There was this guy, several years ago. I don't think of him often, but the other day, I was driving to Bartlett, Iowa to go to church with my family, and a song came on the radio and I was instantly taken back.
Sometimes I love that music can do that to you - take you back to a specific memory, a certain place at a certain time. That morning, however, I hated it.
I remember the exact moment when I ruined that relationship. I was at a bar, and I invited him out to play darts. Was I interested in him? Kind of, but I liked someone else more, and I was using this guy, we'll call him TR, to make the other guy jealous. Other Guy was at the same bar.
TR and I played darts, and we flirted, and he told me how much he liked me. I acted interested, I flirted harder, I lost on purpose at darts (I didn't have to try hard to lose...). Other Guy was watching.
Towards the end of the night, I went up to the bar to pay my tab, and Other Guy approached me, asking about TR. I played it off like he didn't mean anything. TR walked up behind me and put his arms around my waist. I wrinkled up my face in disgust, to show Other Guy I wasn't interested. But TR was much taller than me, and had a perfect view of my disgust.
"Oh, I see how it is," TR said. He let me go and walked straight out the door.
That wasn't the last time I talked to him, or even hung out with him. But it was never the same, and he made it very clear he wasn't interested. Which of course made me interested. So when things with Other Guy ended, I tried to win TR back. I even...asked him to be my boyfriend. And he laughed in my face.
I don't know that he's really the one that got away; I don't think we would have really made each other happy. But I hate that I hurt his feelings that night. And I hate that he hurt mine later.