The Love-That-Got-Away: Mr. Fire

I’ve been trying to figure out all day how to begin this post and each and every single time I sit down to start it – I find myself lost for words. As someone who was born with a pen in her hand, this is out of the ordinary.

But then again, if I really think about my relationship with Mr. Fire – being speechless seems pretty fitting.

We all have that guy in our lives. The one we meet in some peculiar way and instantly, our whole world comes crashing down around us. Each barrier we set up to keep our hearts and bodies safe is utterly destroyed, and suddenly, we’re standing there exposed and vulnerable to any and every charm this man throws our way.

Mr. Fire and I met my sophomore year of college through the student newspaper, where at the time; I was serving as Lifestyles Editor. For whatever reason, I was on a local history feature kick and was intrigued by a bagel shop that had been in my college’s town for decades. After doing the central interview, I needed an extra angle from a current student who worked part-time at the shop. The place suggested a guy whose name I couldn’t spell to save my life, but somehow finagled my way to his Facebook – and three messages later, we had an interview set up.

He snuck up on me (much like the relationship that followed) by coming in the backdoor of our office and when I saw my friend M’s eyes light up, I knew he must be somewhat attractive. I spun around in my chair, tilted my head to the side, smiled, and said, “You must be Mr. Fire.” He nodded, went into a long speech (as he usually does) – and within a few seconds, I was hooked.

He was tall. He was funny. He had character. He was active and fit. He had a large group of friends. He was open. He made me feel comfortable. He listened. He challenged me. And about a week later, I found out he was a great kisser too. Our first official date was to a concert I had press passes for and he served as my “photographer” for the evening. As we attempted to dance to the music and he wrapped his arms around me, a little glimmer of hope inside of me said, “Maybe this will actually turn into something real.”

Our courtship or relationship or whatever you call it (we never defined it) didn’t last very long, but the impact it had on me was significant. The chemistry we had was so bursting with passion, with energy, with this complete connectivity that I couldn’t deny. He finished my sentences and widened my viewpoints. He had so many of the amazing qualities that I always desired in someone. And of course, when he kissed me – the world, literally stopped. It truly enforced that some people are meant to come into your lives, regardless of how long they stay, and change you.

During the time we were together, a lot of huge things starting happening in my life, for the better and for the worse. I went to my interviews in New York and he assured me I’d have killer success, and he also managed to keep me on the phone for two hours each night I was there (a huge feat for a New Yorker-wannabe like me). Before the interview for the position I’d eventually be offered, he sent me a “Go get ‘em Tigar!” text message that I kept long after our relationship ended. He encouraged my goals and told me about the trips he’d take to see me during my summer in my most favorite place on this planet. He may have even mentioned Versace and that made me fall for him a tad bit more.

And then, my dad went through one of the most difficult periods he’s ever gone through, and even though it was Easter break, Mr. Fire spent an hour on the phone checking up on me and ensuring that I was okay, breathing, and safe. Having experienced more loss in his own life than anyone should have to endure – he knew what page I was on.

When I returned from this horrible experience, he literally drowned me in gifts, food, and attention. He chased after my legs when we snuggled on his bed and tucked me into the inevitably inviting nook we all crave, and I was surrounded completely by just him. He picked me up in his kitchen, spun me around, and told me Don’t you worry. It will all be okay.”

And all was well and promising, until the morning it wasn’t.

I had spent the previous day at one his games (he played on a club team on campus), met his mother, and then went to a party to celebrate their victory. At the get-together, he seemed cool, distant, and unusually unaffectionate. Most of the time, he was always finding an excuse to touch me, wrap his arms around me, or steal a kiss –even in front of his friends or teammates. After one-too-many beers, we ended up back at his apartment, where in all of my 5’7”-glory (heels on, of course) – I demanded why he was acting so funny. When he failed to respond, I returned with half-rage by attempting to leave and walk home if he didn’t want to be around me. To this, he responded by scooping me up, calming me down, and making me fall asleep.

In the morning, I rolled over, looked up at him and apologized for acting ridiculous and questioning. To which, he stroked my head, kissed my forehead, and said the words no girl ever wants to hear from the man she’s falling hard for: “Linds, I think we’re moving too quickly.”

In a matter of days, everything I thought we were building together was all-but destroyed. At first, he needed space. Then he decided he could only talk to me on the phone, text message, and Facebook, but not see me in person (to which I replied: “Are you out of your mind?”). Finally, I decided we shouldn’t talk for a week so he could get his mind straight and figure out what he wanted.

And in the end, he didn’t want me. Because I was going to New York and he was staying overseas for a month over the summer – literally putting us on opposite sides of the globe – he thought it was best we didn’t explore a relationship. He also reassured me he wasn’t interested in anyone else and couldn’t (and wouldn’t) be dating anyone seriously….

…until a day later, pictures of him and another girl showed up on Facebook. And not just any girl, a girl I had been introduced to, hung out with, and he had made fun at some point. At the time, it was absolutely devastating and made me feel like the biggest fool in the entire world – but within time (like a few years), I forgave him. They are still together, nearly three years later, and seem incredibly in love, and for that, I’m happy for him (at least somewhat, anyways).

Before I graduated and moved my way to these big, bright, shining lights I love so much, we ran into each other at a neighborhood bar. We were both in serious relationships at the time, but he said he “at least owed me a beer,” and I agreed, but added, “And an explanation.” Over the course of several hours, we discussed what he felt, what went wrong, and he apologized profusely. At some point, he said, “I always regretted how I treated you, but I didn’t feel like I had something to offer you with your New York dreams. I know you’re going to go far and I don’t know how to be just a part of that.”

I’m not sure if this means he wasn’t “man” enough to step up to the plate or couldn’t handle a gal who was going places, but it does mean that we simply weren’t meant for one another. No matter how much passion, how much fire or intensity, or possibility I saw for us at one point – if someone can’t take you for who you are and love you, pride aside, they aren’t worth it.

He is an incredible man who I know will be successful in whatever he does and in whatever marriage he enters – and I hope when he thinks of our time together, he smiles. He remembers the energy. The love-that-got-away from both of us. And somewhere, down deep where we hold our most precious and sacred memories, I know that our flame of happiness and of hope that we sparked for each other – remains lit.