To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before

By Tardsie

You Were All Pretty Awesome. Thanks.

The Crush: It wasn’t love, but it was something like it; a one-sided stage rehearsal for the real thing. I ached for you; you know that now. It made me laugh a little to find out years later it would have been mine for the taking, if only I’d mustered the courage to ask. You taught me, belatedly, to take a chance on great things.

The Choir Girl: I’m sorry for how I was–not bad, but not good, either. You deserved better and you found it. I could have learned a lot from you if I’d been willing to listen.

The English Department Darling: Just about the time I thought maybe I could love you it was over. You broke up with me for a reason neither of us really understood, launching a misguided comeback attempt a few months later when it was already too late. All these years later, and you’re still alone. You taught me that life is too short for games.

The Freshman: You were special, and I didn’t take the time to see that. About the only thing I can say in my defense is that I didn’t set out to break your heart. I can’t change what I did, but I can bring my boys up to hopefully be better men than their father. You taught me to be less capricious with my affections, and I’m sorry the lesson was so hard-learned.

The First Love: I’d known lots of girls before you, but I’d never loved them.  I still feel warm when I think of you. You taught me to love hard and to love without reservation. You taught me that some mistakes are forever.

The Accountant: Such a straight-arrow. Laces tied and corners trimmed. Still, you gave me freedom; your only rule for me was “Don’t be high around my parents,” and I never was–they were very kind to me. It didn’t work out, but we’re still friends, and you were so very good for me. You taught me what it was to be an adult.

The Playwright: A first-class muse and a beast in the sack, you taught me to trust myself as a writer and how a lot of hustle can make a little talent go a very long way. I couldn’t make you happy, though, and you taught me that I need a girl who is happy on her own. You’re married now and have a child. I hope you’re happy; I really do.

My Wife: The best of the bunch, and the true beneficiary of all those lessons I learned along the way. I met you when I was seventeen years old, before any of the others. All these years later, you’re still here. My patient, beautiful, loving angel. You are so much more than I deserve.

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20 Responses to To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before

  1. I appreciate your sort of moral inventory in regard to your past amores. I would have to be so much more cynical and snarky were I to embark on a similar examination, which probably doesn’t say much for either the kinds of males the likes of me attract, (if you want to go fishing, you need the right bait… which I do NOT possess) or my emotional maturity level.

    I have come to the point where I can refer with relative neutrality to my ex-husband as my son’s “male contributor of genetic material.” And I’ve lived with Jerry for well near 20 years (been married to him almost 19 of those) without strangling him. According to the scuttlebutt of both mutual friends and his co-workers, that’s an accomplishment.

    • Smaktakula says:

      Well, I think keeping a marriage alive for (nearly) two decades is an accomplishment. The longest relationship I’ve ever had in my life is eight years (and counting!).

      I have been lucky with the quality of the women who have stepped into my life, but so far, only one of them has ever worked out.

      • I have to admit, Jerry has his faults and some of them are major ones (he was raised by wolves after all) but I am not easy to live with either. I’m sure that my lack of emotional perception has to wear on him as well as my tendencies to be a bit absent-minded and scattered.

        In many ways we actually complement each other- he is extremely emotional and emotionally perceptive (unlike most men) while I tend to be more rational and practical (not typical for most women.) If I could just convince him that it is indeed, manly to pick up and throw away one’s own empty beer cans and to land one’s own soiled whitey-tighties down the chute, it would be an accomplishment. But it just wouldn’t seem like Jerry- and I don’t see it happening, ever.

  2. El Guapo says:

    If I were any less of a man, I wouldn’t say that this brought a tear to my eye. Fortunately, I am secure enough in my sexuality to admit that yes, in fact, there is a mote of dust that is causing said tear.

    Mrs. Smak is very lucky to have found a man who learned from his life lessons.

    • Smaktakula says:

      Thanks, Guap! This is sort of a departure from my normal stuff, but the urge to write this hit me yesterday when I should have been working. It was one of those things that I was glad to have written.

  3. Carrie Rubin says:

    Very nice that you can look at past loves, thank them, and not feel any regret, only happiness at finding the right one. Not many people can say that, so good on you both!

    • Smaktakula says:

      Thanks! I definitely have regrets, but never about the women themselves (at least, not the ones listed here!) or about the time spent with them. One thing all these women had in common was that they were (and are–I’m still in touch with most of them via Facebook) really good people–kind, creative, loving, funny, intelligent, patient people. I’ve done a lot of stupid things in my life, and been profligate in my affections, but I think I’ve been wise–or inordinately lucky–or perhaps both–in the caliber of person to whom I’ve given my heart.

  4. We learn a lot from the people we pass by in life. At least if we let ourselves. Nice assessment and I would think you could have written a book, but chose an appreciative recital instead.

  5. unfetteredbs says:

    Nicely done. Warm, sincere and loving.

  6. I want to echo what Carrie said. To be able to look back at all of your experiences with that kind of wisdom and acceptance is respectable.

  7. It’s funny how people shape and change us without us even knowing it until we look back on it in hindsight. There is something wonderful about the way your wife was the first and the last with the others in between, even though you didn’t know it at the time.

  8. “Don’t be high around my parents” — brilliant advice that made me chuckle, Smak. I could see WordPress contacting you about getting Freshly Pressed with this one.

  9. jmmcdowell says:

    It sounds like you’ve learned from all your life’s experiences, both the good and bad. That’s as it should be. If only everyone would do the same—our species might have a brighter future.

  10. Brigitte says:

    Now that I’ve found this post again and pardon my lateness. I just love this. It’s like you’re in the movies or something, Smak. It’s rare that one remains friends with their exes and it says a lot about you and these women. Very nice and the one about your wife, well that made me tear up a little. Bravo, Smak–I just love it when you show your vulnerable badass self. (smile)

  11. whiteladyinthehood says:

    I can’t agree more, Smakington! This post was perfect! Well done sir.

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