Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Flames and Embers

Linda had recently been dumped by her boyfriend, who knew that I was waiting in the wings. In fact, he called me before he broke up with her to let me know that I may be hearing from her after tonight. Bad form, that. But, at 16, I didn't mind.
When Linda called me I was sympathetic and kind. She knew that I was interested in her, too. I was her shoulder to cry on - although there were no real tears. We quickly made plans to get together and, within a few days, Linda and I walked to the Herring Run together. Our first time out as a couple. We climbed the big rock and sat close together once at the top. We listened to the rushing water and we talked. What discussed what we liked and what we didn't like. We spoke of school and people we knew and liked and disliked. We laughed and we held hands. At the end of our date, we shared a brief kiss.
Linda was my first real girlfriend.
We went places together and we drove around in her car a lot - a 1976 Ford Pinto wagon. We sang "Rosanna" by Toto at the top of our lungs as we went to the movies or to McDonald's; sometimes both in the same evening. At some point Linda and I exchanged declarations of "I love you". At the time, I'm sure we meant it.
Linda and I dated for less than a year. We broke up, although for the life of me I know longer remember why. I was disheartened but not heartbroken. I soon moved on.
After Linda there was Sandy. She meant more to me than Linda ever did. We dated for over a year. I loved her with all of my teenage boy heart. This relationship ended and I remember exactly why it ended. This one hurt.
After Sandy, at 19 years old, I met Laurie, the first woman that I ever truly loved. Although, the wisdom of this knowledge only comes with the experience of age. Laurie and I were together for a lifetime, until life pulled us apart. Nothing hateful or acrimonious; just life marching forward and pulling us apart in the process. No hateful words or misspent anger was shared between us. The end was melancholy but affectionate and came with the knowledge that all things will end sometime and our time had come.
Sometimes my thoughts stray to Linda and Sandy. I wish them well and I hope that the universe has been kind to them. I think of Laurie more than the two of them combined. Although at the time each of them was held closely in my heart it is my relationship with Laurie that stayed there permanently, albeit now as just an ember of a once burning flame. Still, the thoughts, much like an ember, are warm and pleasurable to behold.
I am grateful for everything that I learned from these relationships. Each woman, in their time and in their own way, was important to me and I honor them all. Now, decades later, I know that my third relationship was my first, real love.
And even then, it wasn't my last.
And time moves forward.
First love is a powerful memory but in the end it is an ember of a once-burning flame.


Blogger Fox In Detox said...

How very true...Now you've got me feeling all nostalgic, and wistful.

8:15 AM, September 25, 2008  
Blogger Andy said...

I've found that I get nostalgic and wistful anytime I begin a story with "25 years ago..."

2:10 PM, September 25, 2008  

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