A Closet Reordering

Over the past couple of days I have been cleaning out my closet. That would be the one between my ears.

It’s difficult to believe that it was almost a year ago that I wrote about Amy, a girlfriend from my high school days. You can find the background on Amy and our meeting last year here, 2nd here, 3rd here, 4th here, and 5th here .

I had a meal and drink with her last week as she was in town again for a conference. We have kept in touch since her last visit, emailing and texting on a regular basis. We are getting to know each other again.

I had very mixed emotions after we met last year. This is a woman I had not seen nor heard from in many decades. A woman I had fantasized about all that time … though admittedly not so much in the past several years. Nonetheless I had had a tender spot in my heart that was always activated even at the mention of her name.

I sort of confused myself. I suspect I could have gone up to her room last year after our drink and something would have happened. I didn’t. I begged off to be sure it didn’t or wouldn’t happen. Why was that? I didn’t want anything to happen, and that definitely bewildered me.

Was I afraid that she would reject me?

No, I don’t think so. The vibes were positive.

Was it because I had this deeply imagined fantasy and didn’t want to risk the chance of reality ruining it?

Maybe.

Had I and/or my thoughts of Amy changed?

Possibly.

And so we met again.

Dare I say, it felt like old times. In the sense that there were no nerves, I felt no pressure. We caught up a bit and chatted about recent dealings with common friends, and what she had on her plate profession-wise. I mostly listened. It was still easy for me to get caught up in the magic of her flashing, deep green eyes. The lilt in her voice.

But that was all. There was no lust for her. Not last year. Not now. The wont had disappeared. And won’t be resurrected.

That long-gripping ghost has finally ceased to haunt me. The mental closet holding my deepest emotional treasures and memories has released one long resident spirit. I have one less obsession.

And let’s be honest. It was an obsession. I can be obsessive. I need to wrap my head around this.

And yes, Amy and I will stay in touch.

 

 

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Contact Info (5) … Looking For The Past

Past-Street-Sign-Featured[1]This is a followup to my post about receiving the contact info of a very long ago girlfriend, Amy. You can read the first post here , the second can be found here , the third is located here, and the most recent is right here.

I stopped in my tracks and opened my arms. Amy slid between them, and reached up and hugged me … hard … like she had always done those so many years ago. I held her close. Then kissed her cheek. At last!

I’m fairly tall. And Amy is very short, but solid. Nothing had changed over the years. As a teenager and young woman, her dark hair had been long down her back. Now, still dark as promised, it extended only to her shoulders. She hugged me tightly.

“It’s so wonderful to see you, Marty.”

“Amy, you look great!” I replied.

“Oh Marty! So do you.”

“Come, let’s get a drink,” I said.

We strolled into the bar, and the hostess found us a table near the tall windows. Amy ordered white wine and I chose a beer. We just looked at each other for a few minutes, both smiling. Amy rested her head on my shoulder.

“Where do we begin?” Amy asked.

“How about when we last saw each other?” (I had asked her in an email if she remembered that. Sadly, she did not).

I said “It may be you won’t want to remember. I was staying at Paul and Mary’s when you and Tom came over.” Paul and Mary were married friends of ours who lived close to where Amy was living at the time. Tom would become Amy’s first husband.

“Oh,” she said. “I tend to block out anything to do with that time with Tom”. She had married Tom, but that had ended in a very adversarial divorce not too many years later.

Then she told me how she had been the “other woman” for 13 years to her next door neighbor in the little town she then lived in. This fascinated me because, when I knew her, she was anything but the radical. Fairly prim and proper. I admitted to being very surprised.

Eventually she married that man and they’re still together. But he has serious illnesses. She then told me of their dream property they had bought, and invested heavily in with some overseas contacts. How the contacts had cheated them, and now she and her husband had lost everything. They had no financial security, no retirement savings. And a devastating fire a year ago had eliminated most of their remaining personal assets.

I looked into her green eyes that so sparkled those many years ago. Maybe it was the dimness of the light … but I saw no sparkle. Still, she smiled weakly and invoked the Buddha.

“Life is difficult. When we accept that life is difficult, it becomes less so.”

I looked at her and could tell that truthfully there was no sadness, but neither was there much joy. I held her hands as she opened up more about her life, and what she felt she was missing. We chatted a bit about old friends. She was surprised at how many I was in contact with still.  She regretted not keeping up.

She started to get excited as she said ” … and I’m going to touch base with Andy and catch up on all the things he has been up to over the years. I heard how well he had done in business. We were so close for so long!”

Andy, our age, had been a neighbor of hers growing up. They were always in the same class all through school, and had been the closest of friends.

“I’m sorry, Amy. Andy died 4 years ago. From cancer.”

I watched the tears quickly rise in her green orbs, then overflow, and creep ever slowly then to crawl downward in rivers on both sides of her still stunning face.

“I didn’t know,” she whispered. “It’s all too late now.”

I changed the conversation and talked about about some of the activities I’m involved in. Amy surprised me … she confessed she periodically googles my name, and was even aware of my Twitter account. I was shocked.

