I have been with Trevor for almost 11 years now, married for almost 5. When I look back at my life before him, there are very few "boyfriends". I didn't date very much in high school or college. I don't know why, I just never did. But there was one. I thought he was the ONE. I met him when I was in college and he was 10 years older than me. He was my first real love, his name was Michael.
Michael and I dated on and off for a couple years, during and after college. He was an alcoholic, so our relationship was full of drama and uncertainty. When I was 21, I wanted to save the world, I wanted to help everyone. Looking back now, I can see that was the draw. I was drawn to him because I felt like he needed me.
Anyone who has a relationship with an alcoholic knows the drill. They care first about the booze, everything and everyone else comes second. He always said he would quit, he actually did quit a couple times. The truth is, I didn't like him as much when he was sober. That never lasted anyway.
He was very unpredictable. He turned my life upside down with phone calls at 2 am to pick him at the bar or in jail. All my friends thought I was nuts for dating him, but I didn't care.
When I was 22, Mike moved to Chicago. I went to visit him once and I realized it was over. We had talked about getting married and having kids. I planned to moved to Chicago to be with him, but on this visit I realized we did not have a future and that broke my heart.
I came home and cried for weeks. I was devastated. We saw each other on and off for another couple years. I moved to New Jersey and we lost touch. After I have moved to Oregon, he tracked me down. He was sober and on the "making amends" step of his 12 step program (that's when I usually heard from him). He was calling to tell me how sorry he was for all the things he put me through. If you have a relationship with an addict, you know how this goes too.
A few months later he called again to tell me he was getting married. A year or so later he called to say that he was having a child. That was the last time I talked with him. That was very early in my relationship with Trevor. I bet its been 8 years since I had any contact with him.
Mike's father owned a really popular burger joint in Boulder where I went to college. A few years back, I got my college newsletter and there was as story about Mike's dad and how he had just died from brain cancer. That made me think of Mike, I hadn't thought of him in years.
Every once in a while, Mike will cross my mind for one reason or another. I know I have googled him or looked for him on facebook before. Let's be honest, who hasn't done that with their first real love? I never found anything.
Last night, while I was driving home, I was thinking about my life with Trevor. I was thinking about how predictable and solid it is. We have no drama, we have craziness, no jealous fights, no staying out late with the guys, none of that. For some reason it made me think about how my life would have been if things had worked out with Mike. How I would have spent the last 15 years of my life in a very different way, all the ups and downs of life with an alcoholic and how relieved I was that I was living this life instead.
I heard Oprah say that forgiveness is giving up the hope that the past could have been different. I know that I forgave Mike many years ago. He helped me become who I am today. I have never wished that I was with him now instead of Trevor. Never.
Today, I googled Mike again and the first thing that popped up was an article from June, 2009. On June 26, 2009, Mike died at the age of 45 from lung cancer. That....was shocking. It wasn't shocking that he died from that, he lived hard - smoked, drank, did drugs. I guess I had always thought I would see him again someday. I thought we would run into him at an airport or at a restaurant while we were visiting my parents in Colorado. I wasn't sitting around wishing we would run into him, I just expected that we would. But we won't, because he is dead. He left a wife and two little boys. I hope he found some peace in his family life before he went.
One of the first compliments Mike ever gave me was about my eyebrows. He said "you have the most amazing eyebrows". Such a strange compliment. Every now and then, when I am getting an eyebrow wax, the aestatician will say "you have really great eyebrows" and I will say "someone I dated once told me that" and I will smile at the memory of that strange compliment that really endeared Michael to me.
I am glad that I knew him. I am sorry I won't see him again and wish I had the chance to say goodbye. I know he would be proud of me and the life I am living now. I know I am.