Love and memories
Recently, when catching up on the events of friends, I saw something that sparked a whirlwind of thoughts. Some thoughts were new, but more so the experience brought me to wonderful remembrances of older, yet still vivid memories. The page that struck me most was the one in honor of your Dad. I saw the picture of you and your Dad. It got me to thinking. The thinking got me to remembering. So I decided it might be meaningful to record these thoughts, and also to see where each thought would take me. Ultimately, the title was completed at the end – because essentially, it’s the gist. So here goes.
A note: ultimately, most of this was drafted extemporaneously, and then re-written after having memories come back in response to thoughts which sparked other thoughts. In the end, it is essentially ordered. But, it is worth noting this memoire was at first very much a series of paragraphs. I honestly think I could write a novella of this – call it a love story if you will, that I think most would recognize and to which many would relate. To me, these days, not enough pen (symbolic I suppose) is put to paper about the simplest of life’s events as they were in the past – most have been by the great authors. So I thought, while not a great author, why not – my thoughts are as important as theirs are. Maybe I reflect on that because it was my focus of study, after a solid, but a not up-to-par salvo into a different discipline. Anyway – it is important to mention as the wording from here flows to some degree through time (I think). But, it was not initially crafted this way. So, to the beginning -
I remember a time, many, many years ago when we were young, when we would share notes to and from one another. Those notes discussed myriad things that seemed so important at the time. Now, of course, I no longer have those notes, because a long time ago I tossed them. But I still remember them vividly. I recall like yesterday your handwriting. I do not know why exactly that your writing is so clear, but it is. I swear I can see those notes like they are in front of me. Unfortunately, they are not. I threw them out when I was cleaning out my room to go to college many years ago. Throwing them out seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I told myself doing so would separate me somehow from the thought of you. I don’t know why I needed to discard them at that time. I think I decided it was not important to hold onto such things from my past.
I think I recall somehow believing those notes were no longer important; that I didn’t need that connection to that past. I didn’t need the memories, good and bad, to exist in extant form. Now reflecting, it certainly does not make sense now. How absurd it ultimately turned out to be. It would be interesting to have those letters in front me of me now, so I could re-live those times. I am sure that sounds strange to some degree, but I think deep down everyone enjoys being taken back to old times. That said, the fact those letters are gone has not taken away the strong sense of connection I still feel to you. Without doubt, you will see that in the words that follow.
Thinking about it now, I think I would enjoy reading those many notes. I was so excited mostly, maybe also tortured at times to get those notes. Back then, you would not have even known what was really going on inside me. I remember happiness, angst, and sometimes pain, but more importantly I remember my first true feeling of love for someone – for you. Given we were so young, it is easy to say I think that it was not “love”. But, I think it was. I remember the sheer excitement I felt being admired by you. Most of all I remember you.
I have so few tangible connections to that time now; a few pictures with some words you have written on the back; that is really it. Frankly it’s not enough. So what I have is my memories. I don’t really know what gets me thinking about the past sometimes. I just go there. But whenever I do, I cannot help but stumble upon your memory. Your face, your smile – the way about you – they are forever etched in the deepest recesses of my mind. So, why I am writing this? Honestly, I am not sure. But I do know there is importance in it. I know there is reason in making sure I do not fail to put down the important thoughts of my past. It’s not that I want to change where I am now and how my wonderful life has been spun. I also do not wish to change where you are. I guess, more than anything, it is like therapy to put down these thoughts. More than that, it is important to hold on to old but important memories. Maybe someday you will have the chance to read these words. Should you, please read them with the understanding that I simply needed to put them down. I simply needed to ensure you had something I could give. You will see what I mean as you get through this. With that, let’s move on:
When we were very young -
I can’t remember exactly how we met, or exactly how it was we connected the first time. I remember it was around 7th or 8th grade maybe? I remember someone, one of our mutual friends telling another of our friends that you wondered who the “guy in that jacket was”, or something like that. I think I had some crazy thing on that jacket. I wish I could remember now our first meeting. It was what, when we were adolescent? Good Lord that is already almost a quarter of a century now. Maybe you can remember? Probably not, but maybe, just maybe someday you can tell me about what you do remember.
My next memory is of your house. Right there on the main street, but it didn’t seem like it was main drag. I remember coming over; walking, or on my bike. I remember how nice your parents were to me. I especially remember your Dad. I remember feeling your house was where people came to have fun. I remember your parents, at least your Dad liked to drink a particular whiskey (more on that later). These are good memories. It is amazing to me that this all happened more than a quarter-century ago or so, and that those things stick with me so clearly. Think about that. . . Turning to more recent times, I one day was in the store buying some drinks for a party, and bought a bottle.. I recall my friend asking me “why that one", and me saying “I don’t know”. Reflecting back I wonder if I get that (even now!) because I remember it from your house. To me that is crazy. I bought that because of a recessed memory as far as I can tell!
