When I first moved back to Orlando permanently a year after I graduated college, I got a job working Front Desk at a brand-new resort opening up at Universal Studios. It was really exciting getting to be part of the opening team for such a cool place, and I was lucky enough to work with a lot of amazing people. 

The majority of the other Front Desk representatives were like me – mostly female, early to mid 20s – but there were a few guys. While they were great, but without giving away too many details of people I really liked, let’s just say for some reason or another, it wasn’t going to work with any of them. Not that I took this job expecting to meet a guy, nor was I necessarily looking for one at that point in my life, but it would have been nice to have someone to look cute for besides the creepy guys coming in for conferences and taking off their wedding rings so they could hit on you and your friends as they checked in, you know? 

But apparently there was someone in the resort. His name was Dylan, and he was just a little bit older than me. He was tall, had dark hair, a nice smile, and worked in IT. He was friends with one of my supervisors, and would come by to say hi to her, especially later at night when things were quiet, which is how we eventually met. We started talking, and quickly learned we had a similar sense of humor and he just seemed like a genuinely nice guy. So of course, I developed a crush. 

The one and only flaw was that he was a vegan – I have nothing against vegans, and I myself have tried out veganism a few times  – but for some reason all I could think about was, “What if we’re out doing something and I get hangry (very likely scenario) and we can’t find anywhere he can eat, and I just want a cheeseburger?” I know this sounds silly, but to be fair I have self-destructive tendencies that were running rampant at this time due to the situation I was in with he-who-shall-not-be-named (he was giving me a three and a half month long silent treatment because I dared to call him out on being a hypocrite about something), so having a nice guy who actually had his shit together was sending warning bells to me that this guy could REALLY hurt me if he wanted to, leading me to go, “SELF DESTRUCT, SELF DESTRUCT” and finding the one bad thing I could to keep him at an arm’s distance. I also just really like cheeseburgers, okay? 

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If I’m remembering correctly, one night, he came over to say hi to his friend, my supervisor, and was talking about something cool he’d seen on the other side of the hotel as he walked over. It sounded like something I’d be interested in, so she said I could walk over with him so he could show me. When we got over there, he admitted that there wasn’t actually anything over there, he just wanted to get me alone so he could ask me out and ask for my number, which was pretty cute. Now that I think about it, to this day I think he’s the only guy who asked me out in person and not via text. 

We made plans to go to Halloween Horror Nights later that week, and I was feeling pretty flattered, honestly. Like I said earlier, there were not a lot of eligible bachelors for us young-20s single ladies, so once Dylan made an appearance in our office I knew that a few other girls had a bit of a crush on him. So, it was pretty nice to know that I was the one he wanted to ask out when I knew of at least a few other girls that had their eye on him. It was just a nice little confidence boost.

We went to Halloween Horror Nights, and oh my gosh, even now I still feel bad for what I put him through. I love being scared, but I am THE biggest scaredy-cat. The first time I went to it was with my family, and I screamed so much in the first house we went in that immediately afterwards my parents walked me over to one of the bar carts and bought me a drink to get me to chill out. The first house he and I went in was called Tomb of the Ancients and I started getting scared while we were still in line. He went in first, and I basically squeezed the life out of his hand and screamed into his neck the entire time. This went on throughout every house we went in. But, we had a great time. We said good night, and made tentative plans to hang out again. The fact that he was still interested in me after I screamed bloody murder for three hours is impressive, honestly.

We talked for a few more days, and then he asked if I wanted to go to lunch with him soon and I said yes. I figured we would go somewhere in the general vicinity of where we worked, not realizing where he lived was further away, so when I Googled the place he suggested and realized how far out of my way it was I FREAKED. To this day, I have no idea why I reacted the way I did but if I had to guess, it would be because I’m too fucked up for anyone to love. Just kidding, that’s what Adam would have said, but that’s not true.

Honestly, I think a part of it was me starting to realize that I had been very badly controlled by The Narcissist and so much of our relationship was me going out of my way for him and never being met in the middle, so when this guy that I really liked made an innocent suggestion to go to a place he liked, not realizing it was further from me than I felt comfortable traveling, I thought he was trying to control me and have me make all the effort, too, and I didn’t want to end up in that situation again. I also didn’t know how to have a disagreement without it leading to a fight, so I was immediately on the defense. That and, you know, those lovely self-destructive tendencies (side note, shout out to my therapists for helping me work through that and to not be so self-destructive anymore). So I panicked, and I lashed out. 

After that totally random argument, we never spoke again. At this point, I had perfectly timed putting in my two weeks notice for right before my best friend from high school, Amanda, came to visit me because I already had the week approved off, then I had a few more morning shifts and was done. I still feel bad for how I acted towards him, and sometimes I think about apologizing (I still have his number because iCloud never lets me delete numbers) but I feel like it’s been at that awkward amount of time where while I finally realize why I reacted the way I did, it’s also been almost four years – so is it really even worth it to say I’m sorry for acting like a bitch out of nowhere, or is that just weird? I think it’s weird, right?

Who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t freaked out at the restaurant suggestion. But I like to think that things happen for a reason, and if it was meant to be it would have worked out some way. I do think people come into your life for a reason, and even though this was the one situation where I can (and do) 100% take responsibility for it ending, I’m glad it happened. I think that because of him, I learned that it’s not just assholes who will like me – nice guys like me, too. That I was allowed to date other guys when you-know-who was doing who-knows-what with other girls, and that I should not, under any circumstance, feel guilty for it. Because he really was (and I’m sure still is) a great guy – even if he is a vegan.