I was thirteen when we first “went together,” which consisted primarily of him riding his bike over to my house in the afternoon (again with that sun in the hair thing).
I was a junior in high school when we went on our first real date.
I was a junior in college when I stood on my mother’s front porch late at night and explained to him why it was finally over. I didn’t really believe it. He, apparently, did.
I was 48 the next time I saw him, standing in line at a gas station early on a Friday morning. Damn if his hair wasn’t still sparkling. (What the hell was up with that, anyway?)
This isn’t a story of lost love regained later in life. Whatever we shared across those early years, I wouldn’t call it love. I’ve no desire to recapture it; in fact, I didn’t speak to him in the gas station. He either didn’t see or didn’t recognize me. It really was over, that decades-past night on my mother’s porch.
Seeing him made me think, though.
The night I said goodbye, he’d taken me to see a house he was planning to buy. At 21, he was ready to get on with adult life. My senior year in college was on the horizon, followed by three years of law school and then some very long work hours while I got my legal practice off the ground. Our plans for the coming 3-5 years couldn’t have been more different, and there wasn’t any middle ground. He thought I’d “screwed around” in school long enough. I thought he was settling too easily for the same life we’d come from and a nice big tree in the front yard.
We took our separate world views and went our separate ways, and it was the right decision.
It’s ironic, though. That morning I saw him in the gas station line, it occurred to me that I was living the life he’d tried to push me toward…and had been, for many years. He’d just come to it on a very different timetable than I had.
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