Please enjoy Part Five of First Love.****
As does the sound from snapped fingers dwindle quiet… it lost to time… so does each of our lives… that which happens… is lost… can never be retrieved… relived… only reviewed… yet, everyone wishes for a do-over
AGE she 32 and he 30
SUBJECT Hobson's choice (first choice)
Months earlier, he stood motionless in the foyer, half way through the mail, he paused, with an unopened letter jutting from the small catch-all table. That one piece he mused over, not realizing tension tightened his features. The item was again, set aside.
Days became a week, before returning to it, reflected on its request, but was reluctant to RSVP his ten year high school reunion. No, it was not because he was unmarried or didn't have a date. No, weight gain or lost hair. No, lack of esteem of a career gone wrongly. No, fleeing memories or had he grown from the people. It was simply one fact. The reunion was at the Drake Ballroom, the same ballroom where the prom was held, no, not their school’s prom but Dickinson’s prom. The prom he escorted Cathy. A vision of her prom night flashed but he didn’t dwell on it, simply tucked it away with the rest of those aged-washed memories. His remembrances of her were always bumpy drifts through melancholy, presently more pragmatic then painful, though there were still regrets. He feared a night in that room, where everything might become unnervingly vivid; recalling that depressed period might be unsettling. He replied to the invite.
Yes, he accepted.
Now, while driving to the reunion Keegan continued to recall Cathy, almost the way one would flip through a pile of photos, quickly with a smile at some, fond and slow with others, and pausing to reflect more intently with the special ones.
Their first meeting was one of the special ones, she wore a tight-waist dress with a flowing skirt. He couldn’t recall the color just that it somehow matched her smile, brilliant and engaging. She was with four friends, and he noticed she seemed to be the listener and her friends sought attention, perhaps vying for advice. She was fascinating. It wasn’t looks though, he remembered, thinking lovely, for she was more then the encapsulation of beauty. She radiated something, confidence perhaps, a general ambiance of brightness and approachability.
He refused to fight off the remembrances.
And he did approach the group, excused himself, and asked her to dance. She declined, but the softness of her response, the eye-contact that never wavered, the attention to his request took the sting out of rejection. Then, later that night she asked him. Neither danced with anyone else that evening. There first date was of all places bowling, why an odd choice, because neither bowled, finding great amusement in that feeling it was so perfect.
And at that moment, that precise moment, that they seemed to know they were, as all their friends insisted, meant for each other, was at the state wrestling finals. Her brother representing Dickinson and Keegan sporting City High colors were both competing and she cheered for both. It was not ironic in that they competed against each other, for they did not, but more so that she and all their friends found comfort stepping over the barriers of school allegiances. She wore her school colors, a cheerleading outfit, showing spirited school pride was good but loyalty to friends and family was grander. She cheered and all of their friends followed her lead. Her voice bellowed a made-up cheer for him that spurred Keegan to pin his opponent. And he, in turn, clapped and whistled her brother to success. He remembered the commonality of their excitement, pulling together, connecting.
He refused to fight off the remembrances.
Then there was their first kiss, it more the accident then the plan. She helped him type a term paper, critiqued its contents, and when completed he gave her a thank you kiss on the head. This was a kindness share with a friend and it reverberated instantaneously through him, with one sentiment; she was a kind friend. Again, there was that rare sensation of being linked and over time that platonic kiss found lustful reasoning but the first one was far more important. The first sealed an emotional memory that became neither strained nor foggy with time. Cathy and he were bound in friendship, rooted deep and pursued by want, and the call of the wildness in their spirit for the other.
This now accomplished adult recalled the torment of maturation, the lies told to him by family and friends, and the battle to understand the construct of an honest male. Certainly, he struggled with the whys and whats of the loss of Cathy but there were more complicated inner-personal contentions. He proudly remembered he had a metamorphosis from being an unaware, and then an admitted sexist, to a more respectful man, turned from a misogynist to a caring man. That path to get there was long and he was amply proud of his changes and growth.
Early misleading messages created a conflict and when he finally found the motor of his feelings he discovered he was far from a sexist and knew he respected and honored genders equally. From time to time he juggled shame against foolishness and forgave his foolishness and quelled his shame.
Today, he championed women in his workplace and fought daily for the rights of the weak. Indeed he had matured. Yet, lost in those years was one very obvious fact, he let the truth of love lose favor as if it were a birthmark just ignored. Did he want love? Deeply but failed to understand how to grow it with just anyone, knowing that true love was not a series of words or events played out while dating but a cosmic gift whereas two individuals connected at many levels and every level fought for its own rapture.
He had changed and he wondered how much others had. He believed he’d discover a very bald Jake. His hair had been thinning back in senior year when they were football teammates. Roscoe had to be pressing all of three hundred plus pounds by now. Then again, Jake could have a hairweave and Roscoe might just have found the right gym. Jake had been dating that kick-boxing trainer last he heard. But it was Tom and Donna he was anxious to see. They had moved to California not long after high school, and though they kept in touch, mostly the yearly Christmas card, he wanted to know more about their lives and their three sons. Tom wrote that they’d both be there, one of the motivating factors to attend. He didn’t marvel that the two were still together. It would have been more surprising if they hadn’t been. They seemed so perfectly fluid within each other, nearly blending. You could not think of the one without the other. He and Cathy had been pretty much the same. Only for them, it turned out differently.
TO BE CONTINUED
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