Sunday, April 24, 2005

In Love.

A while back I decided to try and find my best friend from high school. She had married a friend a mine and settled in my hometown and I had last seen her at my father's funeral 20 yrs ago. I thought it would be fairly easy. We didn't go to the same high school, but I had many friends at hers and my boyfriend had gone there. In my search I found a 20 yr reunion website for her high school and found pictures and information on my old boyfriend. As I sat looking at pictures of this man who had broken my heart at 16, who had aged as we all have, I remembered what it was like to be so young and so in love.

The summer I was 15 I met him after a highschool baseball game. He was a gifted athlete and would later play college ball. Meeting him was literally like being hit by a truck. I was a rare confident teen. I had boyfriends since I was in 1st grade. It had all been fun and games up to this point. But this, this was love.

My usual witty responses got stuck in my throat. My confidence in my looks disappeared. He seemed to like me as well, but unfortunately his cousin liked me a lot and he didn't want to hurt his cousin. I would see him at games, at the pizza hut we hung out and I would start to shake. My heart would pound. I HATED IT! I tried to make this feeling go away. My interest in other boys disappeared. I could hardly eat. All I could think about was this guy. It was like listening to the same song all day long. And there was no way I could find to turn it off.

Finally, the situation resolved itself and he called and asked me out. I don't remember the conversation. I remember hanging up and almost passing out. I laid on my bed, put my hands to my face and screamed.

I honestly don't remember that first date either. I think I must have been in such a state of nirvana that it was almost like a drug induced high. I call it a love blackout.

I turned 16 and it was the summer of love. When I finally got to the point where I could actually breath around him, we started to have fun together. It was a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me. The high when he called and the low when he didn't. He never treated me badly, but it was clear that I was crazy go nuts in love with this guy and he.....well....he liked me a lot, but there was a wall there I could not break through. I remember lying on the couch in my living room with him and my head on his chest listening to his heartbeat. I would close my eyes and try to will his heart to love me.

Loving someone more than they love you is so painful I don't think I could have ever gone through it again. When we were together I would soar. But when he didn't call for days I would fall into a depression I have never experienced since. On the one hand I was so grateful to be with him when I was that I never complained about the times when I was not. So I made it pretty easy for him to take me for granted and he did.

Then the day came when I found out he had cheated on me. (Then that just meant he had gone out with someone else) I may have been in love, but I still had my dignity. Cheating was not something I would ever put up with. I wrote him a terse note and that was that.

For about a month I soaked my pillow each night with my tears. I didn't just feel my heart was broken, I felt it had been torn to pieces. But after a while I put the pieces back together and went forward. I will always be grateful that he never took physical advantage of the love I had for him. I thought of myself as pretty strong, but he had a way of making me pretty weak.

But the story doesn't end there.

I learned many things from my first love. I learned to never let yourself love someone more than they loved you. I learned to never feel that the thought of losing someone should make you let them walk all over you.

A few years later after we had both gone to different colleges, we saw each other at a club. He called me and wanted to see me again. I'm not saying my heart didn't flutter a bit, but the scars had kept me from the soaring feeling of love I had felt before. Over the next few years we saw each other when we could. He said to me once, "You're not falling in love with me like before." I replied, "No, I learned my lesson." Did this bother him? I am not sure. Like before there was still a wall there I could never break through. But I was in full control this time. No more broken hearts for me.

But still..... That girl who was crazy go nuts in love was hiding behind my heart waiting for him to go crazy go nuts and be in love with her the same way.

My senior year in college he called to tell me that his college baseball team was playing my college that weekend. He said he would call me when he got there. He did. He told me he had about an hour before practice and could I come to the athletic dorm and see him.

Now this may seem like an insignificant detail, but you will understand at the end. At this time in the early 80's all curly long hair was in, right? I had straight long hair. I was so excited about seeing him I didn't bother to stop and roll my hair though. I just flew out the door and drove over there. When I got to him I gave him a big hug and he looks at me and says with a slight smile, "Thanks for fixing your hair for me."

In that moment I knew that I would never make this man happy. I knew that I would never be smart enough, be pretty enough, or love him enough. As much as my heart yearned for him, my mind knew better. A deep sadness flowed through me.

He said, "I'll see you at the game tomorrow, right?" "Yes," I replied, "I'll be there." But I didn't go to that game the next day and I never saw him again.

He has married, divorced, remarried and has 3 children. He lives in my hometown. I saw a picture of his wife and wondered if she had broken down that wall.

I never did find my best friend. She had divorced my friend and remarried. Sometimes we lose things that are so precious to us and we just never find them again.

So it goes.