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The One That Got Away

Do you ever get stuck thinking about the past? Or wonder where your life might be if you had made a different decision when it came to that BIG life decision you made? I do from time to time. I’m not sure that there’s anything particularly healthy or helpful about that kind of reflection. But I suppose it’s human nature for some of us.

The other day I was recounting a story from my past with my cousin. It was actually just one of those passing moments in time that we were remembering, but it got me to thinking about this very topic. The story we were remembering happened on Halloween night when I was in my early 20’s. My cousin was friends with a guy she wanted to introduce me to and we decided that a Halloween party would be the perfect place for an introduction. (The truth is, I think she just needed a wingman because she had her sights on the guy’s friends. But that is of no consequence to this story). Our costumes were boring and simple. We both dressed completely in black. I put a headband with black ears on my head and called myself “a cat.” And my cousin taped stars all over her clothes and called herself “nighttime.” We stopped by the guy’s house for a pre-meeting before the party. My cousin’s date looked like the Top Gun version of Tom Cruise. Visually, she chose well. My date was kind of cute, but not hot. He seemed nice enough and socialized with us for a bit before heading into his room to put on his Halloween costume. While my cousin was flirting with “Maverick,” I waited patiently for my date to rejoin the group. When he reappeared, well, I was almost speechless. He came out of his room with an oversized cardboard box covering his body. With a black sharpie, he wrote the words “kissing booth.” But the part of his costume that turned me off (it’s funny to me now, but I was prissy when I was younger) was the hole that he cut out of the front of the box where his private area was located. Sticking out of that hole was... well... I guess the nicest way to say it is... a fake penis! Keep in mind, this costume incident happened years before the famous “dick in a box” comedy sketch that Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg created on SNL. It could have been a genius costume a few years ago if this guy was backed up by a boy band. (I still wouldn’t want to claim a guy dressed like this as my date, but I would have laughed if I was just an observer). But on this night, the “I’m-too-classy-for-this” side of me was completely grossed out! Did he think this was a way of making a good first impression, I thought to myself? And worse yet, has that thing been used?? (Yep, I wondered that too). Instantly, this somewhat cute guy became disgusting to me and I wanted nothing to do with him. And trust me, my attitude toward him showed exactly what I was thinking. That Halloween night came and went and I never saw Mr. Kissing Booth again... until over a decade later. We were attending the same party. He was there with his wife, she was lovely. And the years had been good to him - he went from cute to hot. We exchanged pleasantries, but all I could think about was that THING sticking out of the cardboard box! And I’m sure he hadn’t forgotten what a C-U-Next-Tuesday I'd been. After our brief conversation, we went our separate ways at the party (like we ultimately did that one Halloween night).

Nearly an additional decade has passed since the second party and his name randomly came up in a conversation with my cousin last night. I asked how he was doing. She told me that he and his wife had a couple of kids and just built a million-dollar home. I half-jokingly replied, “Shoot, maybe he’s the one that got away?”

When I was taking one of my daily walks the other day, I searched Katy Perry on my Spotify account and played her songs on shuffle. An acoustic version of the song, “The One That Got Away” started playing. Something about the story KP tells in that song resonated with me. It didn’t necessarily make me think of anyone in particular, but it did make me wonder if I had a missed opportunity on any past relationships? The song tells the story of a young couple who were once in love. Time passed, the relationship dissolved, and the lyrics reflect on “the one that got away.”

So back to the guy with the dick in a box. Could he have been the one that got away? Nope. I don’t think so. I felt no chemistry with him. And I’m not sure about you, but I need to have chemistry or passion for the things that I commit to. If something or someone didn’t work out at one point in your life, there’s a good chance that those reasons still exist years later. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule. But why look back when you could be moving forward toward something even better? I think we can get stuck on the shoulda-coulda-woulda’s in life. But then, we are just creating fictitious story-lines in our lives. It’s probably best to leave fiction to the great writers of the world. Revisiting something from your past could be like opening up Pandora’s box. Some boxes are meant to stay closed, sealed, and tucked away. Until one day, we receive a new gift to open.

Andrea Vecchio

About the author

Andrea Vecchio (@andreavecchio) is the founder and author of Live Your Playlist, creator and host of the digital series Driving Cleveland, motivational speaker, life strategist, and Emmy-nominated television host.

4 comments on “The One That Got Away”

  1. karen Reply

    On reflection: I think it is a good thing to do and a way for your soul to mature and grow. How else does that happen unless we look at ourselves and try to figure out the why’s and what for’s. Nice job Andrea.

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      I love your thoughts upon reflection! Excellent point you make Karen… as usual :)

  2. marybeth harter Reply

    I just want to say how much I enjoy reading your blog posts each and every week! You seem to strike a chord with just about everything in life that a person goes through at one point or another. Your “Running with the Wind” blog post especially touched my heart, as I have a brother who sadly took his own life. Like you, we feel the pain and guilt of something we may have missed somehow and somewhere. We search for answers. I was so glad to see you share the suicide awareness hotline as I think that information is powerful. The more we can talk and have conversations about all kinds of topics (both good and not-so-good) provides a platform for real dialogue and real change. Just like Oprah always says, “When we know better, we do better.” Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insight with me! Have a good week!

    • Andrea Vecchio Andrea Vecchio Reply

      Dear Marybeth,

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and personal story. I’m so sorry for your loss, I can only imagine the pain of losing your brother, as I am extremely close to my siblings. Suicide is a difficult sadness to understand. I hope that you and your family have found some peace.And yes, open conversation and dialogue are extremely important – especially dialogue that comes without judgement. Life isn’t always easy. It helps when we are easier on each other. Which I’m sure is something that challenges each and every one of us from time to time. I’m grateful for your insight. Be well.


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