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.