Anyway. . .
Going to the water. It’s funny – I am not sure why that is important. But it is. I remember specifically sitting in the back of your cousin’s house. She was always pushing me. Maybe I should have listened. Who knows; I was young and shy
Holding hands. Doing so was important to me. I remember walking down the street hand in hand – a lot of places to be sure. But I distinctly recall walking down a street near a friends house. I cannot remember the name of that street now. To this day, it feels good to recall and is a very clear image of a long time ago.
Our first kiss... there should be more to this one, but honestly, this one escapes me mostly. I think because it was so fast and so intense (at least that is how my mind now tells me it was). Even though it was not “officially” my first kiss, it is definitely the kiss I consider the first. I cannot exactly remember how it happened, or where anymore. I vaguely remember your driveway….? I wish I could bring that memory back clearly. I remember certain instances of our kisses clearly enough though. There is one especially I remember. We were in your backyard, sitting together on chair – more lying on a chair. All are beautiful and good memories.
The baseball park. Hanging out. Being a little (maybe a lot) embarrassed to have you over my house. . .
Lots of phone time.
You playing the piano.
I remember the “breakup”– your friend telling me you wanted to “breakup”. Do you remember who? . . .I do! It’s kind of funny now as I think back. How bizarre. How kid-ish. We were young ; those things happened. I remember why – because I was too nervous to do more than kiss and hold hands (or at least that is the story). Who knows? – it doesn’t really matter so much anymore. I had plenty of chances later on as you will see. But how ironic that is in retrospect – it will connect later.
I remember after that, me putting a flower on the porch of your house. You thought it was from someone else. I never admitted it. I should have. Maybe you knew? That is something else you perhaps can / will tell me all about later on in life.
These were days without question when the impression of you was cemented into my mind. I certainly did not know it then. I had no idea then what was to come. I no idea it would be the start of many significant memories that prevail still; that I still hold onto dearly.
Moving on in life -
So, time went on and we started to grow up in high school (a little – there was a lot of childishness as well). It is though, when I now first remember taking different paths to some degree. It’s funny because we moved in different directions, but in reality, never too far apart. We remained “friends”. At least I think so. We ran in essentially the same circles most of the time. We crossed paths a lot. We were always cordial. I cannot remember exactly if you were on my mind though I think so. I don’t think I was on yours to any real degree. I do remember some specific, meaningful events though.
I remember one day when some of the guys I was friends with were mean to you in the hallway. Whatever they did made you very upset. I recall you cried. I remember it as a painful image. Most of all, I remember it clearly like it was yesterday. I think it might have been the only time I remember seeing you really upset.
I stress the word seeing. This is a bit of an aside, but needed. You strike me as ultimately a strong person. I reflect back and cannot for the life of me remember you being upset. Even to this day, I have never experienced your raw emotion aside from that day. I have to think it happened from time to time – who knows – but something tells me for sure – my gut says you are strong, yet emotionally complex. I could be wrong though.
So, I move on with the story – and why it is important to me. I remember you putting your head in my chest and being very upset. You were crying. I felt so terrible for you. I think at the sight of it all, those who decided to do what they did; decided it was not that funny. At the same time, I felt good that you trusted me enough to have me comfort you. Who knows – maybe I was in the right place, at the right time. I don’t really don’t care. This is a strong memory for me, despite negative situation that made it – ultimately, to me, it is a positive memory.
So now the “deep connection” theory. . . Was this the connection we formed earlier persisting through time – maybe a small measure of destiny? This is now about 4-5 years later – not that long, but long enough. Or, was it simply chance? I don’t know. Looking back, I believe this was more than blind luck. It could be also how one decides to put a story together in one’s head, but I really do not think so. I suppose ultimately, how one views the past dictates the sequence and connection of events. So, I ask you indulge me if you don’t see it the same way thus far. As I said earlier, hopefully, you get to tell me about your love and memories.
Another “aside”. It amazes me generally that through time, neither of us (or most of our friends) ever moved away. We all grew up together. It is amazing. Luckily I am still very close, if not best friends with a few of them. This is also a very important thing for me. Fodder, perhaps, for another memoir, though! Moving on. . .
It’s maybe a little surprising (maybe only to me), but we never did “date” during our high school years. We never so much as even came close to “hooking up”. I was doing my thing; you yours. I dated a few of our mutual friends. You did also. I have no clue if you cared about that at the time. Even still I am sure I thought about you (you will see). But we were exploring life on our own.
