Saturday, October 31, 2015

Path not taken

Most of the guys I dated back in high school and college started out as my friend, usually for months but some for years. By the time we started dating, I usually knew them really well, knew their parents, and the transition to dating was almost seamless.

There was one guy where that didn't happen. We met on one of the first days when I went off to college. We met each other in the hallway, and I was taken by his attractiveness and the way he interacted with the world. We started dating within a few days of meeting, and it was a tumultuous relationship. Back then I would have said that we argued quite a lot. I honestly am not that argumentative of a person, but for some reason he was good at irritating me in a way that compelled me to be sassier than I ordinarily am.

He was 4 years older than me (21 to my 17), and at the time he wanted to get married. I didn't want to get married for a whole slew of reasons, but namely because I was 17. He said I was "immature," which has always stayed with me because never since has anyone else ever called me that.

We broke up. He met a pregnant girl with another child, and they quickly got married.

Throughout the years, I've often thought about him. Not that I missed him or our fights, but he was a distinct path I passed up. I never thought I made an incorrect decision in not marrying him, let me be clear. But I wondered what that alternate universe would have looked like. Would I be happy? Would we have had children? What would a day in that life look like?

Back in college we never talked about important things, like politics. Despite that, I think our different views and philosophies came out because we disagreed on just about everything. Even though we both had idealistic parts to us, we were idealistic in very different ways. We disagreed on the definition of "fairness." We had different views on what a relationship should be and our roles in it.  

 A few years ago he friended me on Facebook. I was astounded and rather apprehensive of it. But through being his friend, I got a glimpse of what that path would have been like. I saw what he was proud of in terms of his family and possessions, I learned about his job, I saw what he valued, I saw the memes he shared.
And frankly most of it is very scary. He is a conservative nutjob. He hates Obama, loves the NRA, spanks his children, enjoys Nascar, and basically would fit in well in a Southern state where he can drink Budweiser and then practice shooting the cans with his shotgun that he carries around in his 1970s battered pickup truck. He's gained a lot of weight. He lives in a mobile home. He is a licensed nursing assistant.

He sticks out like a sore thumb in my news feed. I mutter responses to his posts (because it seems better than typing out a response and starting a Facebook argument). But mostly…I am so happy that I didn't go down that path with him. It probably wouldn't have lasted long anyway.
Aside from the relief that I immensely feel now (thank you, Facebook!), I feel like when I think of him, I can think of those months we were together and remember the good times. As frustrating as much of it was, we had fun spontaneous trips, romantic walks in the snow, and we both had incredible zeal for ice cream.