Exes and ohh’s

by Hazel Pino

The other night I was in a bit of a music throwback mood. I searched up “90’s R&B” on Spotify and stalked searched peoples playlists. Along the way, I ended up adding almost 10 songs by Ja Rule.

There was a time in my life when I was obsessed with Ja Rule. His songs always remind me of summer of 2001. His songs always remind me of you. There was something about that summer that felt more like spring, the air felt more fresh. I guess that’s what falling in love for the first time is like. You see things in a new perspective.

We would playfully argue over my KFC Chicken Pot Pie, we would drool over the “I’m Real” music video. Me for Ja Rule and you for J Lo’s ass. We spent the summer making our young long distance relationship work, only being able to see each other on the weekend and alternating between here and where you were, San Francisco. I was able to explore SF with you and your friends, see the things I would had never seen if I were with my parents. You tried to get me to play DDR and I would sit on the pad and watch you play instead. We were in love, we made love and we often got jealous, the way that people new to this whole relationships thing did. You would surprise me with my favorite drink — Cherry Pepsi when I came over to visit or my favorite candy — Cherry Heads. You gave me gifts on our mothaversaries.

We were horrible for each other.

You were a boy, and like all boys you wanted your freedom. You wanted your friends. You wanted to spend all day playing video games and not tied up on the phone with your girlfriend who was hundreds of miles away. You wanted to be free. And I was just a girl. I wanted my fairytale romance. I wanted my boyfriend to want to drop everything to see me, to talk to me. I wanted your attention. I wanted you. All the time. And I thought the things I said and the things I did were justified, when they weren’t.

You broke my heart, badly. And it took me a long time to heal. But you also taught me that sometimes, fairytale romances aren’t always easy. They’re not as simple as we see in the movies and that if you’re brave enough to give up your heart and fall in love, you should be brave enough to endure the pain when your heart is broken. Even though I was hurting and broken for a long time, I enjoyed my road to recovery. I learned a lot about myself, and about you. The real you.

So thank you. For the memories, the lessons and the heartache. It was fun. Except, not really.