July 11, 2011

Non, je ne regrette rien.

Half a lifetime ago, I made a promise to meet someone atop the Eiffel Tower on 7-11-11. We'd pick right where we left off, madly in love again, our swooning romance complete at last, star-crossed lovers reunited after all these years.

Except I got married. And then he got married. And I haven't talked to him since we made that promise almost 15 years ago.

Let me start over.


So, there was this guy, let's call him... Jacob. So Jacob and I had a thing when I was 14. Only problem is, Jacob was a high school senior, pushing 18. Yeah, not so healthy. You could have ripped our relationship right out of Romeo and Juliet, minus the whole double suicide thing at the end. Oh and minus the premarital sex and secret marriage too. Okay, you could have ripped the emotional veracity of our relationship right out of Romeo and Juliet.

Once my parents found out about our torrid 6-month affair, they freaked (and rightfully so, in retrospect). I was forced to break up with him. They cut off my "teen line" phone. I was devastated. I was sure I would never be the same again after this catastrophic ending to our epic love.

After our tearful breakup, Jacob gave me my first mix tape and a locket. (That was the 90s for ya.)

Despite the fact that most of these songs, in fact, suck, to this day I cannot listen to "Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)" by Phil Collins, "Dust in the Wind" by Kansas, or "The Flame" by Cheap Trick.

In the locket was his picture, of course, and on the back the date 7-11-11, a reminder of our promise to each other. Obviously, I'm not posting from Paris right now. The mix tape and locket are gone. I threw them out years ago.

I saw him only a few times after that. Larry and I started dating in high school when we were 15, the summer before sophomore year. The last time I saw Jacob was when I was working a summer job at Old Navy, he stopped in randomly to tell me he was shipping off to Afghanistan. I wished him good luck, godspeed and to return home safe. I went back to folding t-shirts and never heard from him again.


At some point I joined MySpace. Of course, once you join any social media platform, you start snooping and stalking for people from your past. No surprise, Jacob was on there. And amazingly, he had ended up in Australia. There were pictures of him in uniform holding guns almost as big as me. He looked very different from the gawky teenage boy I was madly in love with for such a short time.

Except for his eyes. Stark blue and haunted - they always have that same look to them. I'd check his profile once in a blue moon, always wondering, "Whatever happened to you, Jacob? What has the world shown you in all your travels all these years?"

When I broke up with MySpace for it's hotter friend Facebook, it took me a couple of years before I decided to plug in his name into the search field. Of course it came up. I was surprised at what I saw.

He's married now to a rather beautiful woman. He's doing all sorts of elite culinary things at the bottom of the world. In all his Facebook photos, he looks happy.

I'm happy for him, too. He looks like he's had a rich life so far. Our lives have played out in very opposite directions in a global sense but we've found other people with whom to share our lives. I found my soul mate. And he looks like he's found someone kind and good. I wish him all the best.

And I still wonder sometimes, if in a parallel universe somewhere...

I'm stepping off the elevator on the top tier of the Eiffel Tower right now, my heart beating fast, my breath catching in my throat as I see Jacob for the first time in nearly 15 years. I hear the click of my heels quicken as I walk faster to meet him, clutching my locket tight in my right hand, my left outstretched and reaching for him...

I wonder what would have happened next...


I chuckle at my desk and turn up Edith Piaf on my iPod.

No Edith, je ne regrette rien either.


16 comments:

Kakunaa said...

That was a very Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpe thing for you guys to plan :-) Love it.

Jewels by Trish- Handmade Jewelry- Artisan: Trish said...

I love it!!!

annoyed army wife said...

A mix tape and a locket. Classic. I think we've all looked back and wondered what might have been, then thought better of it! Though, like you, I'm glad (most) of my former beaus are doing well; I'm sincerely happy for them.

Serendipitie said...

What a great story! Lol im glad you both are happy in your respective lives :) and that makes for an amazing story!

Jem said...

Ah, young love. You are convinced you'll never feel like that again. Ever. And thank goodness it's partially true!

Mature love is so different.

I'm glad you have no regrets and a wonderful French song to remember those longing, hormone-driven first love memories.

Rebecca said...

Love this post.

Whitney Anderson said...

This is great! Love the mixtape and locket! =)

mommyodyssey said...

What a beautiful post. I think it's fantastic to look back sometimes and realize that you're happy just where you are. :-)

Dawn Marie said...

so funny, I had one of those if we're not married by the time we're 30 things as well. We both found someone else, and are happy in our current lives. It worked out for the best.
I love Edith Piaf! He voice is so haunting, and the song is perfect. Ah, young love.

MJ said...

AAAHHHHH....The 90s. I am in need of a good mixed tape.

Kristin said...

What an amazing story. Love the mixed tape and locket...you are right, so 90s (and 80s).

jjiraffe said...

I think you have a potential screenplay on your hands...seriously romantic and cool idea.

gailcanoe said...

My best friend and I agreed in college that if we were both alone and childless when we turned 32, that we would have a child together. (He was a guy, just in case you were wondering.) Anyway, I got married right out of college and am still married, but don't have children because of IF. He waited until he was 30 to get married and he and his wife had a baby last year, when we both turned 32. While I'm happy for him, I can't help wishing it were me having a baby instead of turning 33 with still no children.

SassyIfLady said...

Beautiful post. I really enjoyed it. What ifs ring around my head from time to time...it's interesting to pause and reflect on. It's def. the best choose your own adventure...

Heather said...

why does this remind me of sleepless in seattle.. they never meet until the end.. and the whole thing is in their heads...
I also do some wondering. About an ex who said he was going to be a missionary in India. And he was from a big family and wanted lots of kids. I kind of wonder every now and then where he is and if he got his big family.

Lavender Luz said...

Perhaps we all have a similar What If story buried in our diaries.

Brilliantly told. You'll never have Paris, and that's OK!