“But you never contacted me?”

“No,” she said sheepishly. “I don’t know why not. I should have.”

We reminisced some more, and she made me laugh.

“Oh Marty! I so love your smile. I’m so happy to see that hasn’t changed.”

It was my turn to be sheepish.

Then she said, “I know I was so shallow as a teenager. I was all about being popular.”

“Yes, Amy you were very popular. I was so timid, despite being so crazy about you, I could never take that next step. And all teenagers are shallow, that’s what a teenager does.”

“No, you were never shallow, Marty. I always admired that in you.”

I’m sure I smiled to that. And I wondered if she knew how much I appreciated that little compliment.

We talked on. For 3 more hours and a few additional drinks. Nothing was awkward. Nothing was sacred. It felt so comfortable. Close, touching.

Yet something was not right. Not as I would have expected. I was feeling a little confused. Confused with myself.

Where was the fire in my loins for Amy? Was there even a spark? The Marty, who is so used to his thoughts of lust around attractive women was missing. But yes, there was a spark. And I could feel an eagerness in return from Amy. I’m certain I could have had her. Or at least gone to her room for a nightcap.  And then seen what would have happened.

But I didn’t. I didn’t feel the need. The wont was absent.  As the clock approached midnite I begged off, mentioning that I had a morning out of town appointment the next day which required my early rising.  Clearly disappointed, Amy said she understood. We clasped hands and she kissed my cheek.

After the tab was paid, we inched our way back to the front desk and then a final embrace.

And promised to stay in touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contact Info (4) … It All Comes Together

This is a followup to my post about receiving the contact info of a very long ago girlfriend, Amy. You can read the first post here , the second can be found here and the third located here.

Amy and I arrange to meet at her hotel …

We exchanged several emails back and forth while she made her way towards my town on the train. Mostly some quick catch up on the missing 40 years since we had seen each other. She asked who I was still in contact with from our high school days, and she was amazed at the list.

“I have tremendous regret for losing touch with all the amazing friends I had then.  Huge mistake,” was her response. In essence, she had walled herself off from her past for these many decades.

I asked her if she remembered the last time we were in each other’s presence. Amy confessed she did not. Now that was a bit crushing, since I remember it so vividly.

“When was it?” Amy asked me.

“I’ll tell you about it when I see you,” I said.

We laughed back and forth wondering how well we’d recognize each other. She claimed to really have no grey hair yet. Even she was surprised. I chuckled and told her I was now “arctic blonde.”

“My train is arriving!” Amy wrote back. “I’ll be out of communication for a while. I have to check into the hotel and then head right out for my gathering.”

With that, I got back to work. Soon enough it was time for me to leave for my evening appointment.

It would be far from incorrect to say I didn’t obsess about meeting Amy in the past. I had wanted to see her again for so many years. Those so many decades ago when I was wandering, I had often thought of her nonstop. And as she reminded me, I had written her many letters. And now we would see each other.  Strangely, I was already feeling a little “let down”. Let down, because I was disappointed in my lack of overwhelming enthusiasm.

“What’s wrong with me?” I wondered. “Why am I not over the moon right now?”  I bewildered myself. Why was I not nervous at all? Sure, I was looking forward to this. But damn I was being calm!

Pretty much on schedule, my activity was done … Hi there. I’m just finishing up. What’s up with you? … I texted.

… I’m all done – a very few people left here. I’ll head to the bar in a few minutes. What works for you? … she texted back.

… I’ll be there in 15 or 20 minutes. Meet you in the bar? … I responded.

… Sounds good …

15 minutes later I was at the hotel’s front door.  The bar was on the immediate right. I headed in.  I searched all the faces in the bar. Clearly, Amy wasn’t there  … or did I just not recognize her? No, she wasn’t there.

I exited the room and headed toward the front desk. Maybe there was another bar? Then, as I strode around the corner, there she was! She saw me the same instant I saw her. She ran towards me.

I stopped in my tracks and opened my arms. Amy slid between them, and reached up and hugged me … hard … like she had always done those so many years ago. I held her close. Then kissed her cheek. At last!

To be continued …

 

 

 

 

Contact Info (3) … Message from the Universe

This is a followup to my post about receiving the contact info of a very long ago girlfriend, Amy. You can read the first post here and the second is here

Then I relaxed a bit. And wondered how long I would wait for a response. If even there would be one.

After I sent the email, I went back about my tasks, and didn’t really think much more about Amy.  Well, that’s a small fib. She did cross my mind, and I was curious what she would think when she read my note. And how long it would take her to answer, if she did.

14 minutes later, this arrived

“Holy smoke!  Huge flashbacks!!
I could never forget you, Marty!!”

Ah, well that was quick! And dare I say, somewhat positive at least. I read further …

“This is awesome because I was recently going through a box from long ago and I found old letters from you when you were in Europe.  I was back to that time in an instant!  Such fond memories of you.”

