There’s an intersection right before you pass Mars High School that I drove through today, without having to stop. I acknowledged the building as I drove past, remembering it as where I once played and watched many basketball games at… once upon a time. And then, like clockwork, I remembered it as something more. Much more. As I slowed down (just a bit) and looked out my driver’s side window, I thought of The Boy who used to live in Mars. The boy who just thinking about made my heart flutter and hurt, all in the matter of an instant. The boy that I used to not be able to stop thinking about…was now a second thought behind the basketball career of my teenage self.
For a while, about seven years in fact, I couldn’t hear “Mars” and not think of that boy, or hear the name “Casey” and not think of Mars. Think: Casey used to live in Mars. But today…today was different. Today I found myself driving past Mars High School, lost in conversation with my cousin, Trish, and thinking about summer league games and four years of WPIAL Section 1 games against those Mars’ Planets. And then, for the sake of nostalgia, I made myself think about Casey: The Boy that used to live in Mars. The boy who I really did love.
Isn’t it funny how things change? It’s amazing what a difference a year can make.
Even if I had my blog at this time last year, I probably wouldn’t have opened up to you about this moment of mine- that I’ll share with you willingly today. Last year I wouldn’t have opened up about this at all. Not to anyone…well maybe Darlene or Adriana 🙂 … but no one else. But this year is different. See, last year, around shortly after Christmas, I did sit at that intersection staring out the window at Mars High School. There were no basketball games running through my mind. Not a single one. The only thing on my mind was him. Casey. I sat there looking at the building, probably missing the turning of the traffic light, thinking about him. Wondering how he was doing and where he was doing just that. I wondered so much that a few weeks later, I texted him…wait let me try that again: I sucked up all my strength and ignored all my doubts and texted him, on his birthday. Why? Many reasons. For one, it was his birthday and it’s what a “friend” would do, and truthfully, I wanted to be his friend. (I’ve always wanted to be his friend.) Also, I wanted him to know that I still think about him; still care about him; and give him any sort of closure that he may have needed from me. And lastly, call me selfish, but I wanted closure for myself. I wanted to know that I did what I wanted to do and didn’t let my fears & doubts hold me back. In all honesty, while I did still care deeply about him last year, I really wanted to let him go. Once and for all. I wanted to know that I did something in an attempt to let myself let him go. And you know what, I think it (eventually) worked.
Like I said, this year is different. From many wonderful reasons, this year is different. This year I’m not ashamed to admit that I once loved a boy who may have never loved me back. This year I’m not afraid to say that I held onto something for way too long and only ended up with a heart full of cracks and disappointment. No, this year is different. This year I can truly agree that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. This year, for some reason, I can say at ease that I am truly grateful for the role that He played in my life because without him, I wouldn’t be neither who I am nor where I am today.
So, if by chance you, Casey, ever stumbled upon this, I’ll say this to you: Thank You. Thank you for allowing me to love you; helping me grow up; and showing me how great love can be- when love is returned. Our story would have been a good one. One that made people, made us, believe that fate exists. Possibly even, dare I say, soulmates. But it would have just been a story. And if I’ve learned one thing about love, it’s that real love is much better than some fairy tale or epic love story.
Song of the Moment: Back to December by Taylor Swift
I know that it’s over between us. I’m not bitter anymore, because I know that what we had was real. And if in some distant place in the future we see each other in our new lives, I’ll smile at you with joy and remember… learning from each other and growing in love. The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds, and that’s what you’ve given me. ~The Notebook