Sobering Love: Part 1

If we think back to past relationships where you were truly in love with them, does it bring a smile? Mines do. It’s an interesting emotion to have knowing that they ended and we have long since gone our separate ways. You can still think fondly of them. You look at pictures from years ago and remember vividly the day leading up to it.

KMB

She was one year younger than me. We had the same intro to philosophy class and I remember her being particularly intelligent with her responses. Book smart is the best word to describe her. She had curly brown hair with matching eyes. Skin was pale and even a few freckles. It’s a particularly cute combination. Not once did she ever wear even a sliver of makeup. She didn’t have to — a truly naturally beautiful woman.

The semester at PCC where we met, I was in full blown academic probation. 2011 was stressful. Fail another class and I’ll get kicked out. Class was always around 2 PM, but I was always on campus in the morning to study in the library. I always had a tall pike and my MacBook filled with exam notes and lectures from all the previous classes ready for review. This class was immensely hard and I had not the slightest idea how to properly study yet.

The library at PCC was always packed, all the time usually. Getting a booth was hit or miss. I usually wanted a seat next to the window so I can every so often peer out onto Colorado and see everyone walking. It’s mundane, yet calming. On this day, I was not so lucky. I had to get one of those seats with the booths joined in a long row. I always felt it made you and the next person over uncomfortably close to each other. You can hear everything they’re doing. Yuck.

I sit down and I remember she sat to the left of me. I recognized her immediately from class. She had her earphones on and music was in full blast. Too loud actually. She was hunched over the table in boredom. That was the first time I recall seeing her. Fast forward a couple weeks, I go to the library like I normally do. Upon entering, I see her again, this time, walking down the stairs. She had her characteristic tote bag in an otaku design. I think it was from a Japanese band she liked. It wouldn’t be until the next class where I finally spoke to her.

I always was early for class, like, 30 minutes early. Usually, there’s not anyone there yet. Who would be excited to go to philosophy class? Said no one. This day, she was. We awkwardly stood on opposing sides of the hallway. She’s texting on her phone for a good ten minutes before I work up the courage to talk to her.

“Hey, you seem bored. What’s your name?”

Smooth? Not really. Effective? You bet it was. Normally, a person’s name is not very interesting or unique right when you first hear it, but her’s was. It’s Kyle. Not Kylie. Kyle. She probably gets asked this ad nauseam, but her response was, “it just is”. We chat some more and I even decide to sit next to her in class. Call me the luckiest guy ever, but I ran into her the following week and on a day where I didn’t have philosophy class. We stopped immediately and I asked her what she’s up to. We talk and eventually sit on a bench since standing can get awkward really fast. I think it was around this time I got her phone number and also AIM. You know. AOL instant messenger. Old school shit.

We start texting. I find out she lives in South Pasadena, the city over from mine. She’s originally from Shadow Hills, CA and grew up on a ranch with horses. She lived in Beverly Hills before settling in South Pas. She was always artistic even as a child. Her art was incredible and still some of the best I’ve seen. Her dad, Kurt, was a lawyer, but was struggling financially from what I recall. Her mom, Janet, had lupus and she got regularly checked for it just incase she developed it too. Her younger sister, Eryn, wanted to be an actress.

Our first official date was after finals. We “hungout” a few times before then, usually around campus or the nearby Starbucks on the corner. The day of my last final, she was already done with all of her classes, including the class we shared. She waited alone in the hallway for me for a couple hours until I was done. To this day, it’s still one of the kindest and sweetest gestures from a female I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing. The days leading up to it, she was excited to wear this black dress she got from the thrift store. I loved it and my god was she a stunner. Classy yet beautiful. Sweet yet alluring. A tall glass of water. It was a summer time romance with someone having beauty and intelligence to match.

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I went over to her place plenty, usually taking the bus to get there. The summer was hot, but knowing she was waiting made it a breeze. Her mom was kind enough to give me a ride home every night. Every good bye, she had her hands and face pressed against the car window like a child who couldn’t let go. It was so adorable. She did not want me to leave. We were in love.

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But behind the dates and get togethers, I knew she was unhappy. Depression was a common topic and her sister was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She probably had it too, but never did anything about it. Her thoughts and words can get dark fast and for no explicable reason. I sometimes caught a look without her mask on. The sadness lurking inside just peeking out. It pains me to think it was a possibility. 2011 was the early testing phase for me. I didn’t have my shit together just yet and coupled with her fears about the future, she broke up with me. The pain is long gone, but the thought remains. We shared one last kiss that day. It wouldn’t be the last I ever saw her, but I think so fondly of her even now.

I often wonder if she’s still in the area. What became of her hopes and dreams. If she ever found what she was looking for. I like to think if we ever ran into each other, we would reconnect again. She would be just a little impressed at the current me. The “new Danny” if you will.

Lessons Learned

  • don’t get into relationship too fast
  • love slowly
  • be mindful of what she tells you
  • warning signs are everywhere; don’t be a fool
  • get your shit together first
  • you’re not the solution; she has to find it herself

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