Whoa! Hold on here. She has letters from me from this time when I was traveling? And she recently reread them? Isn’t that something! These “letters” would actually be aerograms. I know most of you won’t know what these were, but think of the flimsiest  paper imaginable (to save on air transportation costs), colored a light blue, and prestamped. As I recall there were 4 sides you could write your “letter” on, then they would be folded up, a tab licked and sealed. She still has these flimsy pieces of paper from over 4 decades ago? This is becoming very interesting.

“Right now I’m sitting in the train station heading to a conference. I’ll email you later this evening when I’m finished with the stuff I have to do.  We’ll catch up.  Is that OK?”

My mind went numb. I have eliminated from her  words the town where her conference would be happening. That’s because it’s MY town! Amy is ready to board a train headed for where I live. But she doesn’t know that because in my emails I have not mentioned where I reside.

I swallowed hard. Now I’m excited. And very unsettled. Because this is now at a place where I have no control. And that makes me uncomfortable. We exchange several more emails. I tell her my location, and that coincidentally I too have an event to attend this evening downtown. Less than 5 minutes from Amy’s hotel. And I shall be finishing about the same time as her initial gathering will break up.

Ponder this for a moment faithful Reader. Amy is one of those “who got away”. A girl who occupied my thoughts fairly significantly until I met Kate. A girl I last saw on a date perhaps 45+ years ago and whom I hadn’t seen and heard from in 40 years. Who recently had a chance meeting with one of my best friends in an emergency ward in a rural hospital, and gave him her contact info. Who on the day I decide to write her is boarding a train to my town and will arrive in several hours. Where our evening schedules overlap not 5 minutes apart.

I feel helpless. There are no choices to make here. Only instructions from some invisible force to follow.

Amy and I arrange to meet at her hotel …

Contact Info (2) … Should I?

This is a followup to my post about receiving the contact info of a very long ago girlfriend, Amy. You can read the first post here.

You knew, of course, thoughtful Reader that I would contact her. But how would I open it? We are talking 4 decades since any type of contact.  Rachel asked in the last post if I had tried to find her on Facebook. I had, of course, many years ago. Google searches in the past revealed a bit of her professional life, but nothing significant on a personal level.

And let’s remember, she had never tried to contact me, and my online profile while not outlandlishly extensive, is not hidden either.  So she obviously had never felt the need to initiate any sort of contact.

I stared at the sheet with all the contact information.

I thought.

I tried to be logical.

Did I WANT to contact her?

Yes.

What was I expecting in response?

Unknown. At minimum a friendly “hello” and perhaps a brief email catching up after all these years. At maximum? BIG unknown. I’d just go with the flow.

What if she doesn’t answer?

Well, that would be an answer, wouldn’t it?

If I heard nothing back within a week or 10 days, would I try again?

No!

I started writing the email. The first line was extremely lame.

“Hello Amy! Perhaps you might remember me. But then again, perhaps not.”

Lame in so many ways … most glaringly in the fact that I knew full well she would remember me.  But I hoped she would take it in the vein it was intended … jocularly.

The rest of the email was rather nondescript … mentioning that her contact info had been given me by my friend who encountered her by chance in a hospital emergency ward. And I hoped the years had been kind.

I sent it off.

Then I relaxed a bit. And wondered how long I would wait for a response. If even there would be one.

 

 

 

Contact Info

I’ve been staring at it for 10 days. Off and on. And not every day. But sometimes for an unusually long time. The paper sits mixed among the scattered piles of paper on my (to the untrained eye) very messy desk.  Right there underneath a recent P&L statement I was looking at, next to an outline of a project I am grappling with, and shielding me from some invoices I need to pay.

When I first saw it, I recognized the penmanship of course, even though I haven’t seen it in almost 50 years. Neat, tight, and clear, as I imagine it always has been. Name (including nickname back then) in block letters. Home telephone number. Mobile number. Email address with a ” * ” beside it. Then another email contact point. Finally, a long rural home address printed neatly in block letters.

“It” was given to me by one of my closest friends after we had said our final goodbyes to another. He filled me in on the chance encounter. They both had been in the emergency department of a rural hospital, and despite the travails causing each of them to be there, the serendipity of their crossing paths didn’t escape them. Our home town was hundreds of miles away and eons in the past.

I was so different then. I often chuckle at the innocence and most surprisingly at the timidity I exhibited as a teenager. I know we all mature and grow, but we do so in various ways and to different degrees.  There is much of me that is vastly different to when I was 17. I’m certain we all can say that, of course,

We dated. Quite a bit. But Amy was one of the most popular girls in her year. Beautiful and tiny. Long dark hair down her back, with sparkling green eyes. She and her two siblings were near-certified geniuses, too. She had a long line of suitors from not only our school, but several other schools throughout the city. All better looking than me I felt, most more athletic. She liked me, of course. Heck she wouldn’t have spent so much time with me, given all her choices, if she didn’t. But I wasn’t confident enough then to push and pursue.  And I dated several others, too. We saw each other a few times while we attended different colleges, 500 miles apart. But that never works and it didn’t.

I’m still staring. What will I do? Well, dear Reader, you and I both know what I will do. But when? What will I say? And will she answer?