By RUTH M.
There is something very sentimental about returning home. I honestly can’t imagine going anywhere else for Fall Break. This year I returned to everything that feels comfortable: the smell of my home, my dog, my childhood bedroom filled with high school awards and pictures of distant friends and my favorite teddy bear waiting patiently on my bed. I was happy to hug my parents and have home-cooked meals, but the piece of comfort I looked forward to most was seeing my ex-boyfriend.
It had been two years since we broke up and I finally felt that I was completely over him. So when he texted me asking if I wanted to meet up for drinks when we were both home, I agreed, looking forward to catching up with someone who used to mean so much to me. We met up at a local restaurant and as soon as our eyes met I felt butterflies in my stomach. I was nervous to see him and suddenly felt flustered, wondering if my hair looked okay and if I had put on any weight since he last saw me. Despite having no romantic interest in him, I was still worried about whether or not he was attracted to me. I didn’t want him to ever think of me as a mistake.
We ordered our drinks and appetizers and made casual conversation as the introduction to Taylor Swift’s “Back to December” ran through my head: “How’s life? Tell me, how’s your family?” Except the lyrics stopped when Taylor started to lament the end of the relationship. I really truly was, and am, over him. The only thing nagging me the whole time we sat across from each other was the familiar smell of his cologne. That smell made me want to curl up in his lap like old times and maybe that’s why, as we were walking home after a few drinks, I let him kiss me. That kiss felt the same as I felt when I laid in my childhood bed, or drove the family car, or anything else familiar I did while home. It wasn’t magical or passionate, it just felt like reliving a memory.
He came inside with me and we quietly tiptoed to the den where we started to watch one of our old favorite shows. He kissed me again and while it still lacked magic, I decided I wanted to go further. The sex between us used to be so good, and I wouldn’t mind feeling that again. Things heated up and clothes came off and he entered me and nothing happened. I didn’t feel electrified or immensely turned on, and he could tell. He pulled out and went down on me. He always knew exactly what to do to get me off and I always considered him to be the best sex I’ve ever had — yet, even as I felt him hit all the right spots, my mind wasn’t completely into it. Even as he whispered dirty words into my ear that used to excite me, I just felt turned off. Eventually my body gave in to the pleasure and I came, and then we continued to have sex until he came, but it just didn’t feel like I thought it would. The magic was gone. Our bodies fell into the familiar rhythm but my mind didn’t. I found myself reflecting on how sad I was when we broke up, and thinking about the girls he must have slept with after me.
I was no longer attracted to his body, his appearance or even his personality. I really was only attracted to the familiar, comfortable feeling of being with him. I don’t love driving the family car, but driving standard instantly comes back to me. I’m not still close with a number of people featured in the pictures hung up around my room, but I like seeing a younger version of myself having fun with them and reflecting on the memories. Maybe it’s senior year nostalgia, or maybe it’s my impending move far away from home after graduation, but I craved familiarity and all I got was disappointment. I would have been better off with the pleasant memories of our sex life rather than trying to relive it. When he asked if I wanted him to stay over, I told him no, that my parents would be up early, when really I just didn’t think I would get any warm fuzzy feelings from cuddling with him. I would rather go cuddle with that old teddy bear.
He has texted me a few times since Fall Break and he is a decent friend, but that’s all he should be. He seems to think we’re going to hook up again but I just can’t see it happening. The romance is gone and sex with him has gone from two passionate people living in the moment to two bodies moving in an old and worn out rhythm.
Ruth M. is a senior in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m Just Gonna Shake It appears alternate Thursdays this semester.