Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Oldest love, sweetest love

Last night I dreamed, again, of an old love. Since turning forty, this guy in my past drops by in my dreams with wonderful regularity. It is though he is telling me, Hey, I'm still around. We had a good thing when we were kids, didn't we? Don't forget me. Don't forget us. My psyche agrees: You need never to forget him; you are not too adult to discount the most romantic relationship you ever had. Enjoy yourself, Kathleen. Wrap yourself in the memory of that love.
Yes, we did have a good thing. He was my first love, and therefore my sweetest, most uncomplicated love. We were young and unencumbered. We never fought over money or children or his golf club purchase or yet another expensive face cream showing up on a bathroom counter. We didn't have middle-aged spare tires and aches and pains. We had each other's youth and ambition; we had endless summer days and nights when school was out. We had hand-holding and stolen kisses and the occasional titillating grope sitting next to each other in the dark of his basement. We never had sex, which tends to ruin things, complicate matters. We had childhood innocence and the kind of kid happiness that is prevalent until the realities of adulthood start to wear on the natural joy of being alive.
If we ever fought, I don't remember why, or when, or how we might have made up. All of my memories surrounding my first love ~ when we were together ~ are positive and happy. When he would leave, for a summer afternoon, or a holiday event with extended family, or even for a nightly baseball game with his father, I would pine and wallow in a private misery that would have no audience. I didn't have the most supportive family, and had they known of my heart's allegiance to this backyard boy, they would have teased me mercilessly.
As many first loves go, this relationship ended in no official manner. There were no I-don't-like-you-anymore-leave-me-alone declarations. Neither of us stalked the other. There was no public tantrum complete with name-calling and tears. Our love withered on the vine of adolescence, and although we saw each other every now and then through the years, we were only socially polite and pretended that the love we'd shared was an immature alliance and nothing more.
We each married other people and became parents. I put my first love on the back burner of an old stove in a basement and pledged undying love to my husband, who is my best friend and my lover and my life partner. I am happy in my marriage. (Well, mostly happy, as is anyone who's been married nearly thirty years.)
These days, I do not put too much brain-time into analyzing why it is that my first love comes to see me so often in my dreams. I know with certainty, however, that I awaken 100 percent of the time with a heart happiness that makes me feel fifteen again. As I approach fifty ~ my goodness, I am getting old ~ this nighttime nostalgia hits me in my solar plexus, a sweet reminder that I have given, and received, love.

No comments: