last night, my boyfriend forwarded me an email exchange from when we were first dating (about three & a half years ago). i smiled wider & wider as i scrolled through it, remembering what it felt like to write & read those words for the first time. i could tell that i was nervous & trying too hard by the abundance of adjectives, the surgical precision of their placements. at one point, he wrote that i was adorable, & i grinned to feel myself blush, thinking i must look so much like i did three years ago. no one (no boy, no romantic interest) had ever really made me blush before. he still does. it’s embarrassing & delightful.
there was this brief matchstrike of nostalgia, of longing for the time that these emails were exciting to write & exhilarating to read. but it didn’t catch. there is a mundanity to exchanges with someone you know well. i don’t play chess with my adjectives anymore, is what i’m saying. instead, i text him the simplest of things – hi. i like you. – & my heart flips over when he responds. every time. i have trouble getting off the phone with him. when i wake up in the morning & he is next to me…i don’t have words for that happiness, that completeness. there’s nothing to feel nostalgic for. everything is so much better than i ever dreamed. that’s true! it’s so cheesy & it’s so true, & that’s wonderful, for cheesy to be true!
i want to be able to send these moments to my younger self. as a teenager, when life was a string of days survived, the idea that someone could love me, or even want to hold my hand, was a dream i barely allowed myself to have. in my early 20s, i didn’t date. anyone who tried to get that close was quickly shut out. this was for my sanity, & for theirs, i told myself. i went through the motions of girlhood, writing in my livejournal about the boyfriend i wanted, but i didn’t really long for love because i knew i couldn’t have it. it wasn’t for me, & that was just that. sometimes, i would like to tell younger me what lies ahead, that someday, there will be this person who loves her so thoroughly that he will make the past feel worth it, & that’s better than trying to forget it.
i used to be a little sad, a little jealous, when i saw teenagers in their first relationships. i felt i’d missed out on this experience i could never get back: young love. i turn 30 this year (nbd, I’ve been saying I was 30 since I turned 26), but i’ve missed out on nothing. i have everything i could think to want, & then some.