Friday, March 16, 2007

We Meet Again

It's not everyday that you have the chance to meet up with an old high school flame(!) so I was understandably nervous. (And remember- I have shunned men since my child was born, so this was truly a BIG DEAL.) John had sent me an e-mail out of the blue, then we talked on the phone, then made plans to get together. He's still living in NYC, and his accent sounded just as I remembered it, although I had forgotten how fast he talked. Sometimes my brain had trouble keeping up, although I don't remember having had that problem back when we were "an item". He is now a successful attorney; all I could envision was the handsome, endearing teenager I had known so well for one memorable summer.

I was extremely surprised to hear from him because of the ways things ended. Everything was great when we were together at summer camp in upstate NY- couldn't have been better. We never even argued, which is unusual for me. In fact, that brief relationship may well have been the best one I ever had.....

But when he came to visit me at college, I had stupidly moved on. I was well ensconced in my new one-sided love affair with a guy who turned out to be gay. I blew John off, totally incapable of giving up even one precious moment with my new love interest. I did feel kind of lousy about it, but I was young, inconsiderate and unwise.

I tried to make amends with John later, but he wouldn't respond. I'm sure he was crushed by my unexpected turnabout during his college visit.

Imagine my surprise when he contacted me recently. Forgiveness takes time, depending upon the people involved and the nature of the offense.

Once he e-mailed me, I began obsessively indulging in the sweet memories of that summer. He had picked me out on the first night of camp, when we all sat around a huge circle and introduced ourselves. Good thing he didn't waste any time (he came over to me immediately and made his intentions known) because we got right to it, and thoroughly enjoyed the entire duration of camp, from the first day to the last. Everything is more fun when you have a boyfriend, as I vividly recall.

I remember one day toward the end of camp, when we were just hanging out in a grassy field. He was a dreamy kind of guy, with a James Dean look about him. He said,"Let's get a motorcycle and ride off into the sunset, just you and me against the world!" (Do teenage boys often say things like that?) Maybe he knew it was the last time we'd be together, and maybe we should have ridden off into that sunset.

But not to worry- last night we actually DID meet again! Thanks to John's effort to reconnect, we were able to arrange a reunion while he was here on a business trip. (I told him I wasn't likely to make a child-free trip to NYC for a few years!) When I saw him for the first time, my heart stopped- he looked remarkably the same- very good looking, very sexy, with slightly wavy dark brown hair and that knowing smile that says, "I know what what's going on with you, and I like it." I was speechless.

But not John- in fact it was his smooth personality that had always made him utterly disarming. He was quick witted, fast talking, intense, charming, totally at ease in the world, just as I remembered.

Both of us descended from Irish immigrants who settled in NYC and Long Island, so it was appropriate that we decided to check out a St. Patrick's Day festival. Like a breathless teenager on a date, I tried to focus on the sights, but had to keep glancing at him to see if this was really happening. It was as if the years between now and our summer together had vanished. Last night was simply the next night after our last. We had aged but a day. We did attempt to catch up on what we'd each been doing during the interim years, but the past had a powerful hold on us, and that was just fine. It was an incredible dream come true.

As we walked together, smiling, sometimes holding hands, I wondered why I had let this one slip away. No other boy or man suited me so perfectly. When we stopped walking, he put his arms around me and kissed me just as he had done in the stairwell of our camp dormitory so long ago. The re-living of the precious memory brought tears to my eyes.

When my alarm went off, I was stunned, absolutely crushed with disappointment. The tears eventually dried as I absorbed the harsh fact that John had not really been with me. He really was my boyfriend long ago, and he really did contact me recently, but the rest.....

But I keep thinking: Who's to say it didn't happen? Why couldn't it have been a striking example of time travel? It was so realistic, and we seemed to be 17, despite the awkward talk about our current lives. How is this different from reality? I have a clear memory of it. I have emotions associated with it. The only thing I don't have is the ability to stoke this rekindled romance. And I might not have had that anyway.

22 comments:

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Kacey said...

Sheesh! You really had me going for a while. I was ready to send the wedding present! I guess it's not too late; he did send an e-mail. If he's really cute, cool and doing well financially --- try to act as wonderful as you did way back when. I just read your comment over at Lisa's about the real estate problem. I agree with Lisa --- God never closes a door that He doesn't open a window. You wrote about your present home and it sounds like a great place to live, while you dream about other places. Without dreams, we would be very dull people. I think that is what is wrong with old people. They have stopped dreaming, because they think it is useless to dream of the future. Heck, we don't even buy green bananas!

Betty said...

Dear Kacey,

I wondered if this would really work! It seemed real to me, too, until that blasted alarm sounded. There's one slight problem which I couldn't figure out a way to fit into the post: John is married, with young kids. Our meeting is not going to happen.

I totally agree with you about dreams. They keep us alive and vibrant, no matter what age we are. I am working on a post about taking my house off the market, and I am struggling to find a way to keep that dream alive somehow.

