My Friend, continued...
I found out recently that my friend's brother, the perfect gentleman, has always taken the physical part of relationships slowly. Even to this day! Waiting until marriage... I'm happy for him. He is indeed a rare breed. And SO unlike his brother!!
The summer of 1986 and into our senior year, I crushed on many boys who didn't know that I existed. In the meantime, I was friends with many boys who did everything they could to prove their love for me. God only knows why we don't choose the ones right in front of us.
Again I sat next to my friend in senior year English class. We talked every day. We hung out in different crowds but that year, for some reason, many of the cliques seemed to mesh into and around each other.
I also recall that my friend and his girlfriend were a force to be reckoned with our senior year. He was the goalie on our soccer team, in ROTC, our Homecoming King. She was involved in many clubs and was our class president. Both were heavily involved in school, disciplined and successful. They were seemingly perfect for each other.
I was only interested in enjoying myself and socializing. I wanted to drink. My friend didn't.
He says: He remembers parties that we both attended and I don't even remember him there. He has also mentioned a party that he had at his house. Again, I have no recollection of that memory.
He tells me now that when he saw me at these social gatherings, he wished to be with me. "But you were dating someone else!!" I told him.
"Only because you didn't seem interested in me at all. I only wanted to be with you."
If I knew that, things might be different now. Or not. But hindsight is 20/20 isn't it? Back to the story:
After graduation, I'd heard that my friend and his girlfriend broke up. They were going off to different colleges and decided to end their high school relationship.
I didn't know what I was going to do. I wasn't going off to college. I didn't even know if I wanted to go to college. I was also still single and painfully so.
Finally, after 2 years, my friend and I decided to go on our first date.
I was excited. I knew he liked me. I liked him. Yes, he was leaving but maybe something would spark between us. Maybe I could try the long distance relationship. Maybe?
We'd arranged to go out the night before his leaving for college. Something happened, I can't remember exactly... his parents didn't want him to go out or he had more things to do before leaving. All I know is that the date fell through.
When he called to give me the sad news, we stayed on the phone until the wee hours. We had the most open and wonderful conversations. He told me that he liked that he could say anything with me. That he enjoyed that he could be himself around me. We were both very disappointed that we wouldn't see each other.
He was heading off to a big university and promised to send me a nightgown with the school name emblazoned on the front. He asked, "If I send this to you, will you wear it every Saturday night and think of me?"
At the end of our phone call, he said, "I have one more question. If we had gone out tonight, would you have kissed me goodnight?"
Both of us were frustrated as we hung up the phone.
The next morning, as I slept in, he stopped by my house to say goodbye. I'm sad to say, that is another memory that I do not recall.
He says: On that morning, when my mom let him in, she directed him to my bedroom where I was still sleeping.
In my semi-consciousness, we talked. He doesn't remember much of our conversation because he was distracted by my lying in a bed, half asleep, in pajamas.
He headed off to college but he did send me the nightgown with his university logo on the front. As promised, I wore it every Saturday night for many Saturday nights.
We stayed in touch through letters and eventually lost contact. I attended college at a local university for 3 semesters. I still didn't know what I wanted to do in life so I packed up my bags and left home at age 19.
About 2 years later, my friend contacted me in my new hometown. His parents had moved here and he was in town visiting. We went to lunch together and talked. He was still very much interested in me but I was already dating and destined to marry someone else.
He says: His favorite part of that lunch date was when I told him that I'd lost my virginity and was learning all that I could about sex. I told him, "Remember how you told me that once I finally had sex, I would love it? You were right!!"
We stayed in touch sparingly over the next 17 years, contacting each other via email every few years just to say hello.
I married in 1992 and started a family 9 years later. The last correspondence with my friend was after the birth of my first child and right before a trip to Australia. He was living in Hawaii at the time, stationed at a post there with the Army. He had visited Australia the year before and wanted to share the highlights of his trip with me. Apparently, I once again let our correspondence lapse. I do recall hearing from him but as per the norm, his perception was a little more detailed than mine.
After the eventual demise of my marriage 5 years later, and after a year of recovery, I decided to hold my head up high and face the world again. I put my toe in the pool of online dating. The problem, I found, was that I was unable to open up to these men. I just didn't feel like I could trust them. So far, I'd found no one that I "clicked" with.
If only I knew of someone that gave me that feeling. If only I knew of someone that I could trust...
Needless to say, my friend was the last person on my mind as I headed into town for my 20th high school reunion.
To be continued....