It's always easier to think of those things that were a tragic loss. Where letting go was not easy. Like that balloon when I was five. The one that my brother convinced me would be so much cooler to see floating up into the sky and becoming a tiny dot before disappearing in the atmosphere. Long before it shrunk to that size, the tears made it difficult to see and no matter how much I grasped at the air it wouldn't come back down again. And it didn't help matters that my brother was laughing the whole time.
But there are things that are so much more enjoyable when you see them floating away. There are things we grasp onto and can't let go even though they are bad for us. For some, it might be a security blanket, or a drug. For others, it's people we don't want to hurt. So we hold onto them as tight as we can until we realize they are hurting us more than any possible pain which might be caused by absence.
The first person that comes to mind is Milla, who somehow convinced me that it was okay if she was cheating on her New York boyfriend with me. I mean, come on, how was he going to find out if he's three states away. Right? Well, I wasn't hurting anyone. It was her conscience, man. I was on the rebound. And she really wanted me. So it felt good, and kind of adventurous.
But she would say things like, "You can always be the guy I cheat on my boyfriends with." It kind of creeped me out, but it was exciting. Cheap and dirty. Criminal almost. Since I was heading off to college, I didn't take it very seriously anyway. Then she started coming to visit me at campus, and we talked constantly for hours on the phone.
Of course, my suspicions rose when her stories of Dewey kept getting more and more prominent in our phone conversations. I jokingly asked her what was up with him. She always jumped to the defensive. "Nothing. We're just friends. And besides. Ew. Dewey? Come on?" And I believed her.
Then the fateful day came when we were having a completely normal conversation. It wasn't like she said, "Hey Allan we need to talk." Or anything like that. She just blurted it out. They were hanging after drama club. Dewey got closer to her. Put his arm around her. Kissed her. "He kissed you?"
"No, we kissed," she said.
"Oh. You kissed him back," I said.
I told her that I had known it the whole time. That I had given her the chance to come clean with me long before it was too late. And now it was too late. I was enraged and told her I couldn't believe that she would do such a thing. Shows how naive I wish I had been.
She said, "Both you AND Dewey can just go to hell as far as I care."
I slammed the receiver down on the phone. That was the first and last time I've ever done that. It felt good. I took a deep breath. Then I felt like I could float away. Glancing at the clock, I saw that the time had arrived to meet my friends in the dining hall. I skipped down the seven flights of stairs, three or four steps at a time. It was such a relief to finally be rid of this craziness called Milla.
Since then I've seen her a total of two times. Once, when I was back at my old high school to watch a play. I actually ran away from her while she was calling after me. And once again, years later, when I waited on her during a four month restaurant stint. She was having a romantic dinner with a scrawny, arched-eyebrow guy. She was wearing a wedding band. But I don't think he was.