Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.
I broke up with a girlfriend of two and a half years. We both thought we were going to get married. We fell in love in Paris. We did distance and remained committed despite an 80 day separation and spending our senior year on opposite sides of the country. We broke up. And I don’t regret a single second of our relationship.
Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. What you feel is right. You have to trust the feeling in your chest, the one that seems to be right about everything if only you listen hard enough. I listened for a long time and the break-up was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. But my heart still tells me it was right.
In February of 2010, in Paris, I met a girl who changed my life. She was the coolest and most attractive person I had ever talked to and we couldn’t seem to stop hanging out. I was enthralled by her passion for Family Guy, love of psychology, and passion for life. About six weeks later we started dating.
Our first date was epic. The morning of, I went to find a location in the city and ended up at avenue de St. Germain des Pres, the center of the existentialist movement in Paris. I found a quaint restaurant called Aux Fins Gourmets and asked for a reservation from an unusually nice French man. I then when to the wine boutique down the street from my apartment and bought a bottle of wine from Bordeaux.
I will always remember what she was wearing that night. We took a train to the first arrondissement to walk along the Seine. On one end of the river, we could see the Notre Dame and on the other, the Eiffel tower. We held hands and fooled around the entire walk to the restaurant; when we arrived the atmosphere was cozy and compact. There may have been 10 couples there total, with a few having brought a child. They were obviously high-class as well and one server worked the whole room. We uncorked the wine and ate shallots, escargot, steak, and salmon while laughing at each other’s jokes and stories and enjoyed ourselves for multiple hours, until we were a bit drunk.
I also won’t ever forget the ride back, how comfortable she was laying her head on my shoulder, how the air seemed to soften when she sighed. The world melted that night and I won’t ever forget it.
Two years later we were living together in Boston, reality had set in and I was beginning to find that I was unhappy. Over the next year the depression grew until it was unbearable. I wasn’t ready for the assumed finality of the relationship, I needed more adventure in my life (this had nothing to do with women, I simply needed to continue exploring the world). We broke up in December and I moved out on the first of the year. I never looked back, but I will always miss the companionship and friendship that we cultivated. The memories that we created will always be an intrinsic part of me and I will never regret a single second of the time we spent together.
I have moved on, but haven’t found love again. Maybe someday I will, but I am decidedly unattached to it. Life will bring what I need to grow and learn.
I honor that, without regrets.