"It will all catch up eventually. Well, it caught up, and honestly, the weight of my decisions were impossible to hold." (Anon.)
Relationships: now there’s one thing I can say I’m an expert at. Back then, I couldn’t – not for a long time. You live, and you learn, they say. Back then, I made constant mistakes.
This was the beginning – the very start of every lesson I ever had, and every life experience. Everything I’ve learned about life, and about relationships. And I learned them from the mistakes I made (and still make frequently). And I made a lot of them.
It all started with Eric. Well, mostly it started with my new job.
It was summer – the hottest, stickiest summer I’d ever experienced. I had just finished my first year of university and decided to stay in the city to get a job instead of moving all the way back home. The city was sweltering and crowded, and I oh so loved it. I managed to get a full-time seasonal position at one of the pubs downtown, a job that I knew I could enjoy; also, the tips were a big plus. I’m not trying to be self-absorbed or anything, but I’m a pretty enough girl to get half-decent tips. Back then, I wasn’t so sure of that.
“Kieran’s Bar & Grill” was personally owned by Kieran Hennessy, and he was usually the one who ran the show – especially on busy nights. But he entrusted a few of us to be in charge on a couple of occasions, when he was out with his wife, or needed to go on a small vacation. When I got hired on for the summer, I got off to a shaky start.
Not that I’m usually an awkward person, not back then at least, but I was extremely shy. I couldn’t even approach someone back then without my cheeks blazing up in a fire, and my voice coming out in a small squeak. It didn’t help that I never was the outgoing person, and always had trouble making friends as a child and teenager. I was just too shy for some people’s liking, I guess. Besides, only the girls who are fun and outgoing get the guys. That’s one thing I never had experience with until this job – but that’s something I will tell you about later.
So, my first day (or should I say my first week) was rough. But, everyone who worked there was so nice to me. People talked to me, and helped me out, and I became friends with a lot of the people there fast. They were so accepting of me, it was startling. I had never fit into a group of friends ever before, I think I got caught up in the excitement.
There was this one boy who worked as a bouncer at the pub – Eric. He expressed an interest in me immediately. Actually, all the boys noticed me when I worked, which was new to me completely, but he came on the strongest. He asked me on a date weeks within meeting him. And, of course, I accepted. I was eager to get into the swing of adventure and excitement, and trying new things. Especially boys.
Not saying that I never had boyfriends. But, Eric… there was something completely different about him. My feelings seemed stronger for him than any other boy I’d ever been with.
He was my first love.
Our relationship was everything that first “serious” relationships are. I was swept away with the way he looked at me, the way he touched me – kissed me even. He took my breath away. His muscled arms, strong enough to sweep me off my feet, made me swoon like a teenage girl, and his eyes pierced into my soul whenever he looked at me. The way that tells you – I want you. I love you.
It wasn’t only the physical, either. It was personal on a whole new level. He got me, in a way. He knew how to get me out of my comfort zone. We would talk for hours on end on the phone about anything that came to our mind. We connected so well.
And then the drama started.
It wasn’t enough for me to start to date this guy from work, and have a work relationship (which I hear is a big no-no in the dating handbook), but then I had to hear from most everyone I worked with that I shouldn’t be dating him. They had to get involved.
At first, I thought, no way are they going to tell me what I can and cannot do with my life (or rather, shouldn’t). Not only had I only been working there for a month at this point, but I hardly knew some of them, and I also didn’t know Eric that well. I understood. They didn’t want me to get hurt. They said that he would use me, most likely for physical purposes, and then break my heart.
I knew right away that I could believe a few of them. Alix, for one, had become one of my best friends at work, and I could trust her opinion. But she told me the same thing. So, I decided against anyone’s interference.
I had this motto back then – try everything once. I told myself that first-hand experience is better than second-hand. You know, that I had to experience it to understand it. I still believe to an extent that it’s better to discover what’s good and bad for you along the road instead of being scared to experience it. If you screw up, you’ll learn from it. I told you I made a lot of mistakes, and that motto is probably why I did.
I convinced myself one night in my apartment what I would do. As I sat on my old worn out navy-blue couch with my journal in my lap, holding a hot, steaming cup of green tea, I ran through my options in my head, trying to separate my own logic to those who had given me their advice.
These were the things that ran through my head:
I’m going to just tell myself that this is different, because I believe it is.
We’ve talked about it, and I’ve explained to him what I feel comfortable with and what I don’t think I’d be able to do yet.
I really like him, and I’m not willing to give that up to be safe.
I want to be spontaneous and do things I’ve never done before. I want to do things that might not be good for me but will be right for me to do.
I feel like he’s what I need.
They all sounded like legitimate excuses. He was a nice guy – more than nice. He was charming. He was beautiful. I couldn’t get my mind off of him. I was falling for him fast.
This was only the beginning of my problems.
(Author's Note: This story is generally all true. Names of characters have been changed. All storyline and plot is written by yours truely.)