As a little girl, I thought things were simple. If two people loved each other, they stayed together no matter what. They stuck by each other through thick and thin, through hardships and celebrations, because that kind of love is far too valuable to be thrown away.
When my boyfriend and I got together in early June of my senior year of high school, we knew what was coming. Our story was complex; we'd been on and off since sophomore year, mostly because of various timing issues. Only now, when we had just two and a half short months, did the stars finally align for us.
Me, the overthinker, the planner, was cautious right away. The question of the future was briefly raised only to be quickly brushed under the rug. The consensus seemed to be that we would break up when it would come time to leave for college because both of us wanted to grow individually without holding on to any part of high school. We figured we'd deal with the hard part whenever it came; we had no idea just how soon or just how heart wrenching that goodbye would prove to be.
Those two months were the most magical months of my life. I found out what it's like to love and what it's like to have someone look at you like there's no one else in the world. The thought of the eventual goodbye would always be in the back of my mind, surfacing at odd moments when I was just so happy that I knew there had to be something, something that would rupture this perfect bubble.
As August came and the reality really started setting in, I began to realize that I was in far deeper than I'd ever expected. I found myself staring at him for longer moments, squeezing him a little tighter when hugging, laughing like a maniac at his corny jokes because I was all too aware of how fleeting this time was.
We began to spend even more time together in an effort to squeeze in all the possible date nights and cuddles before it was too late. In hindsight, this made it all so much harder; we were so attached, not just boyfriend and girlfriend, but best friends.
We had the talk two weeks before he left. We had to lay out all our options, but in the end, the conclusion was the same. It wasn't ideal, it sucked, but breaking up was better than the alternative. It was better than slowly watching our relationship sour and turn into awkward silences over the phone and resentful feelings. Our time together — our whole story — was far too perfect for such an end. So we agreed to end it on a high note, so that we would both look back on the relationship with only the most positive feelings. We promised each other that we would make these next two weeks the best two weeks of our lives.
When it came time to say goodbye, I was ready. I knew our friendship wouldn't dissolve, and I also knew that I’d lived these last two months with complete and utter abandon and for the first time had broken free of my fears and reservations.
It helped not to think of this as a goodbye, but rather as an until we meet again. He told me that we had no way of knowing the future; it could be that after college things would align for us again and we could continue what we built together this summer, or maybe we would slowly fade from each other's lives until we were both just distant memories of a first love and the one that got away.
If there’s one thing that being in a relationship like this — one with a set expiration date and someone who seems perfect for you — has taught me, it’s that if something feels right, you should do it. You should jump in headfirst and not worry about the future because our time here in this world is already so limited. Once it feels that you’ve gotten what you could out of whatever it was you launched yourself into, don’t be scared to let go. Life is full of new experiences, new people, new adventures. Leave your comfort zone behind, open yourself up to new possibilities and I promise you’ll love the result.
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