Sophomore year had left me ready to move on. I had a big mission’s trip to Mexico City planned, and I was ready to forget about you and Liz. I left Phoenix feeling excited about the future. When I landed in Dallas and took the bus to our training camp, I couldn’t help but wonder what was in store for me. When I arrived at camp, I immediately met my team who were all super friendly and just as excited to be there as I was. There was a boy on my team who immediately singled me out. Jackson was a southern boy who lived in white t-shirts and jeans, played guitar and sang like an angel. He wasn’t you, but he was really into me.
I remember thinking, “But…I’m not the prettiest or coolest girl here, and he’s obviously the prettiest coolest guy here, maybe I’m imagining things.” But nope. That kid was totally into me. So I leaned into the feeling and thought, “Well, if I can’t have Tim…this guy is pretty amazing, maybe I should go for it.” So I did. Jackson and I agreed to continue our relationship long distance. He called me every night and for a few months, it was perfect. I had a boyfriend. He would sing to me over the phone, tell me about his football games, and say, “I love you” in his southern drawl. We made promises to each other to wait for each other and reunite in college and then get married. He was trying to persuade his family to come to Arizona on vacation. I talked at length with his Mama on the phone, got to know his little brother who adored me, and generally felt like this could be it. It wasn’t you, but at least he had wanted me, and this felt easy.
As with most high school relationships, Jackson and I slowly drifted apart. I got the sense there was someone else, and to be honest babe, I never really got over you. You and I became closer during the first semester of junior year, and I started to relax around you. We dissected cats in Anatomy class, joked around in Chemistry class, and solved crimes in Forensics class. You got flirty, but I convinced myself you were that way with every girl, and tried not to think about it. After all, I was still dating Jackson.
Eventually, Jackson called me one day to tell me there was another girl and he wanted to take her to homecoming. I had a mixture of emotions, part of me was relieved. Things had grown tense between us, and I was ready for the relationship to end, but I also felt like, “Was I not enough? He found someone else when he told me he wanted to marry me!” I hung up the phone with a pit in my stomach, feeling both relieved and sad. And alone again. Back at square one.
I hadn’t been enough for Jackson. The guy I had dated my sophomore year left me for someone he swore “meant nothing” to him, and I had convinced myself that You were never going to be into me. November ended with me feeling like I never wanted to date again. And then something shifted with you that left me reeling…