FictionShort Stories

Lessons From Love

The First One

She’s the one who started it all. Maybe you grew up next door to her or met her in grade school. But when you first laid eyes on her you didn’t think there was anything more beautiful in the world. You noticed every detail about her. From the way she twirled her hair when she was reading a book, to the way she threw her head back when she laughed.

And that laugh. Man, you wished you could hear it all the time. To be the one who caused that infectious laughter. Whenever you heard it you felt yourself floating, because she was a drug and you needed your fix.

Your palms were sweaty when you told her how you felt. You stumbled through your sentences and by the end of it you wished you had kept your mouth shut. She smiled at you. And suddenly her laugh was nothing compared to that radiant smile. You thought you blew it. But she actually liked you back. Miracle.

You started dating. And at first everything was perfect. The connection was instant. You went on long hikes through the park and shared your hopes and dreams with her. With her, you had your first kiss and perhaps she became the first one you ever made love to. In turn she told you about her interests and likes. Both of you liked the color purple, dreamt of backpacking through Europe and other exotic destinations, drank the same vanilla latte from the deli just down the street…

The love was picturesque. Perfect. But was it truly love? Or just infatuation? Slowly the intense feelings you had in the beginning started to fade. Little things she did annoyed you. Little things you found endearing at first were now irritating. Did she always chew with her mouth open?

Your relationship turned sour. But you hung on. She was your first love after all. If you held out for one more month things would change. Those feelings you had would come back.

But they never did.

 

The Fun One

You broke the first one’s heart. Or maybe it was the other way around. Either way you were devastated at the loss. She was supposed to be the one you spent your life with. Your friends didn’t understand why you were moping about because they’d never felt this way before.

After several months of nagging, your best friend finally convinced you to attend a party he was throwing. You dug through the clothes heaped by your bed for something to wear. Button down or t-shirt? You ended up picking a witty shirt your friend lent you last year.

The party was lame. What was so fun about a bunch of drunk people making fools of themselves? John from your Chemistry Lab was already puking into a potted plant. Real Classy. The crowd parted, and that’s when you saw her. She wore a bright red miniskirt and a dazzling smile that made you forget you had ever been in love. Your best friend noticed you creeping and, not wanting to embarrass you, did the natural thing. Shoved you toward her.

You caught yourself before you knocked her over. She laughed at your shirt and the next thing you knew, she was dancing with you. The night was magic.

For the duration of the relationship you tried your best to keep up with this one. She was fun, after all. There was a party or outing she was attending almost every weekend. Sometimes she went during the weekday. You were a dutiful boyfriend, however, and you went out with her every time. Eventually you just couldn’t keep up with her anymore. She started going out without you. At first you were fine with it. You were content staying in watching a movie or a TV show.

But jealousy reared its head. You saw the pictures she posted on her social media. Who the hell was that douchebag hugging her?

            Maybe you should have been more tactful when you confronted her, but you were young. And the words slipped out. That one ended just as quickly as it had begun.

Too much of a fun thing, was no fun at all.

 

The One Who Got Away

             After your last exhausting relationship, you wanted to coast – stay away from girls for a while and just work on yourself. The funny thing was, love didn’t work like that. Love struck when you least expected it. When your head was lowered and you were going about your day.

You were reading that book you’d just bought online when someone tapped your shoulder. You flinched from the unexpected touch. Good thing you weren’t drinking coffee at the time.

You were annoyed at first that someone was disturbing your reading. But she was polite. That was her favorite book, and she wanted to let you know. Her confidence impressed you. Most of the time you were the one making the first move. But you had just gotten out of a relationship, so you didn’t make a move.

The two of you became friends. She whined to you about other guys, and you gave her advice you knew she wouldn’t follow anyway. The more time you spent with her, the more you realized you cared for her. Books weren’t the only interest you shared. She too stayed up at night wondering how she could positively influence the world. Both of you wanted to travel – Asia this time.

You desperately wanted to tell her how you felt about her. But you didn’t. You couldn’t. What if she didn’t like me back? What if she did – and the both of you ended up hating each other? There were too many what ifs. Besides, if she actually liked me like that, she would have told me.

Time passed and you held your tongue. She was dating Chad now. You thought that it would be like the last few relationships she had. But it wasn’t. She had started listening to your dating advice and now she was getting married. Another man vowed to devote his life to her, and all you could do was watch.

She got away because you were too scared of what would be.

 

The Crazy One

You needed a new start. So you told your friends and family that you found a job half-way across the country. This new city was exciting. There were so many new possibilities that could be explored. Here you could be a different person. A new person.

You moved into your new apartment and started your new job. Since it was a new city you didn’t know anyone. After work you went straight home to your TV. Three weeks later, the same old routine started to bore you. You needed some excitement. After careful consideration you got a dog. You named him Riley after a favorite video game character. He was the perfect companion and added life to your otherwise soulless home.

