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It just pisses me right the fuck off that I am on the complete opposite side of the planet... And I'm still feeling this torture.
The summer of 2008 was a relatively long and grueling one. I'd like to point out that I grew up in the US from when I was about four years old. Anyway, It was the summer that I had to watch my middle school crush go out with one of my closest friends. In fact, I had to watch EVERYONE begin their journeys into the dating scene while I was destined to live another summer as a single pre-teen. I guess nobody wanted to go out with a 260 lb, acne covered, long haired, Mt. Dew guzzling gamer. Well, in hindsight, I can't really blame them. But, irrelevently, the summer slowly miandered by as I dreamed of finally starting high school in the Fall. I had such high hopes for all of the new friends I would make and new experiences I would have...
I had no earthly idea that at the end of my very first day, a girl would be there to change my life completely.
Freshman health class! Awesome. We get to see the condom on the banana thing and hold back awkward laughter when the teacher brings out an ACTUAL blow up doll. (Yes she did.) But, before we could get on with the erotic educational festivities, the teacher went around the room and had us stand up and introduce ourselves.
Inevitably, my turn came along, and I just passively stood up and said, "Hey, I'm Jake. I'm just a dude. Really nothing special." And sat back down. The teacher said, "Ooookay. Sounds good to me."
Thats when I heard her voice.
"WHERE IS THAT ACCENT FROM!?" A voice shrieked from behind me.
I replied in frustrated panic "JESUS, AUSTRALIA! FUCK!"
"Language." Said the teacher sternly.
I didn't bother turning back to the girl that scared the ever living piss out of me. I just wanted to get the class over with and go see my friends.
So, the class finishes up at 2pm. School lets out at 2:15. Awesome. I have some time to just chill and listen to some Coldplay for a bit.
"Can I help you?" I ask to the person that decided to pummel my desk with their slightly pale hands with black polished nails, except for the ring fingers which were polished blue.
"Australia you say?" She asked, this time softly and sweetly.
Still a tad annoyed and my eyes still fixed on my ipod, "Yes. Shocking isn't it? A country other than the United States."
Ignoring my shitty attitude, she said the most adorable thing I have ever heard anyone say to me...
"Say more things. I love when you say things."
Then, I looked into her eyes for the very first time in my life...
Her magnificent, deep brown eyes that were spaced in such a unique way that had me hooked instantly. Her long, thick hair that flowed down her back like a beautiful winter coat. Her intoxicating smile that was framed ever so perfectly by her seductive lips; which were dressed in a mouth watering dark, dark, DARK red lipstick. She had all kinds of funny little jewels and charms dangling from her neck. All tiny little trinkets and references from her favourite books.
In the midst of my awestruck, she asked, "Sorry, what was your name again?"
"Jake." I said as the irritation gave way to complete vulnerability.
...Her name was Rachael... And even now, it still tears my heart to pieces when I have to even type her name...
We became fast friends. BEST friends in a matter of a week. We did EVERYTHING together. We were the first people we saw every single morning. We would sit and listen to each other's music. I got her to fall in love with Coldplay, she got me to fall in love with Bon Iver. We would even text eachother in the classes that we didn't have together. And at the end of the day, she would let me walk her home. Every single day.
We. Were. Inseparable.
AND THIS IS WHERE IT GETS FUCKING BAD.
So, my parents are having a nice, small Christmas party and they let me invite a few people. All I wanted was her. I met up with her that morning to invite her to the party and she accepted with unbridled excitment.
"Tonight is the night I ask her." I repeat to myself all day long. Waiting for school to end so I can rush home and make myself into the classiest looking holiday stud ever. Especially with all of the weight I lost over the summer as well as the new, more rigorous gym class (over 77 lbs lost!), I would be a complete knockout. Right after I got done going all Queer Eye for the Straight guy on myself, I rushed into my room to look for the very personal item that I would give her. A leather necklace with a celtic infinity pendant. She loves everything celtic, so I figured it would be PERFECT.
She arrives and she is wearing the most gorgeous black pea coat and deep blue scarf. She jumps into my arms and squeals an adorable "hello" and "merry Christmas." I then take her coat to reveal the most gorgeous dress I had ever seen on a woman in my life. I can't even describe it to this day. My mind can't form the words.
I guess you just had to have been there...
So, the night goes on, we have an amazing dinner together with my parents and their friends as we watch the thick snow fall quietly past the dining room window. We couldn't stop laughing and smiling at each other. She was just so undescrbably beautiful. I couldn't take my eyes off of her.