Still, that we explored didn’t matter. I took steps, perhaps unconsciously, to ensure you knew I was there. I think back now and don’t think I knew then I was making sure you knew I was there. But now I am certain I did with some innate purpose. For example, probably the most painful memory I think of is the BS with one of your then boyfriends. I guess ultimately I deserved it. I don’t regret it. It’s only looking back now it becomes clear to me those things were steps to get your attention. I think I did those things to ensure you didn’t forget I was there and thinking of you. Mostly, you should know that most of the reason those things happened was because he was not a nice person. Some of the things he would say without you knowing would make you cringe today. I was trying to protect you, though undoubtedly could not express that to you. It seems like it worked after all. I did those things to make sure you remembered me and so you knew I cared about you.
I remember watching you at your events. I don’t remember if you came to my games.
I remember me (and my friends) discovering the younger girls who were getting older. I recall you all criticizing us for it.
I remember being at parties. I distinctly remember one time, after prom I think, where you were with another guy at my house. I was with another girl. Man, I didn’t like that even though I was doing the same darn thing.
It’s strange, but I don’t remember you and me at graduation. I remember many other friends – yours and mine. I try hard to paint that canvas with memories, but I can’t. There is nothing bad there, I don’t think. I simply cannot remember any longer what part you played at that time.
I don’t remember the summer before going off to college. I didn’t have a girlfriend – I know that. I remember working a little. I have no clue what you were doing. It’s strange though, this is another picture in our shared history I simply cannot complete.
Moving on again -
This period is also hazy. Things seemed to happen in a blur. Time was moving ever so much faster. Even still, you were there, and I continued to think about you. There are some distinct moments.
I remember you coming to my college with some others. I remember that is where our first “real” physical connection happened – a close friend’s apartment (who also went to the same college). It was and still is very special. The memory and feeling will never leave me. It was minor, yet so major. It is a memory that I carry, and will carry with me. I will always remember what you said me some days afterward – maybe in a letter sent to my school? Do you remember? You said “I thought kissing you would be like kissing my xxx, but it wasn’t.” I don’t know for sure if that is an exact quote, but its close enough! This turned out to be the one and only time we ever “really” fooled around. That is amazing to me if you consider how strong the feeling I had deep down for you was. Think about it; it was almost ten years since we first kissed; all through high school and into college before we would reconnect. Ultimately, as things turn out, it is/was the last time. None-the-less, it is a very important memory for me now. Unfortunately, it is the only memory like this I have.
I was too young and stupid to realize anything more than we “hooked up”. I am an idiot. I had the chance to re-establish a strong bond with you that started years earlier. Only looking back do I see that now. They say hind-sight is 20/20. Frankly, I think it’s much more. In this case, I see it very clearly now. Only problem is there are no do-overs.
I recall a time during college – maybe during or after the first semester; after you came up to my school?? I am not sure. I remember you coming over to my house. I remember you telling me we could make it work even though were at different schools. Those words ring incredibly loud now. Sadly, I remember me being cold to you. To this day I cannot for the life of me figure out why. It’s painful to bring back this specific set of memories. Again too young and stupid to realize what was happening. To naïve to realize there was more there; not realizing you were saying something meaningful and heart-felt. I had the chance right there in front of me. Looking back, this is the time where I think, perhaps, I could have changed what has ultimately become.
I remember you being hurt. I think this was the first time I really hurt you. Interestingly, though, I cannot remember you being too emotional (like earlier). Did I decide to push you away? Maybe I needed to because of some of the earlier hurt you imposed on me. Who knows? In retrospect, I recognize this time the first step toward creating a significant rift between us; a real transition. I think this there we started really moving “apart” finally. I say in consideration of the connections held up until this point. We always seemed to converge somehow.
I am not sure what happened after that really. I was at one college; you at another. We were definitely going our own ways. But, we were not done yet. We were not alienated yet. I do wish I knew what was going on with you now in retrospect. What were you thinking? How did you feel about me . . . things like that?
Ultimately it’s during this time you found your own way – at least how I recognize it. It is during this time that our connection, while maybe not completely severed, was at least broken in tangible ways. Looking back – most, if not all of these thoughts bring smiles to me. You need to know that. The impact you had on me then was, and still is immense, in recollection form. More so than you can possibly imagine or know. I am now good (and certainly not then) at making sure those I care about know my deepest feelings, including you. I still am not that completely practiced at it, though I have gotten significantly better (from a rather low starting point to be sure). As emotional as I am, I still find it difficult to express the truly loving side of my being, openly, especially to others. A long time ago I should have expressed it to you. I find it’s easier to do in written words; in private. I should have learned by now that life it too short to hold these things in.
