Your Past Will Not Protect You (How I Met Your Mother part 1)

If you think it could never happen to you for whatever reason(s) in your shared history, you’re wrong and you need to continue working hard at keeping the communication open and the relationship interesting. In hindsight, there were warnings, little and big, and there were moments where I could’ve done things differently. Hindsight isn’t very helpful in the end- I can’t change what happened-but regardless, I keep going back through our history with new eyes, seeing it all in a new light.

I first met her about 20 years ago. The meeting was not special. There was no love at first sight or any fireworks. I was, and still am, friends with her sister, Doreen. I was at hanging out with her at a bar when she asked, “Do you want to meet my sister?” She tapped a young woman on the shoulder, who turned around to face us. She was slightly older than Doreen, with darker hair.

“This is my sister, Carol,” Doreen said. “This is Jack,” she tells her. We exchanged “hello’s” and went back to our own groups of friends. That’s it. No magic, but for whatever reason, the memory stuck with me.

I would see Carol often over the years as I frequently found myself at her house. My good friend/band member dated Doreen so before and after concerts, we would all hang out at her place. I’d see Carol with her friends, her boyfriend, her post-boyfriend flings. I’d chat with her but it never crossed my mind to date her. We started to become closer but I didn’t see her as anything more than a friend.

I had my relationship ups and downs. My most recent girlfriend had cheated on me multiple times and it took a long time to recover from that emotional trauma. I wanted someone to share my life with but my recent experience had left me very guarded. I could be cruel in my coldness towards other women who were interested in me. Carol was safe from that dark side of me because she was my friend, not a potential romantic partner who would hurt me.

While I had my emotional wall up to protect me from relationships with women, Carol and I continued to bond and discuss our lives more deeply. Finally, after knowing her for a few years, it all changed.

I was laying on a couch in her house, nearly asleep when she came home from whatever she was out doing that night. She saw me there and she decided to make herself comfortable by laying right on top of me. I put my arms around her and held her for a while, caressing her back. She raised her head and looked into my eyes. I don’t know who moved first, but we kissed maybe 5 times before she put her head back down on my chest. They were seemingly innocent pecks on the lips, but each one lingered a little more than the previous.

I was happy. It all felt right. Doreen would not be happy.

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