IT HAPPENED TO ME: I Kept Running Into My Childhood Love All Around The World

We never planned any of it. We didn’t even actively keep in touch through those years. I guess you could say it was destiny.
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Adriana Herdan
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We never planned any of it. We didn’t even actively keep in touch through those years. I guess you could say it was destiny.

If my 24-year-old self could tell my 13-year-old self that my childhood summer love would follow me to adulthood, she would probably believe her/me. Then again, what 13-year-old doesn’t fantasize that her middle-school crush will be the man she eventually marries and has babies with?

In order to tell this story, I have to rewind to Wellesley, Massachusetts, in the summer of 2004. My parents had decided to send me there to a program that would help me perfect my English skills (I'm from Venezuela). 

As soon as I got there, I became best friends with a Mexican boy named Jorge, whose English skills were mediocre at best.

Jorge and I became fast friends that summer, mostly due to the fact that we were constantly lost in translation. Like most teenagers with raging hormones, we were always walking that fine line between being really close friends and being two people who simply loved each other. However, while I was busy exploring the American culture, he was keeping himself entertained with the American girls. And American girls are kind of hard to compete with.

In the end, our summer love never quite materialized. I was too invested in learning how to write in English while he was busy juggling multiple girlfriends (those Latin boys, I tell ya.) It wasn’t until the last day of camp that he decided to tell me he had feelings for me and what a shame it was that we had never gotten together. My reaction to all of this was thinking that he was always going to be a huge question mark in my life. 

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Throughout the following years, we kept unexpectedly meeting up in different places. We never really planned on seeing each other again, but somehow it just kept happening. 

In the summer of 2005, my family took a trip to Israel and I ran into him at a mall because he happened to be there on a school trip. In March 2006, my school took a trip to Mexico to visit other Jewish schools over there, and one of the schools we visited happened to be Jorge’s. In the summer of 2007, I did an exchange program with my school in Israel, and he happened to be there doing a leadership course. Again, we never planned any of this. In fact we didn’t even actively keep in touch throughout those years. I guess you could say it was “destiny,” whatever that means.

After I graduated high school, I decided to go to college in Paris. After only a few months there, I realized that while Paris is a nice fantasy, I felt much more akin to American culture. So I decided to apply to schools in Boston. A few weeks after I received my acceptance letters, Jorge sent me a message saying that he was going to be in Paris for a few hours and asking me if I wanted to meet up. I agreed and we went on a night stroll through the city of Paris (clichés exist for a reason right?) where he told me he would be enrolling in Boston University that fall, right down the street from Emerson College, which is where I had decided to go to. 

We could hardly believe that after all these years of random encounters we were finally going to live in the same city.

I could lie and tell you that after we moved to Boston it was the perfect love story and that we are currently planning our wedding, but that couldn’t be father from the truth. The reality is that, as a lot of things in life, our romance was much more fabulous when it seemed impossible. Throughout our four years in Boston we tried to make it happen so many times, but our personalities and life visions just proved to be incompatible, for a romantic relationship at least.

Although we never worked out as a couple, we always kept each other around. When you have so much history with a person, it is very hard to delete them from your life. I never considered him the leading man in mine, but his cameo appearances shaped my interests and sensibilities in a way only someone you meet when you are very young can shape them. It’s the kind of love where you don’t have to give any explanations. The other person simply understands.

Regardless of how much I changed in those years, he never let me forget the things I was so passionate about and always pushed me to follow my dreams of being a writer. I studied journalism because, in this profession, it would never be about me. It's ironic I am writing a personal essay, but in reality it’s about him. 

Our story ended with me selling him my bed when I left Boston. I hope that the fact that he knows it once belonged to me is not giving him too many sleepless nights. In the meantime, I cant help but wonder where life is going to reunite us again.