Friday, July 31, 2009

What Might Have Been

When I was 11-years old, I walked into Mrs. Boyd's 6th grade homeroom class and fell head over heels in love with a girl. She hadn't even begun shaving her legs yet but this didn't matter. She was the smartest, most mature, sexiest person I had ever seen. She was funny, athletic, musical, and popular. I stole the attendance sheet to learn her last name. In my sixth grade mind, we were meant to be together. As we grew older, she began shaving her legs and we became the off again on again couple. In my adoration, I always imagined that the many off-periods were temporary. In fact, of course, it was the times we were together that were fleeting.

Our grandparents coincidentally lived in the same town in Florida so we'd meet on occaision during winter breaks and sit around for awkward family time. One glorious night, the two of us went skinny dipping in the Gulf of Mexico. She made me promise not to look and although I swear I would have committed innumerable sins to see her naked, I kept my promise.

Realizing that she and I were drifting apart, I made a last ditch effort to reach her. Shortly after the Christmas before I turned 18, I confessed my love to her one night on that same beach. I knew she wouldn't reciprocate but I wanted her to know how much she meant to me.

Even after that, we'd meet occasionally at night to watch the movie Grease and make out. I knew by now that we couldn't be a long term thing but--and I know this sounds ridiculous--I wasn't about to walk away from these last few nights.

We graduated and headed off to college; she to a prestigious school, and me to one a little less so, six hours away (coincidence). The last I saw of her, she was a college freshman singing a capella and writing music.

That was nine years ago.

Tonight we met for drinks. She is happily married now and has a beautiful baby girl. We caught up on nine years of different pasts and eight years of shared ones. We finally brought closure to something that had ended awkwardly and with too many things unsaid. She confessed that she was turned off--all those years ago-- by my irresponsibility and lack of ambition. I understood. For my part, what could I say? She was the only partner I have ever loved unconditionally. But I had masked whatever good qualities I'd had, instead preferring to do all the things I felt I was being told not to do.

Tonight, the two of us looked at each other and for a few minutes we both thought about what might have been. I say what might have been because we probably won't ever be close again. She is married and I've moved on. But I had a truly wonderful eight years with her in my life. It was great to see her and hear that she is doing well. She set the bar by which all others have been measured.


Anonymous said...

Thank you- for the drinks and the kind words.

Anonymous said...

Ahh to reminisce. Was this your 10 year reunion? Anyway, I remember all the good, bad and in between. I'm glad you both finally got some closure - Phil