We grew up together…possibly too fast in a laid back city where status mattered. Her status was popular at a young age…she had that look that all the guys adored. If you knew her…you knew she was bigger than her looks. You knew she was a smart young girl trying to figure it out...who happened to fall in love at the tender age of 13. Middle school was where we met but we didn’t know each other well. High school was where we became good friends...then college where we constantly looked out for each other...and post graduation where we became family.
She was gorgeous. She couldn’t go anywhere without men complimenting her and/or making an advance. Time after time I watched her politely decline their empty statements to get her attention...for her heart belonged to someone and to that someone she was loyal. Come to think of it…she was always loyal. Twice upon a time she was loyal to a fault.
The first time we were so young that I couldn’t believe her feelings were so real towards one of our peers…but they were…and it took everything in her to get over him after 7 to 8 years…BUT she did! The relationship had become so unhealthy that I was glad she eventually stepped away from the one thing she thought she was so sure of. We were young and dumb but I admired her effort to try to make a relationship work with a young man that was drastically growing in an opposite direction of what she was seeking. After years of frustration, crying, and constantly hurting over his actions...I was glad to see her enter the next stage of her life especially after spending freshmen and sophomore year tied to someone who wasn’t physically or emotionally present. He was more manipulative and controlling than he was loving.
She was finally enjoying college and part of her new experience consisted of a new love with a handsome suave young man who happened to be favored by many women on campus. He had the look, the car, the charm, and did everything right to capture her heart.
She moved in with me the summer before senior year because the university didn’t grant her summer housing. During that time she wasn’t around too much. She was in school, at work, and in love so her presence was limited. One evening she came in with her significant other and I was granted the opportunity to meet him. He seemed like a good guy to me...and she was extremely happy...so I was happy for her.
As the summer progressed I watched her mood change…
The guy who had done everything right to capture her heart was no longer making her feel special. I witnessed it first hand with my other roommates on a cool summer evening when she was preparing to go on a date with him. He pulled up outside the house in his mustang and honked the horn…I heard her tell him to come inside....
His response was the screeching tires of his mustang as he pulled off! All I could say was wow! I thought he was joking…but when he didn’t come back I knew he wasn’t right for her and I think she knew it too. She was really hurt that night and I’m sure she was embarrassed as well. She continued seeing him and I heard her complaints about his behavior from time to time but she remained loyal to him through it all.
Summer left and so did she as she moved out at the top of our senior year. I didn’t see her much that year but I recall us crossing paths on campus and briefly catching up. When I asked how things were going with him she said she was no longer dealing with him and was working on moving forward.
After commencement we didn’t see each other until I received a call from her saying she was looking for a place to stay. I had more than enough room and another summer with my friend seemed like a great idea to me…so she moved in. This summer was reminiscent of the summer she stayed with me before senior year because somehow her college lover made his way back in her life and was already back to his old disrespectful ways. I didn’t know he was in her life until the day I knocked on her door and found her sobbing…That’s when she told me everything about her getting over him…and him doing everything right to get her back again just to do the same thing he did the first time. She wanted answers, she wanted it to work with him, she saw their lives together, and she was willing to try to make it work.
One hot Saturday afternoon she went to my friend’s apartment complex to swim and clear her head. This friend of mine was going through a similar situation so they talked for hours. She returned home feeling better and spoke highly about my friend and the wisdom he gave on her situation.
The year progressed and slowly but surely she came out of her shell and we would talk daily about our lives and what we were dealing with from love, to heartbreak, to finding our identity, our goals, and our dreams. She had her good days and her bad days dealing with her situation. It was amazing how this man had a hold on her heart for so long...but everybody has their breaking point and hers came a year after she moved in.
It was homecoming and my friend who let her come swim at his complex the summer before was in town. He had moved out of the city and was in a better place mentally and emotionally. He came in the house and I told him she was in her room. He knocked on the door and said hey…
Followed by “what’s wrong?” then followed by “Whatever is wrong, I just hope that you’re not crying over the same situation we talked about last year in that swimming pool.”
After he said those words she let out a cry that I had never heard before. It was as if her entire soul cried out! I believe that those words from my friend opened her eyes to see herself in a way that she hadn’t before. That cry was the good cry that everyone goes through in mourning…the cry that represents you’re at your breaking point…and she needed that cry to begin to get ALL the hurt out of her system. It was time for her to begin to get rid of all the guilt she felt about being walked over and feeling like a fool in love who had been taken advantage of. In that very moment she knew it was over…that statement removed the veil from over her eyes about her relationship as well as herself.
It was the end of an era and although it took her a year of dealing with a rotten situation I was glad to see it come to an end. In the following weeks I watched her pick herself up and begin to rebuild her life outside of her relationship with him. She finally understood she could never make him love her the way she loved him. She moved out of my place but we always stayed in touch. She took the time she needed to be alone and deal with herself after the heartbreak. She didn’t date for over a year just to clear her heart and conscious of the situation. It was good to have my friend back in a healthy state and I was and still am extremely proud of her today.
She didn’t let these love experiences taint her perception of love when she chose to date again. She used these experiences as a learning curve and was accountable for the decisions she made while she was in these relationships. She became more aware of herself and what she needs from a male counterpart and sticks to that over anything.
I learned plenty from watching her situation unfold, her recovery, and the wonderful place she's in now. I titled this piece "The Good Cry Young," because I have hopes that we can learn and grow from our mistakes now instead of making the same mistakes over and over and over again in relationships. If your significant other doesn't want to grow...have a good cry over them, mourn the relationship and what could've been, and then press forward with your life and go get what can be! It's never too late...
Aaron "Ab" Abernathy
P.S. If you're in the DC area on June 5th...I would love to see you at Bohemian Caverns for my Soul Session.