Hugs,
Betty

Shankari said...

Sweet dreams!


What a great way to tell it.

Desiree said...

Oh wow! You got me with that one! I just love a love story! Well, Betty we create our own destiny in life and sense you have had contact with him there is no reason why this can't happen somehow. Is there?

Betty said...

Dear Shankari,

How nice to hear from you again! I've missed you. Thanks for stopping by!

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Desiree,

There is one limiting factor in this situation, unfortunately. He's married and has young children. But in my dream he was available!

And I do wonder what he was thinking when he contacted me. Is he just an incredibly gregarious guy who loves people, all people, even ex-girlfriends? I just don't know.

But who knows? Maybe I can create a new destiny...

Hugs,
Betty

Lisa said...

Betty,

First of all, I just fell out of my chair laughing at Kacey's comment about the bananas! She is too much. As for your dream...someone told me that there are "fear" dreams and "wish" dreams. Obviously, that dream wasn't about something you were afraid of. But quite possibly, it was about something that you wish for...companionship with someone who truly values you for who you are. The connection to your long, lost love is that he represented the best relationship that you've ever had. Maybe your mind is trying to tell you that you're ready to open your heart again! You never do know who's waiting around the bend.

Gabriela said...

That really was a love story. A sad love story maybe?

Anyway, I really enjoyed reading it. Nice blog. =)

Sideways Chica said...

Dear Betty...very clever chica. Had me going. Guess it had you going too. If I were you, I'd get rid of that alarm clock. ;)

And what would we do without Kacey and her bananas?

Ciao bella...ditto Shankari's "Sweet Dreams."

Betty said...

Dear Lisa,

Now I'm thinking back to the few dreams I actually remember, and I can see that each was either a "fear" or "wish" dream. (That's valuable, because I had worried that those fear dreams were premonitions!) (And you can just imagine how many house dreams I've had!)

I like your suggestion that maybe it's time to consider men again, and there actually might be another good one like John around the corner. Who knows?

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Gabriela,

Thanks for your kind words, and for stopping by the world of whirlingbetty!

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Teri,

Kacey's banana quip was priceless, wasn't it? The comments on our blogs are so entertaining and insightful.

I particularly enjoyed your suggestion that I do away with my alarm clock! You'd see how appropriate that suggestion was if you knew how many of these romantic dreams I've had over the past couple of years. And every single time, the dream seems true.

Here's to sweet dreams!

Hugs,
Betty

Heather said...

I found your blog by chance, but I couldn't resist leaving a comment. You never know what could happen, so I hope you take a chance and see him again. During the summer of 2001, I had a dream about a high school boyfriend that I had not seen in fourteen years. Our relationship had not ended happily. I decided to contact him after this dream, because it seemed like the right thing to do. We have been together for the past six years, and married for two. If it feels right, don't miss this chance.

Betty said...

Dear Heather,

Thanks for stopping by. I just love stories like yours!

Hugs,
Betty

Desiree said...

Oh My! Well then I guess that wouldn't be such a good idea! I have to agree with what Lisa wrote though. Maybe you are trying to tell yourself that it's time.

Though I know when there are children involved that's not an easy place to go. I know that aspect has really colored my own decisions in my life about men.

You know it's funny but I ran into and old boyfriend from (get this) fifth grade. I ran into him on the net. He turns out to be married too but we do write one another and are email friends and its nice. I think we always feel some kind of connection to those we had special relationships with and if we had a perfect world we'd be able to stay in touch and remain friends with then all. Because just because they leave our lives doesn't mean they leave our hearts.

Betty said...

Dear Desiree,

I totally agree- those long-ago ex's stay in our hearts. One of my very best friends is my last ex before I met my child's father. I have no desire for romance with this guy- I'm over that part of it- but his friendship is valuable. Like you, I wish we could stay in touch with all our ex's and not have to worry about the social taboos (my ex's are almost all married).

And I see that you understand my reluctance to jump into anything now that I have a child. I know from first hand experience how affected children are by the relationships their parents have. I might just wait until my little one is grown up.....

Hugs,
Betty

Priyamvada_K said...

Sigh....for a while I was thrilled, and happy for you. You had to go and dash my hopes! :(

Wishing all goes well with the reunion.

Priya.

Betty said...

Dear Priya,

I tried very hard to make sure the story didn't sound like a dream- I guess I succeeded! Sorry about that. But really, it seemed like a true reunion, and I will always wonder if it didn't really happen on some level......

It's always great to hear from you!

Hugs,
Betty

Loving Annie said...

Betty,
again, your last paragraph grabbed me ! Woman, do you read my mind for how I feel ???
I've had a few men from my past that I so wanted that kind of a dream to come true with...

Betty said...

Dear Annie,

I am flattered that I seem to have so much in common with you! Here's to dreams coming true!

Hugs,
Betty

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