Jealousy is an awful thing. It turns you into someone you’re not and it’s so difficult to overcome. For a long time, I thought I was above that. I couldn’t really see myself feeling jealous of anyone. I just thought I was better than that, too mentally tough for that.
That all changed when my first girlfriend, Claire, made this guy friend in college, who we’ll call Gunther. Now, it’s not like Claire didn’t have any other guy friends. She did, and I knew them, but something about Gunther threw me off. They got really close really fast. I mean, it went from him not even being a part of her life, to me constantly hearing about all the things they did together in class. About all the jokes they shared and the good times they had.
We got into a lot of fights and arguments because of Gunther. I would get frustrated. I would tell her that I didn’t like his intentions. I would try to get her to stop being friends with him. It was sort of like when Rachel got offered that job by Mark and Ross didn’t trust Mark? Friends fans, anyone?
Anyway, it all came crashing down on December of 2015. Claire had this arts showcase that obviously I was invited to. I ended up coming an hour late. I slept in. There’s no excuse. I wish I could say one of my classes ran late. I wish I could say I was busy saving a cat from a tree. But no, I just slept in like an idiot. By the time I got there, Claire was angry, deservedly so. But guess who else was there and on time? Gunther. Gunther hadn’t been invited but he’d shown up anyway to support her because that’s just the kind of stand-up guy Gunther was.
Initially, I ignored him. I pretended like he wasn’t even there. I just walked up to Claire and apologized. Now, in the middle of my heartfelt soliloquy, Gunther waltzes right in and tries to get me to leave. He says that I’m stressing Claire out, that I need to give her space, and I’m looking at this guy like ‘Whose mans is this?’. And I finally snapped. I punched him across the face. Now, I rarely ever throw punches but I knew when I’d punched him that I hadn’t hit him hard. But Gunther practically fell backwards as if a car had slammed into him; he flopped. That’s when everyone got involved. People got in between us, there was a whole commotion at the showcase, and Claire ended up dragging me out of there.
Surprisingly enough, Claire and I didn’t break up that day, but we should have. Something fell apart that day between us that we were never truly able to get back. But we were stubborn, like all kids in love are.
Occasionally, like today, I’ll think back to that night. I’ll think about all the things I could’ve done differently. Maybe not get as jealous as I did? Maybe set four alarms instead of just the one? Maybe bring Claire flowers or chocolate instead of just showing up late and empty handed? Maybe not punch Gunther? Or maybe that was fine. Yeah, you know what, that was fine.