Lost © Robert Sommers 2023

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Love reclaimed

I don't know why I put her name in the search box. I had done it once before and had come up with nothing. Didn't want to intrude in any way, merely curious. I don't care how happy you are in your life and your marriage, you never ever forget that first love. It wasn't a matter of rekindling anything, just a sincere hope on my part that she was doing well with her life after all this time. And wondering who she finally became.

We were much too young and it got way too intense. And there were issues that were destined to keep us apart. She loved Billy Joel. I couldn't stand him. She was beautiful, a dancer. Wore high heels that constantly got struck in the street grates of New York City. I had a difficult time with her drinking. She had a difficult time with me in general. We discovered the full utility of all of our working parts together and for a while it was a really beautiful thing. Loved Mose Allison, shared the wonder of first love. Dancing through the Amagansett dunes, high on rare potions and each other. Shaped each other to some degree. Wonder how she looks back on it, if she ever does? Am I now just a best to be forgotten chapter in her life's book?

There is a powerful intensity to love of any vintage, but the initial pangs are unique, tickling all of the magical buttons that a human being possesses.

We lived out here in my first apartment, for a very short spell. Finally, I left the country, she left for school and we split up standing somewhere over the river that flows through Tampa, a city I have never felt real comfortable in since. I had given an old woman my coat on the bus ride in from Miami and shivered the long ride back on the cold and wet Florida night. Bruised and miserable.

Her father had been a famous character actor, Player's Club, his voice over work was legendary and would be instantly recognizable to you. He also painted, naive, outside impressions of the New York urban panoply. Decent painter. He died young. My god, I am older now, these many years later than he was when he died. Need to apologize to him now for a few things.

I was poor and on scholarship at the upper East Side Prep School, that is until my father decided to stop paying the balance of the bill. A straight A student, thought I knew it all but was not quite able to hang in her Yorktown and Hampton circle of friends. I was doe eyed and the group was full of money and cynicism, the latter something I wouldn't embrace fully for a few more years. I was a soccer player and she liked to watch me run around the pitch.

I had found one of her father's paintings hanging in a hotel and tried to buy it a few years ago, for memories and old times sake. When I mentioned who I was, things felt a little frozen and the drawbridge swiftly retracted.

I think that she may have had some sort of emotional breakdown at some point. Mine came a year or two later, when I was last to discover that I was still hopelessly in love. She left with another guy, think he sold Frederick's of Hollywood lingerie. I lost touch.

I think that I found her new name through her mom's internet obit. The mother that could never stand me had died back in 2009. I remember walking past the startled parents having breakfast in the apartment, tipping my hat and never breaking stride after falling asleep one night in her bed. Anyway bang, all the information came pouring through, a meagre online footprint by today's standards but a physical address, daughter (now fully grown) and husband's name. A list of causes she donated to, heavy on breast cancer, had she had breast cancer?

There was also a small picture. From Facebook. It shocked me, the black hair now being long and silver but that human being that I knew and once loved was still there looking faintly familiar.

I told Leslie about the exploration and my wonderful wife thought that I should contact her. But I won't. That is a door long closed to me and I want to respect her privacy. Place my thanks to her in the wind for being the first to teach me what it means to love and be loved. Best to you, Abby. Hope it all worked out.

I have been thinking about lost love for a few weeks. I think losing old lovers and losing lifelong friends are equally miserable propositions. One of my problems is my acute memory. I have met people several times that I have shared the most incredible times with in my life, only to have either been forgotten by them or the time dismissed as a low point in their lives. I remember talking to a friend of my sister who had taken me under her wing and her apologizing to me, sorry man, that was just a really bad summer. It can really hurt, I tell you. Some of us love too hard.

I was a green transplant to New York City but met an amazing circle of friends there. Smartest group I had ever encountered. But I left for west of the Hudson and with one exception, ceased to exist for the whole group. Found out that the majority were more interested in taking than giving and that there was a  problem understanding the basic concept of reciprocation. In any case I no longer made the grade. Lost my best friend in 1985, to a serious case of apathy and selfishness and finally came to a point where I realized that I had to stop chasing my past around. As once noted so aptly by the french scribe, fuck them. People get dropped, you get dropped, it's life.

I was thinking about this last evening and had a minor epiphany. Better to focus on the friends gained than the friends lost. I ended up making a lot of core friends in the 1970's  from Chicago, Encinitas and assorted other places. Friends that have stuck by each other for 40 years through thick and thin. And many newer friends, here in Fallbrook and elsewhere.

We all something to share with each other that reaches beyond, class, creed, caste or political persuasion. Your friends don't care, they just know that you are friends and that true friendships operate under the immutable law of mutual enrichment. We all have an agreement to both enrich each other and to occasionally lighten each other's load. And so I want to thank all of my friends that may read this, for staying close and being part of my life. For enriching me and accepting me.

I was talking to a friend last night who says that I am getting a little too political of late for his taste. I apologized and said that I understood. This guy is square on top of the economic pyramid and did it the old fashioned way, working his ass off and believing in himself and his own unique approach. He said something funny, that I was grasping at minutia and then ascribing it to an entire class. Something like that. Always has my number. I respect successful people. Come to think of it, I love the fuck ups too and pretty much everybody in between.

Anyway I told him that part of the problem is that there are a lot of people reading. It is getting harder to write for all of these names and faces I do not necessarily recognize. It is getting more difficult to write about intimate concepts or even to write short fiction these days. I can riff on current events all day long without having to deliver the emotive and personal stuff. As Willie Nelson once said, never give them everything.

Not sure what the answer is. I will keep writing and try to sort it all out.


Anonymous said...

One of your best entries yet. I'm a sucker for the honest, deep and emotional. You hit a universal chord...


Anonymous said...

Best left undone, I went back to find that unforgettable first love and was sorry I did so. She was as pretty as ever externally but physically and mentally abused inwardly. Sadly lost her life to drugs no long after. I wish I had just left well enough alone and relished in the sweet memories of our youth.

Hudgins said...

The problem is that everything grows warts sooner or later.

In particular old loves.