A few days ago, out of the blue, I got a Facebook message from a guy I had an off-again-on-again crush with in college. “Did you get married yet?” he asked. Those five simple words were enough to make my heart drop about halfway down into my stomach. Was this about to go there? Was I going to have to relive some painful sorta-breakup moments from umpteen years ago?

As a matter of fact, no I did not. He did not turn around to profess his undying love for me while I softly, let him down. Four long, dragging minutes later he started typing his answer to my “no, not yet but next year” reply. “Oh cool, Elise and you both are getting married,” he sent back. And that was it. Like, the end of the first conversation I had with this guy I was really, really into from college for the first time in about four or five years.

I know it may seem like I’m a little let down about the prospect of being wooed by another guy 14 months shy of my own wedding; but I’m not. I know I’m not but it’s also difficult to put into words exactly how that made me feel. There is no way in bleeding hell that if he had come back with any arrangement of love-professions I had streaming through my head at that exact moment would I have left Jake. Like, seriously, not even a trace of a thought. I think I was more bummed at the fact that I didn’t have this wild story to tell about a near-marriage (near-death? 🙂 ) love confession from some guy I had a hard time getting over four or five years ago.

But it got me thinking about love and college. How many guys did I date, sleep with, hang around or generally like-like during the four wild years that is known as higher education? And for how many of those was I the last for? You know, the last; the last person you slept with, dated, had a major crush, before you found “the one.” I got to thinking about this the last few hours of work yesterday and I think I know at least an approximate answer: 3. I know that I was the last for at least three guys, and that’s a weird feeling to have.

The first I can remember, we’ll call him Jack, I dated for not too long, a few weeks maybe. I met him somehow when I moved back to Portland after college. We went on a few dozen dates, to a couple of clubs, I met his parents, etc. But all of a sudden, he began to annoy me. I’ve never really felt in the place of power in the relationship but I think I was wearing the pants in that one. But after me he met some other girl, then got married and moved to some other state where they both live happily with excellent careers and some cute dogs. How do I know? I’m an expert Facebook-er, guys. I wonder if he ever thought about me during the time leading up to his wedding or anytime after. Not in a longing way but just a general curious way.

The next was Paul (not his real name). To me it was a short and hard experience. While it only lasted maybe a handful of nights, I found myself really crushing on Paul. We hung out, drank, argued and that was about it. There was just something about the way he held himself that I think I truly loved. If you had to line all of my past flings up, you’d see there was no method to my madness, meaning I did not date similar guys. He was just another genera I tried out. But after I stopped answering his calls (or maybe he stopped answering mine?) he found a girl who he’s been with for three or four years. Again I sit here thinking about that period in my life and I wonder what he’s doing or if he’s run across a Facebook status of mine and thought about me. Just curious.

The last that I can remember, would be Mike (not his real name). His story was very different and I was a very different person at the time and because of everything that happened. Mike was my first boyfriend since my ultimate shitty relationship about a year prior. It was a complicated year; one in which I did a lot of things I’d never done before and experienced a lot of things I’ve never experienced before. I got into some shady shit during that time and thought I was happy doing so. But after 10 months of unreciprocated respect, it came down to a Valentine’s showdown. Ultimately, I lost; throwing anything that would break on the floor and crying into umpteen cigarettes. But it was one of those it’s-not-over-until-we’ve-tried-30-million-times things. Off again, on again, it was rough. I ended up getting a nasty “present” from him and then we finally broke up when I move from college. Haven’t seen him since…unless you count Facebook.

After our thing, I saw he had a really steady girlfriend and I felt actually really happy for him. I think about him sometimes. I wouldn’t say often because it’s not, but I think about him when I feel like I have something good and I was to brag. I want to tell him “look what I did,” for some reason. Sadly, I think they recently broke up. Poor guy.

I sit here now with a lot of feelings rumbling around. Any decent writer knows that you draw from you personal experience when you write; making characters in the image of someone real, story lines that reflect personal journeys, changing the end of the plot to mirror you dreams. And I think that’s why I got sad when the out of the blue Facebook message appeared on my screen; I thought I was about to go down a road that would ultimately bring me a good story to tell. So when I diverted into the Pandora’s box that was my love life before I met the love of my life; I realized that I really do have a lot to go on.

I think in order to process it all, I need to start sifting. After all, writing is the ultimate form of therapy, if I don’t say so myself.