I don’t mean to sound creepy, but I saw you today.
That wasn’t my plan, I assure you. I didn’t go to the liquor store in our neighborhood because I knew you’d be there. That would be absurd. No, my friend, Alexa, (you remember her, right? We all used to all party together in our dorm freshman year?) and I are having a party tonight, and we needed to pop in for some essentials. It honestly didn’t occur to me that you would be there, which was a mistake on my part. Because when I turned the corner and saw you, I was shocked.
It had been so long since we last met face to face. My heart started pounding and a wave of nostalgia washed over me as I gazed at you from the end of the aisle. You looked the same. Different, but also the same. I guess you could say the same about me. We’ve both gotten older. Changed this and that. Tried new things and acquired new flavors and passions. Our personal brands have shifted and our friend groups have altered so they no longer include each other. You’re doing your thing and I’m doing mine. It’s been that way for awhile.
Still, as I glanced at you up and down, drinking in your youthful looks and charming personality, I couldn’t deny that I was happy to see you. That it felt like falling in step with an old friend. That I think about you sometimes.
I know that sounds dumb. Silly, even. So much time has passed since we were together. Years, even. And so much has changed. I’m different, a totally different person than I was when we met my junior year of high school. And I’m not going to pretend you’re the same either, as much as I’d like to. I’m sure you’ve changed and evolved and grown, just like I have. And before I keep going, I want you to know, I don’t think about you often. I’m not saying that to be mean — please don’t think that. I just want you to know that I got over us a long time ago. But just like any first love, I’ve never truly forgotten.
I still remember the night I met you. My friends and I had just finished school, and were we at one of our houses, celebrating summer and deciding what to do with our newfound freedom. We were going to be ~seniors~ next year, and the world felt full of possibilities and bad decisions. The idea came up to go bowling, and one of the guys in the group, Chris, said that he could get you to join us. I was anxious, nervous even, about meeting you. You seemed so much more sophisticated than I was, but that was part of the allure. Why would someone like you want to hang out with a kid like me?
So, when you approached me, I didn’t say no. The second I put you to my lips, I knew my life had changed forever.
We spent a good three years together, you and I. No, it wasn’t always exclusive, but that didn’t matter. I knew I could count on you to be there for me, no matter how little I had in my bank account or whether or not I had access to mixers. I’d walk into parties proudly, with you by my side, and I’d sneak you into bars, my own personal love affair. You didn’t care that I was poor, underage, or hated alcohol that tasted like alcohol. You loved me for me. And for a long time, that was enough. For a long time, you were enough.
But, as it always happens, time went on and life started to change. I got a job and made some money. I got new friends and hung out in new places. I learned to drink drinks that didn’t have a pound of sugar and 600 calories in them. In short, I got older. I started wanting to try new things, be with new people. And over the course of our relationship, you had hurt me. We both know that. Sometimes being with you burned. It stung. I made me cough and cry and do things I never meant to do. Sometimes I’d wake up in the morning in so much agony after a night with you, that I swore I’d never be with you again. Sometimes just the thought of you would make me physically ill.
It took a long time to finally walk away from you. But once I did, I never regretted it.
And I’m really happy now, since you and I parted ways. And to be honest, I don’t even really miss you. I miss what life used to be like with you. Who *I* used to be with you. When I was with you, I’d spend my days sleeping in until noon, eating pizza for every meal, going out five days a week, and kissing people I shouldn’t have been kissing. It was a beautiful few years we spent together, and I’ll always be thankful for it. I’ll always be happy about it.
I’ll always love you, Burnett’s Vodka.
But no matter how nostalgic I get or how much of a connection I felt when I saw you, I can’t deny that I’m over you. Today in the store, I wasn’t there to see you. I was there to see someone older. Bigger. More sophisticated and wealthy. But before I turned the aisle, I couldn’t help but take one last peek at you. One last look at the kingdom you’ve made for yourself, and the 19-year-old girls who stood in front of you, questioning whether they wanted cheap Pink Lemonade or Pineapple flavored vodka.
Occasionally, like when I reach for something else at a party or spend $50 on a handle of vodka, I remember how good things were when you and I were together. No, you weren’t always the easiest to be around, and as the years went on I couldn’t help but outgrow you. But no matter how we both change and move on, I’ll never forget the amazing years we shared. Well, I was actually blacked out for most of them, but you know what I mean.
A Tito’s Drinker.
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