I had fallen completely and irrevocably in love with Rachael.
The night ended quietly as I put her jacket on her and walked her out. We stood in the yard and watched the snow float down around us. I said, "I have a present for you!" I brought the little wrapped box from behind my back and handed it to her.
"Awww Jake! You didn't have to!" She sweetly giggled as she opened it. As soon as she saw the necklace, she fell in love with it. I put it around her gorgeous, smooth neck and tied it up nicely.
"Its so perfect." She said
"...like you..." I added softly, blushing like crazy. Not knowing how she would respond.
"Jake, you are the sweetest thing.." She said with her ever so sweet smile.
There was no turning back...
"I'm going to be upfront here. I like you. A lot. I'm about to freak out because I have never done this before. But, do you want to go out with me? Like, an official kind of thing?"
She sighed... "Jake, you're amazing." She said just as the chorus of Oh Holy Night was playing from inside the house.
"But, to be honest... I really can't do a relationship right now. I mean, I like you too. But, I need to focus on other things for now." She said in an apologetic tone.
The pain was more than I could ever describe to anyone... Even now, I could cover my whole body in tattoos and not feel a thing compared to the agony I went through that night...
All I could muster was, "Oh okay. Well, if you change your mind, let me know?"
"Absolutely" She replied.
She stole a kiss on my cheek before her mother's car pulled into my driveway. She said, "Merry Christmas Bud." And she left.
I don't think I have ever felt so pathetic in my life. But, I still had reason to hope. I went to bed with a modicum of pride knowing that I summoned the courage to ask her. The night was over. It was time for bed.
A fucking week and a god damn half passes.
I come to school after Christmas break. I look all around for Rachael. I was worried that she had gotten sick and couldn't cone to school. I texted her asking where she was, but no answer!
Then I found her... I found her just as she had finished kissing a guy.
But it wasn't just ANY guy. It was my close friend that had gone out with my middle school crush.
YEAH. THESAMEFUCKINGGUY. Douchebag.
I. Was. Fucking. Furious.
BUT... I couldn't be mad at her. She's not my girlfriend. She can date whoever she wants. I told myself, "Tyler is an asshole, all he does is sit inside and play halo and verbally abuse his parents. They aren't going to last."
They went out for a fucking year and a half.
Now, I know what you may be thinking at this point: "Well, Jake.. Why didn't you just move on and see other girls? You're not her boyfriend either."
Well, you see, I tried. ITRIEDHAAARRRD... To move on. But, every other girl I met would lead me on with false hopes and "misses" Which was our term for kisses that were insanely close to the lips but not actually on them. It wasn't until my Junior year (grade 11) that I met Katie. Her and I ended up dating through the rest of high school.
Rachael didn't like her... Not. One. Bit.
She would say that Katie used to bully her all the time back at the private school they both went to before high school. I would ask Katie and she sounded purely genuine when she said, "I've, honestly never met her before in my life. I've never bullied ANYONE."
Rachael stopped talking to me for a few months. I think it may have been due to the fact that she walked in on Katie and I in an empty study hall with my hand down her pants while we were making out.
But, I really didn't mean for her to see that. I promise I'm not THAT big of a tool.
Inevitably, Rachael broke up with Tyler. He threatened to smash her guitar if she didn't give him the xbox controller. (Pro tip: Do NOT fuck with a girl's guitar.)
Rachael came to me right after the break up. I had never seen her so upset before. We went to my house and I made her tea while she told me all about it. It ended up with her crying and saying, "Jake, I'm so sorry. I should have been kinder to you and accepted your offer. I just feel like this whole year has been wasted."
I wanted to just take her in my arms, dry her tears and kiss her sweet lips to silence her weeping. But, I was in a very happily committed relationship. All I could do was sit by her side and hold her close as she let everything out. It turned out to be a pretty long day.
Time goes by. Katie is off at college while I'm finishing up my Senior year (grade 12). Rachael is seeing some rich kid named Matt. Who, really, wasn't a bad guy. I liked them a lot together. I liked the way he treated her. He made her happy. Thats all I could ask for.
We all graduate. Rachael goes off to college for Psychology. I go to tech school for Automotive Service Technology. I would go visit Katie at her college for weekends full of booze and sex and other debauchery. Then, we got engaged!
*gags* I can't believe I was ACTUALLY engaged at 19 years old. I wish I could go back in time and kick my own ass.
