We were going to get married the following year, and I was going to continue writing while he got his new business off the ground, and we were going to be deliriously happy. That was the plan – well, that was my plan. His plan, if he ever had one, remained a mystery to me, and the whole romance faded away in a series of incremental withdrawals and muted hurts. He didn’t know he’d bewitched me with his playful intelligence, his unfairly beautiful body, his dogged search for higher meaning. He had no idea that he was the first man I’d ever genuinely loved, or that I wanted to have 10 kids with him. Worse, maybe he did know. Maybe he knew and didn’t care. I never could figure that out.
The relationship ended after just over a year, not terribly long by relationship standards. Except that it never really ended – not for me, anyway. We went separate ways, to be sure, severing all ties. But I continued to wonder what had become of him, and I filled in the blanks with the only resource available to me: my imagination. This was before Facebook, even before the Internet, and so I envisioned him doing it all – working hard, reading good books, grappling with life’s inevitable sorrows, and, yes, dating women whose faces and breasts were nicer than mine.