The AlmostLovers

Every few months, I drive an hour to Mohegan Sun to go shopping for soap and lotion and shampoo and conditioner and lip gloss at Lush. And every few months I drop no less than $200.

The last trip I took up to Lush was no exception. $209 in damage and I’m baby soft and delightfully scented all over.

On the drive up, I blasted the Indigo Girls Poseidon and the Bitter Bug album. It is a great album. Driver Education is one of my favorite songs, but it was I’ll Change that I listened to on repeat for the nearly the entire drive. Something about that song really struck a chord with me and got me thinking of Lovers and AlmostLovers from my past.

I used to always associate these lines with certain Ex-Loves:

The snake will always bite the hand that feeds him.
Even if you love him, even if you save his life.

One day I’ll change, you’ll be the fist one that I call.
I owe you an apology, too many thanks and that’s not all.
I’ve been running long before I learned to crawl

But, something the other day echoed in those last few lines….

One day I’ll change, you’ll be the fist one that I call.
I owe you an apology, too many thanks and that’s not all.
I’ve been running long before I learned to crawl

They were about me more than any Ex-Lover or Ex-LoveInterest.

I remembered a few of my AlmostLovers. There was at least one for every major love affair I’ve had. The AlmostLovers are the nice guys who get so bitter for always finishing last – they are the young men who are delightfully kind, intelligent, funny, good looking with impeccably bad timing. They are the guys who make their move after you’ve wholeheartedly committed to another man.  They come forward with passion, 10 page love letters and everything you could ever hope for in a boyfriend, but the stars are aligned against them and you have to say no. These dear, sweet AlmostLovers only seem to come out of the woodwork when your heart is not yours to give.

I’m not going to touch my high school AlmostLovers with a ten foot pole. High school was a crazy time – I was constantly falling in and out of love and didn’t handle either situation with much finesse.

College was a bit different. I spent 3 years in love with a California Boy. You wouldn’t believe the love, the passion – the heartbreak! I have entire journals dedicated to this guy… We were best friends. We never actually dated or anything, but I felt such a charge around him, I knew we’d be together forever. Until, one day, he stopped talking to me.  This is what I wrote in my diary:

January 17, 2007 -I don’t want to say its your fault, but some days I feel like this (not a through road picture from Pearl Jam album Yield).  Ok I just had another one of those days, but after all this time, I must confess, I have changed my mind: IT IS YOUR GOD-DAMN FAULT!

Five months later, he told me goodbye forever. I was graduating. He told me to “have a nice life.” It felt like a punch in my tender 21-year-old heart.

This was the diary entry:

May 12, 2007 – Everything we put into our friendship the past 3 years. Everything I put into our relationship over the past 3 years: the trust and love and faith and hope and time and energy and dreams has boiled down to HAVE A NICE LIFE. I don’t want to keep stumbling upon this picture in my album. But I jut can’t give you away….yet.

Can you feel the ardor of my affection? Can you hear my poor breaking, bleeding heart falling to pieces every time I thought of this boy? Unfortunately, the majority of our romantic relationship took place in my diary.

Can you tell my first real heartbreak didn’t put me in the right frame of mind to deal with my darling college AlmostLover? He was adorable – young, eager, sweet, intelligent. Unfortunately, I was a devoted, neglected, heartbroken mess. We went ice skating. He held my hand because I had never ice skated before. That night, I fell asleep on his shoulder on the sofa. I woke up cold, looking for a blanket and found his arms around me. We ended up making out and our friend’s mom walked in on us. I freaked out and stopped talking to him. You’ve really never seen a shoulder so cold. It was like he was invisible.

I feel so bad about that. I owe him an apology….and that’s not all. But, so much time has passed, I wouldn’t even know where to start…I was an idiot. I was just so damn young.

My next AlmostLover wrote me the best love letter I’ve ever read. It was sweet and raw and true. He was exposed and out on a limb and adoring. I just re-read it again tonight and marveled at the very idea he felt I was deserving of such kind words.

He told me: I never fully knew what I was looking for…yet, you seem to answer that question for me. Every feeling inside of me points directly to you. And, I don’t mean just mentally. My mind, my emotions; but it goes further than that. Every time I am within a couple of feet of you, I feel electricity on my skin from head to toe as well as in the air between us.

His letter was eight hand-written pages long with a page and a half of post script tacked onto the end. The PS is charged with an unstoppable energy: Maybe this sounds ridiculous….but I can’t stop writing…One last moment of truth…I have nothing to offer but the person that I am. Once in awhile, granted, I might be a bit of an emotional wreck. Yet, at the end of the day, I am trying to make it through this confusing life just like you. I wake up every morning and can’t seem to make sense of what is truly going on in my life and where I stand on the playing field of existence. Then, I see you. Everything about you is beautiful to me. You seem to show me my proper place on that playing field. That is special to me. That is what makes you special to me. I write…it’s how my soul breaths. I could say so much more, but for now, I will stop here….except to say that the spiritual, electric feeling I spoke of makes the idea of merely holding your hand magical to me. The intercommunicational ability between us is priceless. That is the glowing essence of our friendship…you seem to open my mind to new thought processes every time we talk and I really couldn’t ask for anything more. That is awesome.

If I could go back now to the little girl I was when I read those words and let them run off my shoulders instead of allowing them to plunge into my soul, I would shake her! What a little fool! And, as for that guy she was so blindly in love with at the time, well I’d have a few choice words for him too.

Hindsight is 20/20, of course. But, I think that’s the painful beauty of the AlmostLover – you never know. You always wonder, “What if….” What if he had been first. What if he had come when my heart was fresh and new and open? What if I had known how everything else was going to turn out?

There are no answers to the What Ifs of the AlmostLover – which is why it’s best to keep the letters and mementos safely tucked away in books and boxes, somewhere they can be protected and readily accessible for nights when even the crickets sound lonely.

The snake will always bite the hand that feeds him.
Even if you love him, even if you save his life.

One day I’ll change, you’ll be the fist one that I call.
I owe you an apology, too many thanks and that’s not all.
I’ve been running long before I learned to crawl.


About ermodi

i like champagne and nachos. i watch people’s mouths move when they talk to me and judge if they are a good kisser i like to write with fine-tip Sharpies because i think it makes me look confident i bite my nails i think doing the dishes is a very lonely chore i think “autumn” is the prettiest word in the English language. i believe in love – or, at least something that resembles love, but i don’t trust this idea of forever.
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6 Responses to The AlmostLovers

  1. Go Frank Go says:

    Some days, I wish we lived closer. This post could easily turn into one of those “stay up all night with several bottles of wine/whiskey, trying to outdo one another with stories of exes and almost exes” kind of night.

    (I would win, of course…)

  2. Ermodi says:

    No, Frank – I would win. But you would be a formidable opponent. I just always win…

  3. We all need to splurge a little! Great post. We’ve gone to Mohegan Sun a time or two…we live in CT so it’s not too far away. There are so many great little shops and restaurants I’ll have to keep an eye out for Lush the next time we go!

  4. Kimlyb says:

    My escape is antiquing and thrift shops. I delight in finding the finds! Anything different, old, unique with a personality makes me happy and puts me in my own little world. I believe we all need a little “almost luxury” in our lives, to me it gives a grand balance in the scheme of things.

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