The One Who Got Away?

2 min read

A Trip Down Memory Lane from "The One Who Got Away?" by The Girl Next Door is BlackI met a guy at summer camp during the break between my freshman and sophomore year of high school. His name – I won’t tell you – but, I’ll say that he’s named after an American city. Ok, fine, let’s call him Trenton, just because. I even remember his last name, which isn’t a common one. I couldn’t tell you the name of my first grade teacher, but I remember his name.

His older sister, a pretty and vivacious soon-to-be junior, was the popular girl at camp. She held court in our room some nights, sharing her glorious makeup and beauty tips as we gossiped about the male campers we thought were cute.

I didn’t tell her I had a ginormous crush on her younger brother. What if she told him?! I’d be mortified. I think she figured it out though. I always grew quieter and bashful when he was in range.

They say girls love bad boys. I’ve never been the type. Ok fine, there was one guy in 7th grade who wore a leather jacket, Drakkar Noir cologne by the buckets, a silver chain around his neck, plain white T’s, Docs and only seemed mildly interested in paying attention in class. He always smiled at me flirtatiously. He turned out to be a big softie.

Trenton was a genuine nice guy with a warm smile and dimples that made my heart pound furiously. I live for dimples. If I could get dimple implants, I would (then again, voluntary surgery? Maybe not). One of our camp enrichment activities included sharing our deep inner teen thoughts as we formed friendships around a campfire, underneath the bright stars, on balmy southwest Texas nights, to the soundtrack of an acoustic guitar.

Trenton always had words of encouragement at the ready. I felt good around him and it wasn’t just that my head floated up into the clouds whenever I got within five feet of him. We each got assigned work duty at camp in exchange for free room and board. Each night we rotated through camp chores, some easier and more pleasant than others. On my night to clean up after dinner – one of the more tedious and extended tasks – he stayed after to help us out. It wasn’t even his night! Swoon.

We bonded over our love of the Pearl Jam Ten CD. It was the height of the grunge era and though I didn’t fit the profile of a typical grunge rock fan, the music spoke to my teenage angst. I nearly melted when he told me his favorite track: “Black.” That’s my favorite song on the CD too! We are so meant to be together! We listened to the track on a Discman (Hahahaha, I’m old). My heart threatened burst from happiness.

To this day, whenever I hear that song, I think of him sometimes, and I feel that happiness again for a moment.

Campfire from "The One That Got Away?" by The Girl Next Door is BlackNothing ever happened with us; I’m not sure why. Maybe he was just as shy. Maybe I mistook his kindness and focused conversation for interest when it was nothing more than a guy being friendly. Who knows?

We fell out of touch after we left camp for home. These were the days before email, texting and Facebooking, so it was easier to lose contact with people.

I returned to the same camp the next summer, hoping he’d be there, but neither he nor his sister were at the session.

I never saw him again.

Everyone once in a while I think about him and wonder how he’s doing. I’ve Googled him, but had no luck. I imagine he’s married. I bet he has a beautiful wife and two perfect little children in a sprawling house with a Labrador retriever and a Siamese cat.

What if we’d been something though?

Is there anyone from your past you wonder about?

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22 Comments
  • FitTriangleMom
    March 16, 2015

    I remember my first love. It only lasted a month before he dumped me for another girl, but I still saw him occasionally at the mall where I worked. Then he visited me at work one day and told me he joined the Army and was shipping out. I saw him once a few years later when he was home visiting family, and then never again. I sometimes wonder about him. I hope he’s happy and that he found what he was looking for. Thanks for sharing your memories and reminding me to remember mine. Thanks also for sharing on the Small Victories Sunday link up.

  • Crystal From Tidbits of Experience
    March 15, 2015

    I spent many years wondering what Del was doing and how he was holding up, but I am now back with him and happily married to him. I have been back with him going on nine years now.

    Once you have a connection with someone you know they are the one. This is a great story.

  • The Naughty Mommy
    March 12, 2015

    I went to Cancun with my family when I was a senior in high school. I fell IN LOVE (or so I thought!) with this guy who was staying at our hotel. He was older than me, but from the midwest and super friendly. We didn’t even hook-up, so it was similar to your story. And I, too, have Googled him and never found him! LOL.

