Have you ever “met” someone online? Let me be more specific, discovered someone online who you almost instantly gravitated towards, you didn’t stalk but simply patiently and attentively enjoyed following. They didn’t spark feelings of jealousy, but a desire to emulate their actions and being.
Social media can be a really scary place. One of the worst side effects is its ability to create distorted realities. I was watching what I wanted so badly unfold online in the lives of two strangers. I felt peace and pride in being an intimate and secret follower (and arguably critical part) of their love story.
I was so deeply envious of the love they found again, it drove my hopeless romantic heart and mind to unconventional fantasies… to a place where any and every love sick fool seems to exist.
All the while, I felt immense pride in being some strange, sick detail in their story of finding their way back to one another. Let me take you to the unconventional beginning.
I met the sweetest soul of a human being while going through a break up a few months back. We’ll call him Bodhi. The kind of guy you’d only hope to meet while putting back together the pieces of your heart. The kind whose freckles peppered across his cheeks and nose, like speckled spots of sunlight – as if God so carefully sprinkled them himself – his laughter was contagious, his smile sparked every room he entered, and his electric red hair made him stick out like a sore thumb, even at a crowded beach.
He was 6’4”, a surfer, half cuban and half something else – I think Irish, but I can’t remember and who’s to say. We met outside of a too-long-of-a-line, crowded bar in San Diego. He was holding court at the front of the line, while I glided past with no patience to wait outside. He called out at me like I was someone he knew in another life.
Sounds sort of romantic so far, right? Not so much. His shouts felt more like catcalling, and I gave him a piece of my mind, yelling some less than favorable things as I waved my cigarette through the air.
I later found out the exchange was even less romantic than that. He had mistaken my blonde, bar hopping self for a friends girlfriend.
Fast forward a few hours into the evening, and we were cuddled in each others arms, falling into the bar booth and our lips electric against one another. My best girlfriends were taking selfies for proof of this hilarious, drunk encounter and to have photo evidence of my make out rendezvous with this unbelievable, sent-from-heaven creature.
After that first affair, which was short lived and contained at the bar, he wanted to see me again. I was hesitant, but he made my heart feel a little less cold than the solid rock of ice it had become from my recent break up. He was warm, sweet and funny – and what I needed then.
He drove four hours in heavy traffic from San Diego to Los Angeles to get coffee with me and teach me how to surf. We didn’t see each other again after that day on the beach. In reality, we live worlds away even though we’re in the same state. We would spend two hours facetiming and calling each other. We learned we were both heart broken, and both on the receiving end of the break up. And I soon learned he was still in love with his old S.O.
Things went cold, as they inevitably would, when two hearts are solidified in other places or past relationships. Not to mention the hundreds of miles that separated us. I didn’t think much of our relationship “going cold”, because I never imagined for us to really ever see each other again. I will admit I enjoyed having someone else on the other end of the invisible rope. And one day, out of the blue, I got a text from my mystery surfer San Diego man.
We hadn’t talked for weeks, maybe even a month. He didn’t cross my mind. I wish, for the life of me, that I saved this text. And that I could print it out and put it on my wall.
He apologized for ghosting me (I didn’t even realize this had happened). He told me how kind of a soul I was, how amazing I was and how sweet of a smile I had. But he had run into his ex a few weekends back and it made him realize he didn’t know what he was doing. They had gotten back together.
I read the text and my hopeless romantic heart winced. I was overwhelmed with a sense of joy for them. I thanked him, wished him well and hoped for the best for them.
Then instagram stalking ensued. It was unhealthy how much I enjoyed vicariously living through their reclaimed love. I cherish seeing them at parties with one another’s families, unabashedly sharing and celebrating their love for one another, and maybe one day I will see them at their own wedding. Yes, there’s an awful creepiness and eeriness to this all.
It inspires me. It even convinced a small part of me people can change. That most people and lovers are meant to find their way back to one another (if they had really unlocked the real deal).
For someone I will most likely never see or speak to again in the entirety of my life, he gave me a blessing of two lessons.
First, there’s someone out there who will drive four hours from San Diego to just drink coffee (and spend time) with you. This was an overwhelming lesson of love for me. And maybe for others, if the last person you were with could no longer handle or want to “put up with” the hour drive or living in two different bureaus in New York.
That lesson rocked me the deepest. Four hours for coffee? The ocean? And time with a stranger? Things he probably could have gotten in San Diego – in an upgraded version. Imagine if I was a monster of a person too, he really put his eggs in the basket.
Secondly, true love is real. It’s these sweet encounters and rendezvous that help you realize you will love again, you will heal, and that true love is real. And maybe some things deserve a second shot.
Feature Image via Vanessa Granda