Mom, Dad, avert your eyes. I’m about to talk about sex. I felt that my expectations were measured and within the realm of reason; I just didn’t want to look back in ten years and reflect on my first time through an overhanging cloud of embarrassment, shame, or boozy hangover-ness. I instead chose to wait until it was with someone that I trusted, that I cared about, and that I knew cared about me. Let me be clear – I knew this person was not the great love of my life, and after a while, the relationship ran its course. Yet my first time story doesn’t make me want to die inside, and no one can take that away from me.
While that first relationship didn’t work out, I learned a great deal about what I wanted out of a romantic partnership. We often view impermanence from the viewpoint of its conclusion, a loss that feels akin to failure. Like if you had worked a little bit harder, put in more time, you might have salvaged the connection. Yet I’ve seen this on many a vivid Pinterest board, that “some people are meant to be in our lives forever… some are just passing through to teach us a lesson.” The reality is that sometimes, we just grow apart. A relationship, a partnership, a friendship, that once served you at a particular time, now no longer fills your cup. That’s okay. You can still look back and recognize these connections as an important plot point towards your greater story.
In Abby Hanlon’s Dory Fantasmagory, the titular character is informed that wackadoodle adventures won’t work in the first grade. Will Dory have to shed her imaginary friend in favor of fitting in? While Erin Entrada Kelly’s Blackbird Fly witnesses a friendship dissolving based on newfound interests, John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines takes you on a ride (literally, as it’s a road trip story) as one prodigy searches for the theorem that will rid him of any future heartbreak. Good luck. Finally, Nick Hornby’s Just Like You throws in an interesting twist as two adults fall in love in a way that feels ‘off script.’ Though the ending is left to interpretation, it may force you to reckon with the idea that the ‘good for now’ can maybe become the ‘good for ever?’