Something about the Olympics triggers memories for me. I don’t have a lot of non-family ties to my past. No real reason, I guess I moved at times that stopped me from continuing ties I’d made through my school years. Or maybe I’m not bff (how I hate that abbreviation!) material, whatever it is, I have no ties to my past lives. I envy people that have friends from first grade (like Mike and his bff Mike) or people who have best friends from college or high school – I envied their friendships when I was IN college and/or high school. I just never made those connections.
Anyway, something about the Winter Olympics made me think of the first high school I attended. So I googled it and couldn’t resist clicking on the reunion link. I wasn’t looking for anyone in particular, just looking. I left that high school at the end of 10th grade, but I attended grade school and junior high with many of the graduates.
I was NOT expecting to find an “IN MEMORIAM” link to the first boy I ever really ‘loved.’ He died this past January, almost exactly a month ago. I’m just stunned. He and I had an ongoing flirtation/extreme-like thing since we were about 12. It was so sweet and innocent. We would meet at the local park or tennis courts and walk for hours and hours just talking and talking and if we had money, we would pool it together to go to Friendly’s to split a grilled cheese.
Later, as we headed into high school, we remained friendly. He was a wrestler and soccer player, I was a gymnast. Much of the time we spent together was competing with each other – running, wrestling, holding our breath, you name it. It was never a dating-thing, but we were definitely good friends and always connected. I remember feeling so proud when I visited his house one day and a picture of me with my gymnastics team was hanging on his fridge. (As a mom of four boys now, my hat is off to his mom for allowing that picture on her fridge!)
The day we moved from Pittsburgh to New Jersey, he showed up early in the morning to send us off. It was my 16th birthday. Before I climbed into my mom’s beige Aspen station wagon he gave me the kiss of a lifetime in the middle of my childhood street. We parted with tears in our eyes (really, we did!). In my whole life, he was someone who stands out as a person who was fun and challenging to talk to (sorry, that’s a terrible sentence).
We remained friends, writing frequent letters (pre-email dontcha know) and post cards through high school and college. Once we both started working, we lost touch. And, now I’m sorry we lost touch. I am sorry for his family and friends. He was one of the good guys and he’s gone.
It’s so sad.