The certainty of death and taxes accepts a new recruit this week: the certainty of a college freshman breaking up with her long-distance boyfriend.
_I should have seen it coming. _So goes the refrain of the dumped, in this case my 21 year-old self living in a basement apartment in Buffalo, NY. We met at summer camp—of course—and she was 18 and loping through her final summer before leaving town for the ivy-shrouded confines of Cornell.
What was I doing that fall? Working at a boxing gym and finishing college part-time at University of Buffalo. I played it light and breezy that summer, knowing I had enough older guy-clout to act cooler than I normally would. She was nervous about school and I assured her everything would be fine. Better than fine. I assured her it would be awesome because she was going to Cornell. My entire family had gone to Cornell but I’d been turned down back in the day. Cornell still held the allure of unrequited love, a final shred of high school longing.
She wasn’t so bad either. There was no love between us (though she may have said _I love you _and I may have whispered it back, knowing I wasn’t telling the truth even if it felt true). Love was unnecessary. Summer flings don’t need love. They need to remain light, breezy, and inequitable, so they can end horribly—which they must—and so they can become nostalgic even before the end.