At the beginning of the summer, I was floating in the pool with Lynn and I said these words, "I am going to have a summer romance. I just really want one. I need one. And, I want it to be with your friend, Lewis. Tell me good things about him."
I am not Lewis' girlfriend. Lewis isn't my boyfriend. We communicated early on in this and we found out that neither of us were looking for a relationship. There is no question about it. We have no expectations of each other. We hang out, because we want to. We spend time together because we don't have forever to spend time together. We are on a timeline that has an end-point. In two weeks, I will go back to New England and he will stay here. Our lives will continue and we will be left with nothing but good memories of each other.
Last night, as I was explaining some nerdy saying to him, he told me that he liked my hair. I had just put energy and effort into explaining a slightly difficult concept and he just smiled and looked at me. He liked my hair. As I looked back at him, I wondered, "What is this I am feeling?" It's not love. Love is a thing that I don't understand right now. I don't have room for it and I don't think you can feel it for someone this quickly. I have also always associated love with structured relationships and monogamy. This is none of those things. We aren't in a structured relationship. We aren't monogamous. This is an affection you can only feel when you are perfectly free with someone. An affection that can only be active and alive briefly, but can live on in memory forever.
Yet, when we lay next to each other, working away on our computers, it's so simple. He inspires me. We motivate each other to be better. When we talk, we both get this spark and we have the same goals and the same views. Spending time together is so good and so easy. We are friends. We are lovers. And one of the best parts of all of it is, we don't have to talk about what it is going on with us. We know. We know exactly what's going on. We are enjoying each other. It's not going anywhere, it's not growing into anything. There is no final goal looming over our heads. I don't even know how long we have been seeing each other. It doesn't matter. At no point, will I expect anything more from him, nor he from me. We have this freedom. We are free to enjoy each other. Free to talk about stupid shit and free to stay up all night making love. We are free to live recklessly, because in two weeks I will be gone. This will be over.
So, maybe when I look at him love is what I am feeling. But, it's not that romantic kind of love that people associate with looking deep into a lover's eyes. I love the fact that he has never and will never disappoint me. I love that I don't, and will never, have bad memories of him. I love that we don't have titles and boundaries put on each other and that we are free when we are together. I love that I can trust him, because we have no reasons to lie to each other. I love knowing that when he is with me it's because he wants to be, not because of any obligation. At the same time, I love that he held my hand when we woke up this morning. I am not 'in love' with Lewis. I don't really know what to call what I feel for him. I respect him and moments with him are some of my favorite in the world right now. But, when I go, no hearts will break. We will both just go on.
This isn't a fairy tale. It's better than that. This is reality. And the reality is, this was the summer romance I had hoped for. He was exactly what I needed, everything I wanted. We aren't characters from some cheesy movie. This isn't the story of the woman trying to find her independence and, in her search, she finds a man and love. It's not going to end like that. I will be across the country and the odds of us hooking up in the future are slim to none. I never say never. I may see him, but we won't ever be those people working on building something. We won't ever fight or have bad memories of each other. I am happy and the best way to describe this romance is bitter-sweet. I am not happy to leave this. He is great and great things are hard to give up. But, on August 31st, Lewis will be filed away in my memory...
... under "Great Romances, Past."