular sports teams on campus, volleyball and water polo. In the social hierarchy of our cliche high school, this alignment made sense and was supported by both teams, as it opened up avenues for hookups for various other team members of the whoring nature, and as our season overlapped, neither of us felt an obligation to attend the other’s games. Looking back now, our relationship was purely for show and adolescent exploration – you were my first kiss, but I was your first trophy girlfriend. We walked each other to class and kissed each other farewell, as if one hour was too long of a time to go without seeing the other’s face. We held hands in the quad, with no conversation exchanged, as if we were just standing around guarding our territory. Although you had previously had a girlfriend, who at the time made it her personal mission to fuck with my head until I walked away from you, we both knew that high school was easier with a significant other – dances were less awkward, lunch was less tedious, and parties were less embarrassing. We got together for the social and physical benefits, and because it was time to pop my dating cherry. I just wish that you had meant more to me, because you were the only boyfriend who got to meet my father.

This reminds me of the time you came over my house for dinner, with my father and my older brother. You looked like you had walked into a lion’s den, which you might as well have. Although Dad and Brother are extremely laid back and accepting, you were my first boyfriend and they would not take that lightly. You were analyzed with an eye of scrutiny that night, but count yourself lucky for having met my father instead my mother – I do. Although this is not your fault, I am saddened that you were the only ‘man’ in my life who met the one man who meant the world to me. He played nice enough, and did not grill you with uncomfortable lines of questioning, but I was not proud of the connection we had. Our relationship was purely shallow, and my father could see that. Maybe that’s why he was indifferent to you and didn’t make an effort. Or maybe he saw that hint of weird that has strongly developed in you over the years after high school. I knew I could do better, but you were some place to start.

Sincerely,

Her

P.S. I hope that you are not hurt by these words and honest thoughts. You have to admit that you are odd now, and have lost a number of your best friends due to the distance you put between you and them. As a bright-eyed 16-year-old I thought you looked like you had potential. You were creative, sensitive, and had good taste in music. You had a broken household, but a strong appreciation for your mother and all she did for you to live a comfortable life. But, I always felt like there was a part of you that you hid from all of us, and to this day I am not sure what it is. Maybe that’s why I am disappointed that you had the honor of meeting the most important man in my life, because I did not truly know who I was introducing in the first place.

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