I finished reading Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins and it was crazy how many emotions and memories this book brought out of me. So let me get this story off my chest….and please bear with me as I pretty much vomit this story out.
Lola’s relationship with Max, who was older than her by five years, was very realistic for me. It showed how most of the time, dating someone that much older than you, at her age, is not a good idea and most likely will never end well. I speak from experience, as my first boyfriend was four years older than me when I was fifteen. Some of the things that shown through in Max, his condescension, jealousy, possessiveness, were things that were also present in my relationship then. I’m not saying this is always the case, but I would definitely discourage it.
Like I mentioned above, when I was fifteen, my very first boyfriend was nineteen. Four years older than me! I felt incredibly confident about myself for having caught the attention of someone so much older. I talked about him constantly and flaunted pictures of us to my classmates. Girls hated on me for this reason, but I didn’t care. They were just jealous. We would talk everyday, go out on the weekends, he showered me with compliments…I was on cloud nine. He made me feel grown up, but really, it was an illusion. The more grown up he made me feel, be it with his words or his touch, the more I believed I was ready to do the most grown up thing I could imagine at that time: have sex. It’s safe to say that once that bridge was crossed, things changed. No longer did our relationship have that cloud nine feeling of first love. In fact, I didn’t like what it had turned into. Sex shattered that illusion for me, but for him, it added a possessiveness I could not handle. We would constantly fight about who my friends were to what I wore. He always accused me of lying. I was always crying, trying to make up for things I never did wrong. And I could not find the courage to break up with him.
That same year, I started hanging out with a couple of other kids in my same grade. Our little group settled on including three girls and two boys. We were always together. One of the boys was the nicest, kindest boy I had ever met. He always had a smile or a kind compliment for me, then later after things changed with my boyfriend, a shoulder to cry on. I could talk to him about everything, and we had so many things in common. He liked me…I knew this. I had a crush on him, but I also still had a boyfriend. He was the reason I finally found the courage to end things. I was relieved to finally have someone telling me how wrong it all was. Knowing that someone – him – would be there for me really helped. Things with my boyfriend ended badly. He got angry, yelled, made threats to end his life if…it was scary. Of course, he never actually intended to end his life if I didn’t come back to him, he just wanted to control me once more.
Soon, that guy became a bad experience and memory, and the nice boy became my actual first love. He gave me a single rose on Valentine’s Day and asked me to be his girlfriend. He wrote me sweet letters, and poems, and dedicated songs to me. It was innocence once again. And when we took that next step, it was sweet and full of love…and it didn’t make me feel like it was wrong, as it had before with my ex. It was everything, it was first love, for real this time. We were one of those couples in school, the ones where everyone knows you two are together, because we were always in each other’s arms. Holding hands, hugging, kissing. It was wonderful.
It ended though. All my doing. I broke his heart…shattered it, really. I changed from a nice girl to a rebellious teenager one year and ruined my relationship with him by making huge mistakes. He was the type of nice guy that everyone liked, and after we broke up, people hated me. Especially girls who were his friends. I certainly didn’t deserve him by the end and I thought he would hate me forever, but he was a better person than anyone I knew. He remained friendly with me…distant, but friendly, which was more than I could have hoped for. Things changed even more, and by the time we graduated high school, we hardly even talked. So when he unexpectedly asked to sign my yearbook, I was surprised, and I certainly didn’t feel I deserved this:
I had thought he hated me! Needless to say I bawled my eyes out after reading this. But it was what he said, the real end to our story. We went our separate ways, forever.
I lived and learned and I’ve never treated someone I loved that much that way again. Somehow the universe finally forgave me for that one and gave me my fiancé, who is just as amazing as my first love.
So, this is it. I had to get that off my chest, and now I have. Thanks for bearing with me as I spilled my guts to you.