By Alyssa Seidman
Well, here we are again; another beautiful issue of The Bottom Line and another love-laced lament from yours truly. So, what are we being enlightened about today readers? The answer: summer flings. Yes, despite how topsy-turvy the weather has been the past couple of weeks; summer vacation is within our reach. What better way to celebrate this realization than with a little tale of heated, summery passion?
It was 2012, and I had just turned seventeen. My junior year of high school was finally over, and I could breathe easy through the summer months. Along with my usual gig as a camp counselor, I decided to start working summer shifts at Piping Rock Country Club, where I worked part-time as a waitress during the school year.
My first night at the beach club was intimidating at best. The interns PRC hired for the summer had been working together since early May, and I had a bit of catching up to do. Being the social butterfly that I am, it was no problem for me to befriend people. But one of them eluded me like no other.
I was innocently dispensing myself some soda from the fountain in the break room that first night when a beautiful British voice, sweet like butterscotch, captured my attention.
“Excuse me?” he inquired. “I don’t believe we’ve met, but my name’s Sebastian.”
Sebastian (Bas for short) was a 20-year-old, blue-eyed boy from the banks of England…West Yorkshire, to be specific.
I turned and smiled at him almost immediately, trying to conjure up a reply that wouldn’t send him running for the hills (I have had this problem before). “Hi, I’m Alyssa,” I said coolly, while shaking his hand. “As if you couldn’t tell from the nametag,” I said while gesturing to my nametag, thinking “Wow, be a little dumber please!” But he laughed, and then I laughed. I was hooked.
As the weeks went on, we grew closer and closer, exchanging words and ideas as if time (or work itself) didn’t matter. He was studying International Relations at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and explained to me his dreams of working in politics worldwide. I told him my aspirations of studying to be great writer and live in New York, and eventually work for the Times, etcetera. We shared laughs (and then some) at staff barbecues and parties, we gossiped about club members and fellow interns. We had these special moments of sincerity between us that were nothing short of extraordinary…. I was obviously smitten. Eventually, I made him aware of this; and not with playing hard-to-get or another foolish expression of attraction, but by actually voicing such feelings. You probably think I’m crazy, right?
It was a rare case that I would find a guy who I found so lovingly interesting and that made me feel comfortable in my own skin. For the first time in forever, I felt good about being myself – Bas’s companionship allowed me to do that. I realize this implies that I needed a guy’s approval to be okay with who I was, but this wasn’t just any guy (he was foreign, could you blame me?). He took the whole thing fairly well. I don’t recall how the conversation went exactly, but I distinctly remember him saying, “I appreciate you being honest,” and “it’s good that you’re forward.” What a buzzword. Forward. You might as well say you’re scared shitless. I regretted telling him anything at all; and then it was early September.
On his last night at work, I gave Bas this semi-speech about how amazing the summer was, that it wouldn’t have been as special if I hadn’t met him, and that I’d miss him a lot. He replied with this heartbreaker: “You’re a great girl, and I’ll miss you as well.” My parting words to him were from “Romeo and Juliet”: “Parting is such sweet sorrow, but I shall say goodnight till it be morrow…even though I may never see you again.” He laughed, and I laughed, and then we said goodbye.
We maintained a virtual “Dear John” friendship for the past two years, exchanging experiences and stories that kept us connected despite the ocean in between us.
The biggest plot twist of all is that he’s rumored to return to PRC for the upcoming summer (WHAT?). I honestly don’t know how to feel about this because on one hand it could be amazing and we simply pick up where we left off; on the other, I’m terrified because a lot of time has transpired and he could be a totally different person (I know I’ve changed).
The fact of the matter is that second chances are real and rare things you have to seize while you can. I won’t believe any rumors until I physically see him back in the states, but if he indeed returns, I’m taking that chance. I might never get another one.
From my experience, summer flings are not what you see in the movies – no one is being swept off into the sky by Grease Lightning. But if that fling that “don’t mean a thing” turns into something worth fighting for, remember that love hurts just as much as it heals. And it does heal, it makes you more comfortable with yourself; it makes you more confident than you ever knew you could be. It reminds you that in the absence of others, you can learn to love yourself, too.