The thing is, DJ was right for me. I remember telling my best friend at the time (still my best friend - she has amazing fortitude) that I wished I'd met him when we were older, when I might have handled the whole thing better.
My mom wasn't doing well after she and my father divorced, and frankly neither was I. Together we were a mess. I ended up living with DJ's parents halfway through my last semester of high school. I still have no idea why they were so good to me, but I suppose that explains a few things about DJ too.
I graduated from high school. I took a year off before college, to get my finances and my head in order. That sort of worked, if you squint and look sideways. One weekend when I was visiting him at school, we had a hotel room in the student union hotel. What would you say, he said, If I asked you to marry me. I told him he would have to ask me. Actually, that is probably not what I said, but that's how I remember it. After midnight someone pulled the fire alarm and we were chased out into the crisp fall night. We bought slices of pizza, and I really thought I could do that. Spend the rest of my life walking in crisp fall air, eating pizza.
But that's not how it goes, you know. He bought a ring and really did ask me to marry him, under a gaslight called the Eternal Flame. Legend has it that if you kiss under the flame, you'll be linked as long as the flame is lit.
We didn't plan a wedding. I was still unsure about marriage in general, so I told everyone that we had lots of time. I still say that.
Eight months later, we broke up. I thought I was going to die. Both in that wonderful nineteen year old way where everything makes you think you're going to die, and in the more troubling way of knowing I'd truly lost something worth having.
I wasn't sure he meant it, the breakup. So I gave him two weeks to change his mind. I had in mind that if he did, I'd act like it never happened. (Great plan, right?) Fourteen days later, I asked if he'd changed his mind. He hadn't. So that night I went out with a fireman. That may have been unexpected.