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Blog Chain - The one that got away


She was, I think,, the prettiest girl I ever fell in love with.  I’m in love with some beautiful women now, but, if I had to be honest, what’s more beautiful than 1st love?

We knew each other in high school, well, we went to the same high school.  We were physically in the same place on several occasions, football games, basketball games, graduation. But we were on different worlds. 

She was a cheerleader, dated Brett, who was the fullback and the only kid who had been shaving since the 6th grade.  She was smart, taking 2nd in the
balsa wood bridge building competition in the honors physics class.  Talented (choir, writing, yearbook etc) and completely out of my league.  So much so, that I didn’t even try to make friends with her.  I lived in the parallel universe of band, orchestra, soccer (than just a curiosity sport), wrestling (cheerleaders do not attend wrestling matches), and the nerd herd as our math teacher called us.  Same place, different universe.

I left high school, moved away, came back, and ended up at her university.  I was working in the library when she came in, checked out some software from my partner at the desk, and got to work.  An hour later she came back for help and she recognized me, barely.  I hadn’t taken in a breath since she walked by, but strange enough, we talked as old friends.  The common bond of home town tales and “remember Homecoming when Chris broke his leg?” led to an invitation for coffee and I accepted.

Our lives in parallel universes had continued.  She had left home right after school to run off and get pregnant, have a “procedure” (she never called it anything else), drink, carouse, rage at her father for dying, drop out of three different schools prior to settling, and live with a guy for a year in Seattle.  I was still a virgin, moved for an internship, kept my nose clean, sang in the church choir, volunteered with the youth outreach ministry, and then got back to school, a job, and a car my dad paid for.

But I loved her more each day.

We never ‘dated’ in the traditional sense and if you found her in the city today and asked about me she would say that we “hung out” a lot and met at the library for homework, but, we met at 10:00 am and went to dinner at 8:00 PM and then to Bill & Nada’s for dessert and to her house to make out for a while.  She would order a beer with dinner and pay for it herself.  I would invite her to church and she’d claim to be playing golf with the King that day.  I would hold her for house while she did work for her store, she’d laugh at me as I struggled to write, but edited my research papers with care and precision.

She was the wild child, I was the choir boy, and, in the end, a bastard, and a coward.

She told me she loved me as we snuggled on her bed one night.  We rarely kissed, but we touched, I undressed her for bed each night and stroked her skin and professed my love back to her.  She asked me to make love to her but the fire and brimstone in my head roared too loud and I said no. 

We stayed together for almost a year and then she graduated and got a promotion and left.  Frustrated with my inability to change, to adapt, to commit, and to give my heart to a wild one who had found a new path, she needed to move on.  I was stuck.

I loved her more in the three months after she left than I did in the year prior. We learn through loss, yet I did not learn quickly enough.  By the time I wrote to her she had found someone else and was in the beginning of something new.  I was the old.  I was the coward who didn’t get it quick enough.

As I was cleaning out my work desk earlier this year I found an envelope that had some old pictures in it.  One was her senior year portrait.  She’s older now, like me, but I imagine her, I remember her as beautiful as that day when she walked in to the library.

A foot note:  At out 10th High School Reunion I asked Stephanie, her best friend, for her address.  I wrote a quick note, just saying hello.  She never wrote back.

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