The closer I was drawn to him, the further I distanced myself from the rest of the planet. When tensions with my family and friends grew to hysterics, he allowed for my escape. Every young girl looks forward to losing track of herself in a first love; I had been no exception. I was all too familiar with the gruesome stories in which young women were taken advantage of by online predators. Still, I felt that Kent had to be different from the victimizers on the news. Before I met him, I had been trying to catalyze the “growing up process;” In battling the elements of such a unique situation, I was forced to do so. Now I fear I have grown up too quickly.
At the age of sixteen, I resolved to meet him in London. Of course I knew there was potential for trouble, mistaken identities, and falsehoods. I would have been a complete fool to think otherwise. None of that mattered though. I had it in mind that I would have loved him regardless of his age, demeanor, or physical state. So convinced was I of everlasting love, that had he turned out to be a forty-five-year-old, angry alcoholic, at a height of 4’9” and bound within a straight-jacket, I would have stuck around long enough to hug him and say hello. I suppose that, had his photos and self-descriptions been so false, that dishonesty might have been offending enough to merit a breakup. Still, my policy was that if Kent in person resembled some form of his photos, I would be more than enthusiastic.
As it turned out, Kent in person was even more perfect than any fairytale could moralize. Witnessing his arrival in The Hotel Russell from the other side of the lobby, I nearly fainted. He crossed the room and, in doing so, mended the vast distance of the Atlantic Ocean and the eternity a year. He is real.
A month to the day that I had returned to the States, after Kent and I had planned another romantic meeting, and following that I had established every confidence in the world that we would last, he disappeared. Months passed before I was forced to realize that I would never hear from him again.
I don’t understand how or why it is that I fell so deeply in love. I wish it hadn’t been possible, as our skeptics would imply. I wish they had been right, and that being with him hadn’t proved the worth of every good feeling I had ever had.
I don’t regret my past choices so much as I abhor now being aware of certain facts of life. I take solace in the fact that, at a current age of seventeen years, life will afford me trillions more opportunities to make mistakes. In surviving the mess I got myself into, I am a better, more humble and matured person.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.