That night was stupid.
We were broken up. Yet, stupid Tessa left that stupid social, and she went on a stupid drive with stupid Joshua, which led to that stupid kiss.
After that unforgivable stunt you pulled on grad night in grade eleven? The night you “let me go.” Yes, I’m aware it wasn’t our grad. But you never breakup with your grad date on grad. Ever.
Oh, but let’s backpedal, shall we?
Grade twelve. Grad photo day. We kept our naive grade ten pact. Broken up or not – pretty sure our friends had money on this one – we’d have a photo taken. You were dating *Regina – your future ex-wife. I was still reeling from my breakup with *Marcus.
Our photo promise led to the end of you and Regina. For awhile.
Despite that ten-minute photoshoot, I left you in the past. Where you belonged. Like the – alleged – five girls you slept with that summer. Which sealed the fact we were done.
Except for that one last kiss.
Which threw us both for a loop. It was like grade seven again. Stammering in conversation. Shy smirks in class. Stares through the crowded hallways. Wondering what do we call “us,” when there isn’t an us?
My parents insisted – under no circumstances – would there be an “us.” My father was tired of seeing his daughter heartbroken. My mother laid it out on the table:
“You know he’s going to want to have … relations if you get back together.”
“No, he won’t,” I said with a slight inflection in my voice.
Deep inside, I knew reconciling with you would come with a new expectation. And my virginity was non-negotiable. Remember? For medical reasons, it was either play super safe or don’t play at all. And I chose the latter.
With our non-relationship status hanging in the balance, I prepared to reveal the verdict at the next social. Man, we had a lot of socials back then.
To my surprise, waiting like first the runner up in the Miss USA pageant was none other than – drumroll please – Regina.
With Regina literally two steps behind, I said to you, “We need to talk. It won’t take long.”
We sat in your stereotypical first guy car, and I tapped the centre console.
“I’m not getting back with you,” I said.
“Yeah, I was going to say the same thing.”
In other words, you knew rekindling our relationship meant transitioning back to celibacy.
You wouldn’t even look at me. We grew up together. Dated for three years – off and on. And you just batted your keys in the steering column. “Are we done here?”
“Yeah, we’re done.”
The car shook when you slammed the door, and I watched you storm to the hall. While I didn’t expect one last kiss or a hug, I though we’d could exchange explanations. Or, at the very least, a “Well, it was fun while it lasted.” Or how about, “I really did love you.”
I caught up to you, and we both entered the social. You looked around like a savage beast while my friends gathered around me as I crumbled.
They consoled me with, “Tessa, he’s an ass.” True.
“Don’t cry over him. He’s not worth it.” Too late. See? Tears.
“Tessa, just call Marcus, and you … ” Again. Too late. See? Tears.
“Well, that was quick.” What was quick? And I followed *Stacia’s eye-line.
You and Regina were making out. In a chair.
Seriously? We officially ended whatever we never restarted less than ten minutes ago, and you and Regina already picked up where you left off?
Worse, I learned you drove Stella to that social.
Yes, years later you and I became friends. And I don’t regret our relationship. Oddly enough though, I learned more about us in that short time than when we were Tesshua. I deserved someone gentle. Sweet. Kind. Loyal. Understanding. All the traits Marcus encompassed – and I broke up with him.
Maybe – in hindsight – that night of our last kiss wasn’t so stupid. Because it taught me a lesson.
Never walk away from a relationship that’s still worth saving. If one-side is fighting for you, and others join their fight, there’s something you’re not realizing.
I really did love you, Joshua. But, yeah, we were done.
*Names changed for privacy