Kristy Heilenday and Thinkstock
It was great to see you the other day. How weird is it that we both live in the same city and don’t run into each other more often? It’s probably because you still like hanging out with college kids and I’m into more grown-up things like paying bills, blowing leaves and tweezing gray hairs out of my beard.
But this isn’t about me. This is about me and you, and the way we left things years ago.
When we bumped into each other last week, I saw an opportunity for closure. But it didn’t go exactly as I planned. You’re probably wondering why I just stood there on Grace Street with my mouth open like some kind of idiot. The truth is that I didn’t recognize you. You look so … different. So refined. So upscale. And maybe this sounds crazy, but did you get a little taller?
Please don’t take this the wrong way, but how come you never looked this good when we were together? I guess we had other stuff to worry about besides appearances. Back then it was about being cynical and cool. Grunge was big. Disheveled and dirty was chic. I suppose we were both a little rough around the edges.
But now? Holy wow, do you look great. It would be crude to ask if you’ve had any work done, so I won’t go there. I thought maybe you had taken up Pilates or yoga or something, but then I remembered how much you’ve been into basketball lately. Nice work, basketball. Consider me full-court impressed.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 26 years since we met. I was fresh out of high school when you convinced me to move up to Richmond and be with you. Actually, it didn’t take much convincing. I asked. You accepted. We were together — off and on — for seven years.
It wasn’t a perfect partnership. I could have taken our relationship more seriously. And more than once, I threw up on you. But you had faults, too. You always woke me up too early. I could have done without all the lectures and critiques. That meticulous scheduling of our time together was kind of obsessive, and, frankly, you were a lousy cook.
Yes, a few times I disappeared for months at a time. Why? The truth is that I just needed some time off. Being in a relationship with you was intense — mentally and physically — but everyone told me that sticking with you was the right thing to do. So I came back.
The end was hard, but I suppose we both saw it coming. Do you remember the goodbye note you left me? You wrote my name in fancy script. It felt so official. I wanted to frame it as a reminder of the time we spent together. But I never did.
Right after we split, I got depressed. When we were together, my life had purpose and a focus. Without you, I just drifted aimlessly from day to day. I’d wake up and think, “Well, I guess I could just go to work.” And that’s what I’ve done, every day since.
VCU, I’ll always remember you fondly, and no matter how much you change the way you look, I’ll never forget the time we spent together … especially because I’m still paying for it.