You’re Playing with Fire

When I was in grade school, I was taught what happens when you light a match and spray aerosol hair spray at it. Totally safe, I know. But it was so much fun! My friends would come over if my parents were home and we’d take paper, cotton balls, whatever would burn and would go down to the lake and play with fire. It was fascinating! We loved to try new things, find new thing to light on fire. We didn’t care about the dangers. In fact, when my parents were gone, we would just play with fire right in the huge yard we had. I loved being allowed to light anything in the house. Especially the fireplace! My parents started calling me a pyromaniac, joking around, not knowing it was probably true. Pretty soon I was even learning that you could roast marshmallows over an electric burner! It was awesome! Fire fascinated me; completely devoid of the dangers of what I was doing.

I eventually grew out of this fascination. Though I still think a contained fire is beautiful, I have learned of the complete destruction an out of control fire can cause. So, while I find fires beautiful, I also am very careful and respectful of them. Thrown in with a little bit of fear. However, I do like fire in other ways…

I have been a risk taker for many years now and have always pushed the boundaries. Recently I spent the day with an ex-boyfriend from 2006. The man who I thought was the “love of my life”. Someone the other day told me, “Melissa, you are playing with fire.” And it got me thinking. I am. Especially with an old flame. But I don’t care. I just had to see if there was still some sort of a flame. Some sort of spark. The same laughter and playfulness that we used to share. It turns out there is. We still share that back and forth jabbing at one another, laughing and teasing. We still share an undeniable bond and friendship that was broken when I broke up with him. And we still share a deep chemistry. What does any of this mean? Nothing. Because now we are both grown up and know the dangers of reigniting that fire. We shared a puppy love. Almost an obsessive love. We spoke of this and joked together. During our relationship everything was long distance. We fought a lot when we were separated. There was a lot of jealousy. Which led to a lot of drama. But when we were together…it was nonstop laughter, playfulness, passionate sex, and undeniable love. And everyone could see how much we loved each other. How much we adored one another. We couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. It didn’t matter who was watching.

Unfortunately, and fortunately, my parents were very vocal about their feelings of our relationship. “You two will never work long distance.” “He’s too possessive.” “It’s not good that he needs to do everything for you.” “What you’re feeling is just young love.” “He’ll never make enough money for you.” “Your cultures are too different.”

So many outer opinions shooting at me and at that age, the opinions defined me. I believed they were all true. Even if no one could understand our relationship but the two of us. Nobody should have been allowed to affect it but us. But that just wasn’t like me. My parent’s opinions meant everything to me. And I did allow their opinions to affect me. So, when we weren’t together, I was constantly pushing him away. Believing everything that they were saying. But when we were together? My feelings took over. Emotions came back that I couldn’t deny. The passion and overwhelming love came flooding back. He was the match that sparked a raging fire within me. Almost out of control. And he again was the love of my life. Every time I was overwhelmed with emotion when we said goodbye. There were times at the airport when I was in Miami where I considered just staying. Finding a job there and picking up my entire life and dreams and leaving LA. My heart always wanted to stay. My brain knew this was not a logical or well thought out decision. But it was what they did in romantic movies so it felt like I should do that too. Especially since this was a movie like love!

We broke up over the phone plenty of times. And one time we broke up, he immediately jumped on a plane to come talk, knowing that together, we were strong. Knowing that seeing him would immediately spark everything again. And it did.

But things quickly resumed and went back to bad. My ten-year high school reunion was approaching, and I didn’t want him there. I didn’t know why. I also knew that he most likely wouldn’t be able to attend anyway, so I didn’t invite him. When I told him, I was going back for it, he was obviously incredibly hurt that I didn’t invite him. Which of course caused another fight. And looking back, it was wrong of me and something I wish I could change. But the regrets don’t do any good. You learn and you move forward. You learn not to be shady. You learn that if you can’t be honest in your relationship, things will always fall apart. I blamed him for being jealous and possessive as to the reason for our breakup. It was easiest. Instead of looking at the part I played, I was convinced he was %100 responsible. At my ten-year reunion I connected with a big group of friends who I had become best friends with back in college. We had done everything together. So much laughter and fun. The reunion reminded me of that laughter. That carefree fun where I didn’t have to answer to anyone. I didn’t want to be in a relationship anymore. I wanted to cut the cord. I didn’t want to think. I didn’t want to worry or feel guilty having fun without him. Going out without him. I still was in love. But I was just over it. Our final break up happened when I returned from the reunion. He fought me like crazy with it. Sent me love songs, letters, promised counseling, sent a picture of the ring he was looking to buy me…But still I was solid in my decision.

He has always been in my thoughts and heart. I have moved through other relationships but it’s hard to ever forget a love that was as passionate as ours was. Although he seems to have taken a pill that forgot all our time together! Like a vampire performed mind compulsion on him! I told him this was just justification that I loved him more than he loved me thirteen years ago. We had an absolute blast together. So much laughter. When he left, I knew this wasn’t goodbye. I am almost certain there will never be a total goodbye between us. We will always share a deep friendship; of this I cannot doubt. I can see the pain that I caused. And that hurts me more than I can even describe. I hope beyond everything, he finally understands that I never cheated. That I truly loved him and will always hold a special place for him in my heart. He helped shape me. And whether he forgot many of the things we shared? It’s ok. I remember and I know that they have made me the person I am today. Like every relationship, we learn more about ourselves. Good and bad. It took me years later to admit my fault in our relationship. Breakups are never just one person’s fault. We share a part of the problems in any relationship. I wasn’t honest. I was young and scared to give up the lifestyle I loved of partying and being free.

Looking back, sharing memories, I am certain if we had stayed together in that time, we probably would have gotten married, had a couple kids, and ultimately parted ways. We come from two different worlds. And no matter how much you love someone, no matter how much you connect, timing is always something that comes into play. Places of where we are at in our lives. At 27, I just wasn’t ready for the intensity of what we had. It doesn’t mean that this wasn’t real love. I will never believe didn’t have a real and true love. I’ll always think of him as one of my great loves. A young love but also a great love. I watched everything with him our last time together. I felt everything with our laughter. We are genuine. We always have been. He is a great man. And I was lucky for a time in my life to have him love me. It’s a love that will live in me forever. A love that some will never feel. I am so incredibly grateful he allowed me that love. And even though I have yet to find that forever love, I wish for all to at some point feel a love like this. Unconditional. It’s what we all deserve to find. And no matter how much the risk is of playing with fire, sometimes it’s worth it just to remember that warmth. To remember that spark and have hope that someday, somehow, that spark can be reignited.

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