I reconnected recently to a "boy" from high school. 40 years have passed since the last time we talked. And oddly enough I can still see the 17 year old I had a huge crush on lurking beneath the grandfatherly exterior.
He and I worked together at Burger Chef. He was funny and sweet and a smart ass who always made me blush and laugh outrageously. He played football and was solid both physically and emotionally. He drove a Mustang and was up for almost anything. After work we would drive out into the country, sometimes drag racing along empty roads. We explored abandoned "haunted houses" and scared ourselves silly. We went looking for the legendary Slash Monster who was probably modeled after Bigfoot. We played poker and despite not knowing anything about the game, I consistently won. Of course later I found out he had stacked the deck just so I would win. He was a sweet kid.
He was also one of the first boys I kissed. Talking the other night we both reminisced about the one night when we went out on a wild goose chase with friends, came back and sat in his car talking. I remembered how he leaned over and kissed me, looking deep into my eyes and smiling his cocky smile. He was a bit more experienced than me and definitely someone I wanted to kiss...
That was probably one of the most memorable nights of my life. I was smitten. And the next day I was scared. I liked him, really, really liked him. I was 16, he was 17 and I was terrified of falling in love and getting stuck in the tiny town I lived in. I was terrified I might not go to college. I might end up working at a factory or having babies. I played out a whole lifetime in my head and scared myself right out of dating him.
He ended up dating my best friend instead. I was devastated... She eventually married someone else, had babies, stayed in town. I went off to college, off to NYC, off to travel, got married and traveled some more before ending up back in KY. He ended up going to college, going into business, marrying, and traveling as well.
Then one night on Facebook, he popped up as a friend request through the old Burger Chef crew who had been linking up over the past few months. At first we just commented a bit, liked each other's posts but then one night we talked for a long time and started remembering our time together.
It's funny, how he reminded me of that girl I once was. How in many ways I am still her in my heart. He joked that he wasn't surprised I was a therapist as he remembered what a big heart I had and how I always listened to my friends' problems. He still saw me in a positive light.
The gift he has given me is that of remembering who I was and who I still am. I believe that there is a core being in all of us that doesn't change. I had lost sight of mine over the past few years. But somehow, the Universe is putting people into my life who reaffirm my innate being. He can't really say I haven't changed but he has told me I still have "it", that quality which was attractive, which was sought after, which was loved. I don't think he is talking sex appeal as much as he is talking soul appeal.
Maybe I am a middle aged woman trying to recapture my youth. Or maybe, it's just nice to be remembered as someone who was innocent and daring and free with her whole life ahead... and to be in touch with someone who still sees that 16 year old free spirit and encourages her to rage on.