I still spoke to Eddie on the phone occasionally. We were trying to be honest with each other about how the separation was working. It was important to us to keep our trust and communication open in case we did decide to get back together. The phone call when I told him I was seeing someone else still haunts me to this day.
“Did you sleep with him? Tell me. Did he f— you? You are such a f—ing slut. I swear to God.” There was a venom in his voice I had never heard before and I have never heard again.
I told him the truth.
I knew it was over with my friend and now things were looking bleak at best with Eddie. By this point I had really had enough of boys for awhile. I rounded up a few good friends and we went to visit my BFF Lauren at College Park with the intention of getting our party on. Hard.
I paid $180 to get my hair done just for the occasion and I was darn well going to make sure that Eddie saw me and I looked as hot as humanly possible and acted untouchable. I hadn’t seen him in person for months.
This is a picture taken on that fateful night in November.
We stopped by his room so that I could remind him, visually, exactly what he was missing. He asked where we were planning to go, just out of polite curiosity. We told him the name of the fraternity whose party we were planning to attend and he went pale and begged us not to go there. Apparently that particular fraternity had been investigated more than once for raping women who were either too drunk to refuse advances or may have actually been drugged by members who put sedatives in their drinks.
He was genuinely concerned for our safety. It wasn’t that he had anything against fraternity life. (Actually he was the president of his fraternity and he has their letters tattooed on his back. Yeah, he’s that guy.) We rolled our eyes and told him that we were going as a big group and would look out for each other. I never drank at those parties anyway, so I really wasn’t worried-although, in hindsight, we all definitely should have been.
He knew he wasn’t going to be able to stop the other girls, but he pleaded with me to stay behind. He knew that I truly hate fraternity parties and I would much prefer an evening in with a good friend, so he offered to be that for me.
“Stay in with me tonight. Please? We have a lot we need to talk about. I’ve really missed you. It’s good to see your face again.”
I didn’t put up much of a fight. My heart had softened the minute I saw his face. I was happy to stay in with him.
By the morning it was official: We were a “we” again.
The next week I went to visit him and he had a surprise for me. It was a present, which was rare. I opened the tiny box and inside was a silver ring with a wide band. The raised letters that stretched all the way around it read, “Forever and Longer.” Those two words had been our thing. Our shorthand version of saying, “I’ll love you forever.” “I’ll love you longer.”
“Forever and Longer” is what we each wrote to the other in the high school yearbook under our senior portraits.
It was very different than the kind of ring that had been purchased and then returned a few months prior.
“It’s a promise ring.”
“What exactly are you promising?”
“I really do know I want to be with you now. Knowing you were out with someone else tore me up inside and I didn’t even want to be near anyone else this entire time. It’s only ever going to be you. I promise that one day I will replace this ring with the kind you need.”
My heart was warm because I already knew. He always keeps his promises.
That ring stayed on my right hand until the day I took it off and tied it to our ring bearer’s pillow.