When Rachael found out... Ohhhh... She was fucking fuming...
She called me up on the phone SCREAMING at me for an hour and 56 minutes EXACTLY. She said if I got married to Katie and threw my life away, she would not be there to watch me fall apart.
Well, we didn't end up getting married. But it was for a completely different reason. That reason consisting of her stealing my money to buy drugs to party with her friends during the week while I was gone.
Yeah. Fuck that.
So, to fast forward a bit. I end up getting accepted to an advanced training class in BMW Technologies. I was so excited because they only took 30 people a year and BMW Techs make INSANE money.
The only catch was that the class was in Phoenix Arizona... Across the country from my home town. Across the country from Rachael.
I was working on telling her about it, but it was a bit difficult because her and rich Matt had just broken up. I began to notice the pattern of when she was going through heartbreak, she would run straight to me. She would begin to plant seeds of false hope in my mind that we can potentially be together one day. And I kept fucking buying into it. Every. Single time.
Why? Well, to put it quite simply: There's a reason why they call it "madly in love."
So, I finally told her that I was leaving for Arizona. She was quite supportive at first. But, as it got closer to the time of my departure, she grew more and more distant. As if she was getting tired of me.
However, I couldn't focus on this too much. I was far too pre-occupied with my plans for a brand new start in a whole new city!
Halloween 2013. The day finally comes for me to ship off across the country. I tried to call Rachael one last time before I left, but she sent me straight to voicemail.
I never heard her voice again for over ten months.
I passed the BMW class with flying colours, but my being in Phoenix was the worst mistake I had ever made in my life. I hated my job and the people I worked with and they all hated me. I made next to no money, and any money I DID make went toward my rent and what little food I could get. I also began to drink heavily and developed a dependence on weed. Every night, I would come home from work and get rediculously cross faded. I had no friends, my family was an entire continent away, I was miserable...
And by god, did I miss Rachael...
I could never stop thinking about her. I couldn't stop thinking about how I just up and left her. I told myself that I should have tried harder to be with her. I should have told her how I felt about her...
Well... One fateful night, I did...
She had texted me one night saying, "Hi Jake... How are you? I miss you so much."
We went back and forth for a little bit. Three words at a time. Then, I felt my heart race as I called her.
I called her... And I told her everything. I poured the contents of my heart out of my mouth and into her ears...
*sigh* I won't get into it too much... But, long story short, she rejected me. In a nice way, but it was still a rejection.
I had, officially, given up on love that night.
Even though I have sworn off of love, whenever I remember her perfect face, I feel the same rapid heart beat as I did that night with her as we stood in the snow...
Anyway... I went to work and struggled through the day. As I was finishing up my 12th brake job, I stood up straight and dropped my wrench. I said, "I've made a horrible mistake. This isn't what I'm going to do for the rest of my life. I don't give a fuck if its BMW this job is fucking horrible! THIS CITY IS FUCKING HORRIBLE! I'M FUCKING GONE!" I gave all of my tools to the shop. I said, "Fuck it. I'm done. I'm going home to Australia and joining the Army."
...And thats what I set out to do over 2015...
I packed all of my stuff into my car and I set out on a cross country road trip back to New England. I answered a lot of my own questions. I saw a lot of unforgettable things. I got to live the night life in Austin Texas, Oklahoma City, St. Louis Missouri, Indianapolis Indiana, Columbus Ohio, and Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Then, I finally made it back home to little Woodstock Connecticut. I spent the summer working on a plan to move home to Australia. I sold everything I owned and said goodbye to everything I knew.
Then Rachael found out...
She came to my house, stood at my bedroom doorway and just stared at me...
"So... You really love me, huh?"
I tried to ask her what she meant, but then she began to get angry.
"Yeah, you really fucking love me right? You feel that you can just say something like that to me and then fuck off to the other side of the god damn planet? What the fuck is wrong with you Jake? I thought that our relationship was important to you. I thought you truly cared for me. Now you want to just fucking leave forever? Fine. Go then. Go live your dream. Go do whatever you want to do. Don't ever expect me to follow you."
I wanted to scream... I wanted to yell at her so badly... I wanted to take her in my arms and kiss away all of the fear and anger in her heart and tell her I wasn't leaving...
But all I could say was...
"Okay.. Well, if you change your mind, let me know!"
Like I said, my friends... There's a reason why they call it "madly in love."
Thanks for reading. 🇦🇺🇺🇸