“I’m fire and you’re the ice,” Christian told me.
“What?! Why, can’t I be fire?” I exclaimed as if he had just insulted me.
“Because you’re ice and you’re missing the point.”
As a class discussion we analyzed the Robert Frost poem “Fire and Ice.” Christian pulled my desk close to his so he could read off my book. He purposely forgot his book because that meant he always got to share with me. His seat was changed next to mine after some wheeling and dealing, i.e. a seductive but manipulative smile thrown at our much older AP English teacher who took too much of a liking to him.
We’d just come off our latest “sabbatical” from one another; he’d recently walked into a class we had together conspicuously attempting to hide a hickey the size of New Jersey, a hickey not placed there by me.
I wish I was surprised, but by that point the dalliances started to become commonplace.
He always came back and I always took him back. I was still naïve enough to think that was okay. He would “change,” plus he always came back to me which means I was the one he really wanted…right?
I first met him when I was 15, but as we grew, so did the obstacles in our relationship.
He wanted to stay in state for college, but I wanted to get as far from Florida as possible.
He wanted children, yet I hated children.
He wanted to marry young, and I never wanted to get married.
He loved the Orlando Magic…I’m Brooklyn Nets all day, everyday.
With our problems came no resolutions. Ever.
I could only place so much blame on him. After all I also had a hand in his ill behavior. I made excuses for him and I took him back when I shouldn’t have. I always knew the part I played in our problems. In fact I’d tell my girlfriends with false bravado: “This is the last time. I’m really done this time.” I excused his behavior and pretended like it never happened. In fact, we never discussed who he’d been with.
College felt like a bittersweet release, for a little while. I had gone off to school in New York and he stayed in Florida. I made new friends and went out practically every night. I even started dating someone new. But almost like clockwork, he came back again. I wanted him back, like crazy, but this time was different. If college makes you realize anything, it makes you realize that you have so many different paths in life, whether that be your major, student orgs or who you date. I would take him back, of course. What I couldn’t do though is stay in the cycle and have him treat me poorly.
We were good again for a couple weeks, until he was back to his old tricks. After almost five years, I put my foot down. I felt tired of sharing him and not being treated in the way I deserved. He didn’t fight me on it and a week after that he was engaged. I attribute a lot of my “partying” days to him. After all, this breakup affected my desire to show up to class and my ability to trust.
But I couldn’t hate him and I couldn’t hate her. She was beautiful and lovely. Yes, I saw why he loved her and I couldn’t hate her for that. Christian married that girl and very soon after that she became pregnant with his first child. He finally had his happily ever after with someone else. It almost didn’t seem fair I found myself still left picking up the pieces.
Then it happened. I realized that despite how I felt, in actuality I was very happy for him. Christian now had a life he loved and that elated me. After this epiphany I also realized by leaving me he actually ended up doing me a huge favor. Without this, I wouldn’t have met the people I have met, traveled and lived in the places I have. I wouldn’t be who I am. I wouldn’t have met my best friend Cody who has become like family and a constant rock of support in my life. And I wouldn’t have lived in Italy, been to Milan Fashion Week or traveled all over Europe.
I think before him I still had a vague naivety with life and relationships. He was a learning experience and the world I was introduced to outside of him made me wiser, more accepting and healthy amount of cautious. See, up until Christian I thought love and relationships were as simple as right or wrong. You love someone so you stay together; there is no in-between. But when Christian got married and I realized I still loved him but had no desire to be with him again, I finally understood. Wanting to be with someone doesn’t make it right. You can still love someone while they’re not right for you.
I finally understood what he meant by him being fire and me the ice. We were two entirely different people who fought to try and make an impossible relationship work. For us, staying together meant someone would have to give up what they wanted. I probably would have never given up on him or the relationship and he knew that, even if it meant I had to amend and settle on my goals. However, above all else he always believed in me and my dreams so by finally ending things, I think was his greatest act of affection towards me.