Friday, August 10, 2012

I Found Him....

Well, I finally found him.  Ain’t technology grand?  I’ve been looking on the worldwide web for my first real love, a boy who was so sweet to me, and whom I treated so badly at the end.  I suppose lots of people have a story like this…. 

You know the one where girl meets boy, in church, no less; girl’s mother doesn’t like him, won’t let her date him; girl secretly meets up with him; their relationship is clandestine and thrilling and forbidden.
I really thought I loved him.  I told him I loved him, in two languages.  He said he loved me.    But…that was 40 years ago.  
You see, I had a problem lying to my parents, and it stressed me more than I ever thought it would.  My Christian conscience was working overtime.  Stress management at age seventeen is harder than one thinks.  Finally, I could take no more subterfuge.  So I ended the relationship.  I was sad and he was hurt.  I’ve regretted that decision ever since.

One day at work a few years ago, I was bored, and since we had internet access, I googled his name.  I was shocked!  His name popped right up!  Turns out, for several years, he’d been living in the opposite end of my state.  He was mentioned in several articles associated with his career.  He has actually done very well for himself and is a high-ranking executive.

Lately, with the advent of Facebook and Linkedin, it became easier to search.  I’ve recently re-connected with my stepson and his family on Facebook, as well as to classmates from elementary and high schools that I haven’t thought of in years.  Just type in a name and there they are!  So easy….

Now that I think about it, this is not a new thing.  I’ve been thinking about my love off and on since 1973.  That was the year that I started my private detecting. I managed to get his current address from the place he worked when he was here, and his forwarding address when he left and went back to college.  You see, he was a European who was going to college on a work-study program.

I wrote him a letter, explaining and apologizing for the hurt I had caused.  I really never expected to receive an answer.  But just in case the letter reached him and he wanted to respond, I gave my uncle’s address.  He and my aunt had been complicit in all the sneaking around I did to date him way back when.  Because he was a foreign exchange student when we met--and the letter had to go to Europe--I just assumed it would never reach its destination.  It was a cathartic process for me.  I was emptying myself of longstanding guilt.  However, in about three months I received an airmail letter.  He had answered my letter!  He thanked me for my letter and explained that he had met someone and was about to be married.  End of story.

That should have been the end of it, and it was for a long stretch of years.
I just bet a psychologist would tell me that I think about my love whenever there has been a big change in my life status, such as job change, marriage, divorce, etc.  And it would be true.  But, why do I do it, and what possible conclusion or closure could I gain from it?   Beats me….

So, back to the search:  I had his name and the industry he worked in.  There could possibly be multiple men with the same name.  Does this particular name belong to my love or someone else?  I had not a clue and no way to find out.  Until yesterday….

Yes, my life status has changed yet again.  I am retired from my job of seventeen years.  I am unemployed for the first time in my adult life.  I am trying to find what life holds for me in this next chapter.  So who do I think of?  My first love, of course, since my habits haven’t changed!  I check out Face Book often, since I enjoy catching up with friends.  It’s sort of like fishing, and since I had just had some good luck re-connecting to my stepson, I typed in my love’s name.  There were no results. 

Then of all things to pop into my mind was his first name.  I suddenly remembered he had been known by his middle name.  So I typed in his complete name, first, middle, last.  And there he was!  Or rather, there was a link to the name of a business.  When I clicked on the link…voila!  It took me to the biography page of the website.  I knew immediately this was the correct name because a photo was included.  My lost love stared back at me, a little older, a little less hair, but same eyes, same nose, same lips.

There was nothing of a personal nature in the biography blurb, just professional stuff.  He’s a very important person to his business, and I’m sure his wife and family think of him that way, too.
So, now the mystery is solved.  But my guilt is still unresolved.  I’ll just have to do as I’ve done in the past:  lay it down and move on.  At least for a little while.
I get a song running through my head written by the Man in Black, Johnny Cash, who, I’m guessing knew a thing or two about unresolved guilt.  “…No, I never got over those blue eyes…, I see them everywhere..., I miss those arms that held me…, when all the love was there…”

I can move on.  But I still sing this song.