One day, while walking Riley to the park, you were ambushed by a dog lover. She was cute so you let her gush over your excited dog. Before you realized it, you traded numbers with her and set up a date.

She seemed normal at first. They always did. After the last heartache, you just wanted to feel loved again. And she offered it without reservation. For a time, you were happy. But you realized there was a side to her you didn’t know.

It started with the incessant texting. She needed to know where you were at all times. That didn’t bother you at first. She cared about you, and that was her way of showing it. You woke up one night and found her looking through your messages, specifically through all your female contacts. After a brief argument, you decided to let it go. Everyone got jealous from time to time.

The little things turned into big things. She told you to stop talking to certain people. Your wallet went missing randomly only to reappear with less money in it. You tried to suffer through it because she was the first person you got to know in this new city. That was until one day you came home early and found her in bed with a guy she told you not to worry about. She blamed it on you, and when she left, she took Riley with her.

Sometimes you never win.

 

The Perfect One

She worked on your floor in the office across from yours. When she heard about what happened with your last girlfriend she was there to console you. You never really noticed her before because she was always in her office working.

She reminded you of peppermint cocoa on a winter’s day – the one your mother used to make after you came in from playing in the snow.

After the crazy one you were wary. Even the innocent-looking ones could turn out to be wackier than a looney bin. You kept expecting her to snap. But she never did. She was patient and kind. That was what you noticed about her. Everything she did was graceful. Otherworldly in her movements. You tried to find flaws in her, but she didn’t have any. She was perfect…

Her picture was on every Employee of the Year plaque – except last year’s. Last year she took extended vacation to raise money for Alzheimer’s research. The more dirt you tried to find about her, the more you discovered of her achievements. All of which outshone anything you had ever done and perhaps would ever do. You graduated from college? She graduated top of her class. You volunteered at the homeless shelter every Thanksgiving? She had a whole website dedicated to feeding and clothing the homeless people in the city. And just when you thought she might actually be perfect, you found out her one flaw. You.

You spent so much time trying to see what was wrong with her, that was all she saw of you. Unhappy. Ungrateful. Unloving.

She broke up with you, but it was an amiable end. You couldn’t hate her. No one did.

You spent so much time trying to find all the things that were wrong, that you never realized all that was right.

 

The Sexy One

             That was the only way to describe her. Sexy. She wore it with her slinky red dress and her long, dark lashes. You never stood a chance. You met her at the Christmas party your company threw at the one of the fancier hotels. You couldn’t keep your eyes off her movements. The swaying of her hips hypnotized you to the point where you forgot your inhibitions and approached her. In a way she reminded you of the fun one you dated so many years ago. But this one was classier. Sexier.

             Everyone you knew thought she was beautiful. Your friends were jealous when you started dating her. Sometimes you wondered how you managed to be with someone like her. You showed her off to your friends back home, and your parents were anxious to meet her.

The desires of others kept you happy for a while. Love was blinding, and so was beauty. So much so that you didn’t really pay attention to what type of person she truly was.

You first noticed it when you went on a double date with her best friend. They laughed at the waiter when he stuttered over their orders. And when you tried to join their conversation, you found that you had no common ground with them. All they cared to talk about was the gossip that surrounded this person or that person.

You paid very close attention to her. Hoping beyond all hope that she wasn’t the same way. No. She was worse. Through the hazy mist of love and affection, you thought very hard about all the kind things she had ever said to you, or anyone else for that matter. Your mind came up blank. She wasn’t a horrible person. But she was by no means a nice person either.

Her beauty only covered her skin.

 

The One

             The new city lost its charm for you and you decided enough was enough. So you got your affairs in order and prepared to move back home. Things were more familiar there and the friends you grew up with were more genuine. The whole process of moving out would take a month or two. You tried to enjoy the rest of your time as smoothly as possible.

One Sunday morning, you made your way to the coffee shop across the street from your apartment. You ordered your usual vanilla latte, and sausage, egg, and cheese on an everything bagel. The perfect one you used to date recommended a book that you thought was worth a read. As you cracked it open, you felt a tap on your shoulder. You flinched and spilled coffee all over the table and onto the new book.

The smile caught your attention first. She introduced herself with a warm handshake and mentioned that she loved the book you were about to read. Her eyes were friendly, but so had the crazy one’s.

She grabbed some paper towels and cleaned up the mess. You were a little bummed out. Now you had no coffee or a book to read. Jokingly, you mentioned this to her. Without missing a beat, she winked back at you and ordered two more vanilla lattes. The problem with books, she explained, was you couldn’t interact with them.

You drank coffee and talked to her for hours. And despite your best efforts, you couldn’t help think about how much you liked her. She had so much of the things you liked from your previous relationships. It was only logical that she shared the same misgivings. Right?

But you thought about the lessons you learned from the past, and you decided to just take a chance.

 

 

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