"Oh but we never got the chance
'Cause the players tried to take the field
The marching band refused to yield
Do you recall what was revealed
The day the music died?"
We did though. Get the chance I guess. Or I did. During our first year at Universities at different sides of the country, me studying Literature and him studying... why don't I remember? A subject which didn't suit him and he didn't stick it out beyond the first year so it's slipping from my memory.
I went to a different university to my boyfriend, and with a good group of girlfriends I gained a lot of confidence back that I'd lost and was really enjoying myself. My boyfriend- not a horrible guy, just very misguided- didn't like this. He was quite controlling. I thought he was a real bastard for a while, but now I guess he was just young and insecure. Anyway, while at university, I found out that he had been cheating on me, for the three years we were together. With a lot of different girls. We had a slow and messy break up.
Meanwhile he and his girlfriend who had gone to university together, so in love were they while filling in the UCAS form, had broken up. He wasn't what she needed and things got really hard for him. I don't know too many details, just bits. This is my side of the story really, I can't speak for anyone else. Though I often try to...
So the summer after my first year at University found him single, and me somewhat single though the situation with my ex was very confusing. I'd had a brief rebound fling and University and though I was finding my feet I still wasn't... 100% myself.
We realised that we'd drifted apart, and spent a lot of time catching up. Going for long walks and talking like we always had. But this time the safety net was taken away I guess. Nothing stopping us now from what by this point had been building up for four years. Lying in a field one day, all sun kissed and ditzy prints he kissed me. And it somehow managed to live up to expectations. Which is impressive, given the four year build up.
But I guess the cracks were there. I wasn't as sniping or sarcastic as before. A year away from home had allowed me to balance out some of my issues. The heartbreak and confusion of his girlfriend had made him more needy and vulnerable. Perhaps we'd grown up at different speeds or in different directions.
The rest of that summer was crazy, last second rail trips to meet the shiny new friends from university. Drunken weekends with old friends. Emotional tug of war with my ex. I ended up forgetting his birthday, not responding correctly when he text me. Fooling myself that it had been a kiss and nothing else. When to me it was more. To him? I think it was more. He didn't answer my calls. Replying to my emails, my messages...
He did get back in touch in the end. In my second year of University he came to visit a friend who studied at the same institution. Could he come and catch up with me? We missed one another. Had fate presented another chance to be seized?
No. I'd met someone else by then. I was in love. Well and truly, like I never had been with him. And the new man loved me back. And it was exhilarating and wonderful. My allegiances- he seemed to want me to make them clear- were with my boyfriend. So no, he couldn't stay the night. No we couldn't cuddle on my bed. It didn't seem right. We had to go back to being friends. More strange lies from him, more sarcasm and cattiness from me.
And then nothing for years. We bumped into one another now and again. Mutual friends, small world. Smiles and do you remembers. But the intensity had gone for me. I can't speak for him.
People grow up, life goes on. I've been with the new boyfriend for nearly five years now. I still wonder why he didn't kiss me when we were sixteen. Save a lot of- what? Hassle? No. Heartbreak, maybe. Would it have though? We still would have grown up and apart. I would always want to have met the boyfriend at university. I wouldn't change that. Maybe I want a defined end so it can be neatly filed away, but life isn't like that.
The letters are gone. The memories fade. For some reason that what-if remains.