Today started like so many of my mornings. I shooed my three half-asleep dogs through the doggie door and nestled back in bed to view what I missed in the past eight hours (or in last night’s case, four).
Timehop is undoubtedly my favorite daily check. I love sending screencaps of funny moments to friends and ask “remember when?!”…it starts the day off on a positive note by reminding me of people who are/were important to me. It allows me to reach out with a “thinking of you” and cute picture memory aka a little happy sure to deliver a smile. And for those who I’ve drifted apart from (usually due to a city change), I can send a random yet sincere “thinking of you” note.
So when I found one of my favorite photos of all time on my Timehop from 5 years ago this AM, I sent it to my best friend with “Shadows with Ethan* (name changed)” and some smile laugh emojis – because that was such an epic night…and one badass picture of us three.
I immediately stalked Ethan’s Facebook page to see what his cute self has been up to…expecting to find him a happy groom in a wedding photo like so many of my past love affairs. What I found was a punch to the gut. Devastating. It took a moment to even register what I was looking at. I was staring at a picture of his grave and an outpouring of grief on his wall from the past year.
Ethan was one of the rare good guys I dated (and left in the world). Cute, charming, nice, a true southern gentleman at the more mature age of 32. I was 25 and at the peak of my party girl days. My dad was dying and most of my time was spent trying to ignore that fact by having too much fun with my girlfriends downtown. Ethan was a breath of fresh air and that fall romance was one of my favorites…mostly because it was simple…no seriousness, just laughter and adventures with a genuinely good guy.
My brief relationship with him was unexpectedly a marker in my life. One of my girlfriends had a fling with his brother, another friend had a flirtation with his roommate and another had a dalliance with his coworker. It was right before my group of friends dispersed all over the country – the last time we were all together – before everything changed.
Ethan and I quickly fizzled due to his maturity and my inability to process anything but my father’s illness. He needed something more than trips to Tunica, drinks at Silly Goose, sleepovers at his place, and dancing at Shadows. I just wanted fun to offset my sadness.
He moved back to his hometown shortly after we ended but maintained a mild flirtation throughout the years online. Silly, right? But whenever I saw a comment from him or like on a picture, I would smile. It’s bizarre how those seemingly small interactions (through social media nevertheless) do have an impact on one’s life.
Which brings me to my confusion about my feelings. I barely knew this guy. We dated for a few months five years ago. Sure, he crosses my mind now-and-then, but let’s not forget that it took me almost an entire year for me to even know he passed away. Do I even have a right to feel sad? But if not, why does my heart hurt so much? We didn’t have a meaningful (or deep) relationship…I didn’t love him…but I did share my time and body with him.
I don’t know how he passed away. I can only assume a car wreck due to the shock and suddenness. Maybe it is the cold dose of reality that has me so upset – the fact that anyone can go at anytime without warning. Even if you are one of the good ones.
So RIP, my former lover. We didn’t know each other well or long, but I do have fond memories of you…and thank you for being a positive in my life. You are (not were) a beautiful soul.