  • Terry Tyler
    March 11, 2015

    Oh, I so know this one!!!!! I wonder how often you might cross HIS mind… (I bet you do now and again!). Look, I want to FIND this guy, now!!!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      March 11, 2015

      Hahaha, Terry! I hadn’t even really thought about it from his perspective. You’ve given me something else to wonder about. 🙂

  • kennedydesousa727
    March 9, 2015

    That is such a beautiful story. Really nostalgic! That’s how I’d feel about my girl if she didn’t decide to not pursue a long distance relationship with me in freshman year of high school. Maybe you guys were lovers in a previous life and in this one you both decided to briefly and go at it separately!

    Have you ever met an ex. that took a crazy direction in life? I ran into one of my ex’s from the middle school days randomly at a mall and I must say I am SO HAPPY she left me! Only way I recognized her was through her eyes. Well anyway that special person is out there girl your freaking awesome!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      March 9, 2015

      That’s mighty kind of you sir!

      I’ve run into guys I’ve dated in the past and that’s exactly where they should stay. Nostalgia is good. Sometimes it’s good to leave it at that!

  • Mrs. AOK
    March 8, 2015

    This was lovely!
    First off your 7th grade crush sounds like a hottie!
    Dimples are my kryptonite, which my husband has figured out 😉

    The 90’s!! Thank goodness we didn’t have all the stuff the kids have these days (oh snap I just sounded really old), although I wish we did, so you could find him!!! I want the two of you to meet up in Seattle at a cute little hipsterish coffee shop and talk about camp, 90’s music, and how you’ve both thought about each other over the years.

    That was kind of weird of me to narrate your {future} life…. sorry.
    XOXO

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      March 8, 2015

      Thank you!

      Yeah, that guy in 7th grade – he made social studies so much more interesting. :p

      I am definitely glad SM didn’t exist when I was a teen/tween. I shudder to think of all the nonsense I’d be scrambling to remove from the internet. lol

      I visited Seattle a few years ago and went to the EMP where they have all kinds of grunge memorabilia. It was amazing. I felt like a teenager again. You are free to narrate my future life; I’ve seen how your write, so I trust you’d do me justice.

  • Rebecca Meyer
    March 7, 2015

    I’ve sometimes wondered what happened to those guys I haven’t seen in years and who could have been potential good friends or even boyfriends. I guess everything happens for a reason though.

  • Jes @ Deadpan Diaries
    March 7, 2015

    I think everyone can relate to those experiences from youth. Someone whips up your fancy, and then disappears. It’s funny how social media has crossed my path with people I had long forgotten! Great work!

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      March 7, 2015

      Thanks, Jes! Social media really has changed friendships. I wonder sometimes whether I’d be in touch with more poeple from my childhood if social media had existed then. Of course, for many other reasons, I’m kind of happy it didn’t exist! 🙂

  • BritishMumUSA
    March 6, 2015

    Wow, this is awesome, it took me right back to camp and meeting my husband. I got butterflies in my stomach listening to you tell how he stayed after to help clean up “Not on his day” how cool is that 🙂 Young love is so awesome.

    You know there was my best friend from Primary School, Hayes School Her name was Kim Hodgkins and she rocked. When I moved to the USA we had been out of touch for years…. Then one day a friend of a friend of a friend sent me a link saying that she was looking for me. I found the post on some weird social media that England was using at the time. Prior to Facebook. I never heard from her.

    One day maybe we will reunite.

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      March 8, 2015

      One day I need to hear the full story of how you met your husband. I’m intrigued.

      I hope you find your childhood best friend (and that she’s super cool and not crazy in the least. 😉 ).

  • trininista
    March 6, 2015

    Wow. Today I had cause to re-read how I found a childhood penpal after losing touch in our teens. It was a great story and luckily we did meet and had an amazing time for that fleeting moment. I learnt today that she died. I have so many people I have lost touch with and never heard from again and like you I wonder and wonder. At least with this one, we knew where the other was, and had the chance to catch up and make up for lost time. I hope you get that with the ones that made a lasting impression. (hugs)

    • The Girl Next Door is Black
      March 6, 2015

      I’m so sorry about your friend. 🙁 My condolences.

      I’m with you, there a quite a few friends from my childhood/past whom I wonder about. My own post got me thinking. Haha. I’ve been trying for the longest to find my best friend from elem. school. It’s harder sometimes to find women because some change their name after marriage and drop the maiden one.

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