About two weeks ago, I ran back into someone special from my past. This is the guy for whom I was stricken by with a notably strong case of puppy-love, as a 16 year old girl. And I will say that after 25 long years apart, we truly picked up right where we left off, with our unfinished business as dumbass kids. When he left way back then, I was so sad over it that I cried on a regular basis. My mom used to tell me that “everything happens for a reason” and take me to the movies to help me forget him and move on. He was 22 at the time and worked every waking moment in order to move his mom and brother out of the hood where we lived.
I found out long after his disappearance from my young life that he’d gone to Arizona after getting shot in the back by a gangbanger and dodging the bullet himself.
I was longing for closeness to another human being when I met him; he was yearning for something similar. We clicked immediately and spent countless hours talking and laughing together in his truck. We talked to each other about the things we couldn’t talk to anyone else about. Our connection went deep pretty quickly. I didn’t know it back then, but this bond we were nurturing was the Real Thing. And oh, how I longed many, many nights to stay with him when it was time for me to go inside my house. I longed to be with him more often than I was able to; and unsurprisingly, I was unable to express my young, fierce and undying admirations to him. I longed to share something special with that shy, super respectable young man in those days, and very badly.
On both ends, there was memorable angst. At the time, there were friends we shared in common (pre-Facebook era, so like REAL LIFE people that we actually ate meals with) dropping like flies all around us, due to collective and violent neighborhood angst that was sadly familiar and accepted, even participated in, by most of the people we knew. He wanted something better for his younger brother and himself so he worked all the time in order to get away from the angst. He loved his mama; he was a good boy in comparison to the rest of our friends. He wanted more out of life for his little brother than violence and premature death everywhere they looked. And eventually, he got himself and his family that break, and they all moved out of state.
My 16 year old heart was obliterated by his decision; but the truth was that I’d known all along that I was too young for him. So, as any right-minded man his age would’ve done, he had to ultimately pass me by; timing was not on our side and we both knew it deep down. He never allowed anything much more than hand-holding and some kissing to happen between us, despite a very powerful chemistry screaming loudly at both of us all the time. He had to let me down; but he did it reluctantly and with a heavy heart.He used to always say that I was wise beyond my years; probably because he was able to trust me implicitly and talk to me about any and all things that came to mind. Back then, we told each other our secrets, hopes and dreams.
I remember sitting in his truck, listening silently together to Tupac’s ‘Dear Mama’ when it debuted on the airwaves, still and calm together, somehow at the most peace I recall feeling during my teens. I vividly recall going to see the movie ‘Casino’ with Pesci and Deniro at the theater together, and after Joe Pesci’s character got offed, but continued to narrate the film, he was absolutely flabbergasted and announced it to the packed theater. I loved who he was.
I’ve always remembered his huge hands and mutant long fingers. I never forgot the soft-spokenness, in stark contrast to his imposing stature, scary big bones and naturally arching eyebrows.
I’ve always felt this man’s presence underneath the buzz of every day that landed between then and now…25 years worth of days.
He never turned into a ghost in my heart, either, like everyone else that I’ve ever claimed to love has done with time. I’ve questioned the brightness of his memory many times in my own head.
And, the odd thing has been that I never had a single thought about him that was remotely negative all these years gone by.
To be honest, I’ve always wondered why he seemed to resurface in my head with no bitterness attached to his namesake; especially as I spent long months pining for him after we stopped seeing each other. I mean, every other dude I tangled with back then was an idiot, a player or just a downright douchebag and I definitely carried around the baggage from each of them on my sleeve. So when we reconnected recently, and I found out that his circumstances and situation, when compared with mine at present, resembles something akin to the best thing that’s ever happened to either one of us, I left myself open and took the chance on it.
I’m leaving California, where I’ve lived all of my life, to marry the man who used to be the young punk who broke my 16-year-old heart and then disappeared without a trace. 25 long years have passed between us, but we are more in love than we ever could have been as youngsters. I feel as if God has blessed me in like a million ways within a short period of time. My heart is so full of love and acceptance and trust and admiration for this man, I have been rejuvenated and feel like a new woman.
I’m just sharing so that everyone knows where I am in my absence. I am busy sorting, prioritizing, tossing out the unnecessary, packing, saying goodbyes, planning my wedding, planning our future, and relocating. I am incredibly happy.
And someday soon, I will be back to write about happiness, for a change.