The following story is true and even though I say the ending is sad, it’s not sad, not really – its just life. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. As for the not-so-innocent, I'm pretty sure you can figure out who she is.
In college, boy meets girl. She's everything he's not – free-spirited; laid back; soft; careless. Where he has goals, she has warm fuzzy dreams. She walks around with a Frisbee in one hand and a Jane Austen book in the other and never bothers much with her studies – her laughter echoes all around him as he toils away.
They have late night chats – he's studying and she's writing poetry. He's crazy about her. He's young; eager; excitable; invisible. She only has eyes for the troubled soul from California – a brooding young man oozing angst and music. A guitar player; her first heartbreak.
She's not very nice to the boy. Not because she is a mean girl – she's just annoyingly clueless – airy. Young. She won’t master the art of delicate female sensitivities until many years later when she learns to cry silent tears, rather than let them flow through roaring girlish sobs.
One day, they go ice-skating. He holds her hand and tries to teach her. She's hopeless at it. They laugh and fall. She screams and squeals and grabs on tighter.
That night, he makes his move. Fervent passion kisses. She kisses back. Caught in a moment – and then caught by a friend’s mom. The girl is mortified. She can't believe she encouraged his affection when she did not fully reciprocate his feelings. It confuses her. She’s heartbroken – devoted to the pain of her heartbreak – how dare she cheat on her aching with cuddles and kisses and giggles.
She's not heartless, but she doesn't handle herself with grace and finesse all the time. She stops speaking to him. She focuses on graduating and moving to Oregon. He has one more year of school.
After he graduates, he catches up with her again. He's passing through Astoria, Oregon. She meets him for dinner, casually mentions her boyfriend, gives him a hug and wishes him well.
Nice Guys Finish Last.
Here's where the bittersweet justice comes in.
He looks her up a third time.
They spark conversation. She'll be passing through his town in January. She adjusts her travel plans to visit him.
Sparks fly. Conversation is easy. Everything feels natural. The girl is overcome with how foolish she was to not see him before. He's matured. He’s still kind. He embodies every gentlemanly trait she finds lacking in every other man she's dated.
He doesn't make a move. Doesn't even hint at it.
She wonders: Am I not pretty enough for him anymore? Does he hate me for how I treated him? Did I open up too much, let my crazy flag fly a little too high?
They meet up again on her last night in town. The sexual tension is thicker than frozen butter in the air. Knees touch, ankles – she touches his arm, his shoulder.
Her self-control is maxed out. She leans in for a kiss. He turns his head.
His eyes are closed. He says, "I turned my head because you live in Connecticut and I live in Florida. No way are we going to start a long distance relationship. I don't want you to think that something is going to happen. It's just not."
She kisses him anyway. Again. This time, he kisses back.
Here's the sad ending:
She's back in Connecticut touching her fingers to her lips every once in awhile still thinking back to one of the best kisses of her life – sweet, passionate, hungry, tender.
She feels like something icy and hard melted inside of her – it melted and she feels the space it used to occupy.
And now, he's the one who got away.