This post is a guest post from The Queen of Broken Hearts. Enjoy!
When I was 15, I cheated on the love of my life with a Danish smurf.
Or, rather, a 16-year-old blue-haired Dane named Joakim who made me believe that a dance with his devil was worth throwing away a year-long courtship with a sweet, unassuming boy who had captured my heart 12 months prior.
I remember the day I met Morton. It was the summer before my freshman year. I was finally starting to look like a normal human being after a most unfortunate period where I was more reminiscent of my brother than a younger version of my mother.
I had signed up to be a part of an exchange program wherein 12 students from my hometown would host 12 kids from Denmark for a summer, and they would host us the next. Spanning two summers before the dawn of the internet, it was the kind of experience where relationships would flourish under the most traditional of circumstances – letters sealed with kisses, sent slowly across the pond.
When Morton first got off the plane, it wasn’t love at first sight. He was strange. He smelled and looked different from any other boy in my hometown. His English was broken, but mostly understandable. He wore skinny jeans 15 years before boys wore them here. He was the first foreign boy I had ever met.
That first night, a group of us went to see Batman Begins. Because what’s a better place to get to know our first non-American friends than a quiet theater? It was the desperation to get to know one other mixed with the forced silence and obviously surging hormones that heightened the excitement. I haven’t had that much fun at the movies since.
By the time the movie was over, Morton and I had shared a few surreptitiously delicious glances over our buckets of popcorn. But it wasn’t until the next day that I like to say we fell in love.
At a popular amusement park, Morton and I “somehow,” got separated from the group. This was before the era of cell phones, with no means to find our friends. When we realized we were mutually happy being lost, it was one of those movie moments where the camera will blur everything else in the shot other than the two people, in love, protected and connected by some indescribable force.
Maybe that’s why I believe my life is a romantic comedy – because I’ve experienced those moments.
The month that followed was one of the best in my life. Morton was my first love. It was a connection I hadn’t had until then, or, sometimes I think, since. We knew the month was coming to a close, but we were comforted by the promise that we would see each other the next summer when I came to Denmark.
When you know that your love is managed by the hands of a clock, you enjoy every second.
I still have the first letter Morton sent me a month after he went home.
“Dear Megan – How are you? I miss you so much. I don’t know what else to say other than I love you. So I will fill the page with it.”
And he did – 127 “I love yous” on the page. It was the most romantic thing I had ever received. And since.
When it was time to go to Denmark the next summer, I had grown up a lot. High school changes a person. Morton and I had exchanged dozens of letters over the year, each one more strained than the last with the weight of the distance between us. But we knew there would soon be a time where we would be reunited.
This time, when I got off the plane in Copenhagen, something had changed. When I saw Morton, a wave of paralyzing fear came over me. Despite the words we had exchanged all year, all of the “I love and miss yous,” I didn’t know what to say.
While we eventually warmed to each other again, it wasn’t the same. Time and distance had turned us into different people. I knew his feelings were the same, but my heart had been hardened. From what? I don’t know. And I think I subconsciously blamed him for my sudden insecurity.
Being in a foreign country for the first time, without parents, leaves one extremely vulnerable. And yet, it wasn’t Morton who took advantage of that vulnerability and lured me into a private tent at a backyard sleepover. It was Joakim.
While that wasn’t the defining coming-of-age moment, I’ll just say it was a significant step in me exploring my sexuality. Morton knew it was happening and said nothing. After all, it was in his parents’ backyard that the seduction took place. Not saying a word, he was decorum incarnate.
Not surprisingly, the standard story of adolescent romance played out from there. Girl loves boy. Girl is talked into betraying boy with the promise of love from another. The other loves her and leaves her. Boy moves on.
While we didn’t speak for years after that, Facebook has allowed Morton and I to reconnect, and I’ve loved seeing how he’s lived his life in the 15 years since, growing up to be a gorgeous, successful businessman in Copenhagen.
And while I’m not vain enough to assume he thinks of me as I do him, there will always be a part of me that wonders what would have happened had I not let hormones take over 15 years ago.
Guess there’s only one way to check...
One way ticket to Copenhagen, please.