Dear Teen Ophelia,
I know, I know, you’re not exactly a kid anymore. You’re nineteen. But hold on, that’s still a teenager, and nineteen isn’t as old as you think it is. Take, for example, right now. You’re in college and you just met a great guy. He’s cute, he thinks you’re funny and he’s Canadian. Hey, for you, that’s pretty exotic! D is the first guy, in fact, that you can envision a real future with. Not just next week or next month, but like, Future—capital F. You know D is going to be a part of your life for many years to come; you feel it in your bones.
Well, you’re wrong. Then again, you’re right…just not in the way you think.
The night this picture is taken, D’s roommate is on the other bed, gagging at the cuteness of you two while D is helping you “study.” When the camera won’t work, D snickers, you glance up to find him gazing down at you, giving you a look that makes your toes curl. And click: that moment is immortalized. Over the next few years, you are going to dissect this picture from every angle for millions of hours. Because, along with D being the first guy you really fall for, he’s the first guy to really break your heart. Sorry, girl, these things go hand-in-hand.
But, ya know what? This letter is not a cautionary tale. It’s more like…permission. You need to love this guy. You need to have faith and trust and allow your heart to be broken into pieces by him…over and over. It’s good for you. Just like how kids today (well, in the future) are allergic to so many things because they’re not properly exposed to germs? Same thing. In order to know who you are and what you want out of life and love, you need to breathe in the crap.
Not to give anything away, but I know it’s unfair to tease that he’ll be in your life for the next decade-plus and not give you a little hint. Let’s just say that a few weeks after this picture is taken, you go your separate ways. There will be no proper break up, but you will both leave. There will be letters. We’re talking old-school letters on sheets and sheets of paper. D writes a killer letter. He knows what you like to hear, what you need to hear and he lays it out. You devour every word, your heart soaring and breaking simultaneously while you wear his shirt that still smells of his aftershave. Then, you won’t hear from him for a while. Then he’ll tell you in a letter that he’s engaged to someone else. You’ll fold up the letter before you read to the end. You’ll cry and you’ll be sick, but you’ll move on. Then one day, you’ll get a phone call. The engagement is off and he wants to see you, he thinks he’s made a terrible mistake. Should you drop everything—even the guy you’re with now—and go to him? You have to at least see if anything is still there, right?
But that’s not the end. Not even close. In about a decade, there will be a little something called Facebook. There, D will again reach out to you. He’ll “friend” you. (Don’t ask…) But this time, he’ll share with you pictures of his wife and children. He has, like, three kids or something. Maybe four. He still resembles that nineteen year-old kid giving you that toe-curling smirk, but of course your toes don’t curl over him anymore. And that’s the way it should be.
Love on, little one. Be strong and trusting. Roll around in those germs until your emotional immune system is hale and hearty. Be grateful for having D as part of your life tapestry, but maybe put away that picture a bit sooner.
That’s all I’m going to say for now. Oh, and the coolest part? One day, you’re going to write a book about college love, and your relationship with D will be great fodder. In fact, DEFINITELY, MAYBE IN LOVE, your first new adult novel (don’t worry, the “new adult” genre doesn’t exist yet), was just born into the world.
Grown up Ophelia
Ophelia London was born and raised among the redwood trees in beautiful northern California. Once she was fully educated, she decided to settle in Florida, but her car broke down in Texas and she’s lived in Dallas ever since. A cupcake and treadmill aficionado (obviously those things are connected), she spends her time watching arthouse movies and impossibly trashy TV, while living vicariously through the characters in the books she writes. She is the author of ABBY ROAD, the Perfect Kisses series including: PLAYING AT LOVE, SPEAKING OF LOVE, the upcoming “untitled #3″ (Jan 2014), and the new adult DEFINITELY, MAYBE IN LOVE (Oct 28th). Visit her at ophelialondon.com. But don’t call when The Vampire Diaries is on.