These are the hardest memories for me. Mostly they are hard memories because it is the time when I finally understood and came to recognize all I have mentioned. Call it having “a moment of clarity”; being able to see the past and how it has shaped me; us. Most importantly, I finally recognize now it was at this point, too late. We were clearly moving in different directions.
That said there are a few distinctive moments I remember. Before I get into those, it is clear to me now that the roads we were traveling had significant convergence to this point - whether purposeful or happenstance – I don’t know (there it is again – destiny???). There were always things bringing us back “together”, if you will. We always seemed to meet. That is, right up until that massive wedge I let creep in during our early college years. It’s unmistakable now, I think – one can never really know – that if at that time I had recognized what was happening. . . if I had taken even the smallest steps to ensure the roads we were on remained convergent - I think today would be very different. However one cannot change what is. What is done is, well, done. This is a hard fact. It is not so much “hard” to come to grips with; rather just one of the things you remember about time and history that so very much includes you and causes reflection – causes me to remember.
But, there was still more to experience. There was many memories to be made.
I remember being out one night. I think we were at a bar for a while. I remember being in front of a friend’s house and driving your parents SUV. I remember we were talking. The exact details escape me now, but I recall you telling me about you being hurt by me. Your hurt was due to the things I had done in the near past. You were uncertain of me. Reflecting now, I am not sure what you were uncertain of exactly. Did I miss yet another signal? It’s all such an enormous blur and jumble of half completed memories and I try to hold on to. But I remember it that way. I recall me trying to make some form of amends. I think the talk centered on us being friends – good friends. I should have said was really there. I should have been able to demonstrate and tell you about the feelings that were deep down. This is also a hard fact for me. Again, not so much to come to grips with. Rather, because in context of the larger relationship – despites many chances to do so, I never did.
Last aside (?): Life is a strange thing. It twists, and turns, and one never, ever knows what it will bring. In that it is truly fascinating. We as people in it are even stranger; the choices we make, and the clarity of those choices much later. Why is it that we as people only take the time to reflect when it is too late? We are always writing / remembering history. Wonderful, though, is the fact we as people in the lives we live can recall such painful, and at the same time incredible thoughts. Time is the evil of us all because it passes, way too fast. And always too fast to let us catch up and truly understand what is happening around us every day. Time is also the savior to psyche because we are able to recall important times in our lives, as I recall them now. It is fantastic to read, and re-read these words; to re-live these memories.
Okay – back to the story. Unfortunately it is during this time, I think I finally awoke and recognized that we were well down our own roads.
I remember making an idiot of myself there desperately trying to get us back on the same road. It was too late. It’s funny because what I was truly grasping for was the means to ensure we remained connected. Given completely different circumstances and a different time (there it is again . . . time) maybe things would have turned out differently. Not to be. God knows what you thought about after that. I cringe now. Hopefully time has caused you to take a different perspective. Maybe someday I will know about what you think.
We both have our own lives now.
Still small memories are made; for example, crossing paths when the opportunity presents itself. They are lesser memories now. Those made now are fleeting reinforcements of stronger memories made by people who once had history, but whose history has waned. Even still I remember love and memories. Even now every interaction brings back the older reminiscences. Seeing you makes me wonder whether you think of the same things sometimes; makes me wonder whether you feel any lingering connection to me.
Now all I can do is wish (and hope) we could be closer friends. One day I hope to be able to talk to you – really talk. Deep down I retain a strong emotional connection; a very strong feeling for you. I would not call it “love” in the way of lovers, or that I would give up what I have now, or want you to give what you have; not at all. I love my wife deeply, and my children. By all sign, you do love your family also. I am happy for the both of us for sure. But there still exists for me an extremely strong emotional connection that resides in my heart. This connection to you remains strong. I do not know if you have the same reflections, or feelings. I hope so. But I guess I cannot blame you for not having the same thoughts as I do. Even still, it is refreshing to write this all down. As I said earlier, hopefully someday you get to read this. But, chances are you never will.
These are my thoughts, my love and memories put into words for later personal reflection. I write this because, someday, I hope, no, I want you to understand how I really felt and feel even now. Please smile for me. Please remember me and you! Maybe, just maybe I am looking right back at you! All I can do is take small steps to ensure you know I am still there; to ensure you know I still care – as I have since the beginning. – so you also remember. Love and memories
Since this was originally written, many more years have passed. Still, it is amazing to me how incredibly vivid the memories are that appear in the previous paragraphs. It is eerie almost; but at the same time beautiful. To this day I remember things about us. Despite our loves going very opposite directions, the memories of you weigh heavily on me in the sense that I will never forget you and the memories, no matter how distant they become. Each year I plan on adding to this story. Some years will perhaps be more inclusive than others. It really depends on what has transpired. None the less, I will add more each year, so that I can read about what is on my mind, and perhaps someday you can to.