Every year, I, along with hundreds of other lawyers, investment bankers and biotech executives head to San Francisco, the “birthplace of biotech”. While I love the energy of this conference, it is very exhausting because it’s non-stop networking, discussions and social events on top of the regular workload from the East Coast. But in the past few years that I’ve been coming here, I made time to reconnect with a ghost from childhood.
We met in high school in rural Ohio. He was the celebrated hot jock who had relocated with his family to Ohio from the Bay Area and I was just a nerdy Asian chick with a thick accent who had moved from the Philippines. This situation was definitely not weighed in my favor. But for some reason, him and I became friends and we continued that friendship through the end of high school and then on to college until he moved back to the Bay Area halfway through undergrad. I always felt like he saw me as a nerdy sidekick or whatever but certainly not a potential romantic interest. This was fine by me as I’d seen how fast he’d cycle through women aching to date him and I didn’t want to be treated like yesterday’s trash by anyone. Given that I looked nothing like the women he typically dated, I felt safe in knowing that this would never be. So, I lived my life and he lived his. I got married to a wonderful man, started a family, established myself in my career I love and he, well, dated around and remained single.
A few years ago, after a decade of not speaking, a mutual acquaintance re-introduced us. I had been working in San Francisco and thought it would be novel to see someone from my past and I thought he felt the same. I was still a nerd and he was still the guy that women threw themselves at. As usual, we were totally not compatible in any way other than as 2 Asian kids who happened to spend time in rural Ohio and could tell each other the most unconventional jokes. And so off we went to reconnect until I eventually put him on the family Christmas card list.
A few years into our newly rekindled albeit adult friendship, the conversation changed. It sounded a lot more like I was being played rather than reconnecting as old friends. Once that line started to get blurred, I was immediately reminded of all the reasons why I made a pact with myself as a teenager that I would only allow myself to love this man like a brother. And it was with that resolve that I chose to sever the relationship. Whatever that was, it didn’t feel right and I trusted myself enough to act in my best interest. And that was it, a year ago, in San Francisco, I made the painful decision to sever a relationship that no longer served my best interest.
So now, I say good bye again to a beautiful city knowing that someone who was once very special to me is there somewhere. Someone who I will never see or hear from again but who I’ll always remember fondly. So, here’s to you, wherever you are in the city that you love…the city you taught me about, goodbye, for good.