First of all I’d like to wish my wife a Happy Valentine’s Day! Love you Babe! Since Valentine’s Day is all about love and romance I thought I’d share this piece with you as it is somewhat in keeping with the Valentine’s Day theme and been on my mind all week.
Funny how the mind works isn’t it? Since writing “A Crazy Little Thing Called Love” on Monday I just can’t seem to stop thinking about that “first love” period in my life. It’s like I opened the door to the past just a crack, just enough to pull up a few memories to assist me in writing my post, then I guess I forgot to close the door behind me. (a bad habit of mine according to my wife) It took no time at all for the door to swing fully open, allowing a flood of memories to come pouring through. I suppose working at the high school that my girlfriend and I both attended doesn’t help matters any. I gotta tell you, there is a lot of history on that campus, a lot of ghosts.
It’s crazy, I’ve been remembering a lot these past few days, reliving moments in my mind, some of which I haven’t thought about in ages. For instances I’d completely forgotten that we met just a few days before Valentine’s Day 1968 and a week later when I saw her again she had a small Valentine’s heart for me! Yeah that came to mind recently along with countless other memories. Funny, but for years following our break-up I tried like hell to suppress all the memories, they were just too painful. I did pretty well too, but from time to time a few memories would slip through the cracks in my mental defense usually triggered by something I’d see, a song I’d hear, or maybe some place I’d visit. Sometimes they just came out of nowhere. Yeah, they’d haunt me for awhile, play mind games with me, then slowly fade away. It went that way for years and years.
Then 15 years ago when I returned to Azusa High School, my alma mater, to work as a guidance counselor the ghosts let me know that they hadn’t let go. Yes, my first several months on campus were really something. The campus was still pretty much as it had been when I was a student there in 68/69, only a few minor changes. Wherever I went, whether I was walking through the quads, cafeteria, gym, or across the center of campus, I was on memory overload. The entire campus was alive with the ghosts of that first and only year that my first love and I attended school together. Believe me it was quite an overwhelming experience. And it wasn’t only the memories of times shared with her, it was memories of the entire year I spent at AHS, the ghost visions of the friends, acquaintances, events and activities that made my senior year so memorable. It was a real rush.
In time I came to realize that it was not the memories from the AHS period of my life that pained me. Most of the memories made at AHS that year were actually very good ones. And the memories of our time together then were mostly happy ones. There was some unpleasantness when we broke up for a few months that Spring and she dated a BMOC tennis player and Aztec singer! everything I wasn’t! Yeah I had a tough time with that one. But that was short-lived and we were soon back together. Can you believe her BMOC and I went on to become good friends, not right away, but in time and we are still friends today. Yeah it was actually quite a good year.
After sorting through things it became very clear to me that the truly painful times didn’t occur until a few years later. I guess I was hurt so badly that in my efforts to ease that pain I found it easier to just sort of lump the entire experience together and put it all behind me. I never guessed it would be so hard to do or take so long.
Yes, recalling the memories of that part of my life is much easier to deal with now. Perhaps it’s the passage of time, maybe age has given a small degree of wisdom or understanding, I’m not really sure. I just know that I can handle it a whole lot better than I could before. I mean even to be writing about it is something. I’ve never really sat down and written the story, fragments maybe but never the whole story, I couldn’t. But now I think I could actually do it. It would be a story about love sure, but also a story replete with details thus far only shared with a few people close to me, truths that explain why I was hurt so badly, so devastated. I don’t know if I will ever write it but I’d like to, I believe it would be very therapeutic.
A good friend once told me back when I was in the midst of my hurt and pain, that one day I would look back on that period of my life and laugh. I can’t say that I’ve arrived at that point in my life, I have yet to look back on the entire incident and laugh, but I have managed to look back and smile. If that’s as good as it gets that’s okay. I’m at peace with it all now and that’s what really matters. Besides, we were only kids! Come on, I was only seventeen and thought I was in love! What could I know about love?
Happy Valentine’s Day