can't forget my early love
posted by lloubee to human relations (58 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I’m grateful for a full life, for friends, love, a happy and lasting marriage, children; yet I remain a bit haunted by what might have been. Decades ago, when I was 16, I met a boy (of 17) at music camp. He went to a rival school in the same area of my school. I was immediately smitten---bells, whistles, fireworks. We were in the same section of the wind ensemble, and, for most of the two-week period we were seated next to each other during the long morning and afternoon sessions. At 16, I was mature and confident. Like most girls at that age, I knew he still had some maturing to do, but I felt I could intuit the man we would become. He seemed to like me; we talked together (sotto voce, very quietly) through all the sessions, and I felt we had begun to know each other well. He was very bright, a star athlete, a leader. One thing: I’m 5’7, and he was just a tiny tad shorter. I thought nothing of this, although I knew it might bother him.
Near the end of the first week, there was a dance. When the first song began, I was standing with girls from my cabin when another boy (tall boy) from my instrument section asked me to dance. I did dance with him, but we parted after one song and I went back to where I had been standing, hoping and expecting that my crush would seek me out. But apparently he had seen me with the other guy, and he had asked a short girl from the French horn section. As far as I knew, she was a stranger to us both. He stayed with her, and since I had no interest in dancing with other boys, I soon went back to my cabin. For the remainder of the days we were at camp, he and that girl were a couple, eating together, spending all their time together. I of course was heartbroken. I continued talking with him, though, as if nothing had happened.
For me it was a profound and lasting attraction. I truly loved that boy. During our senior year at rival schools, I called him and invited him to come with me to a big dance event at my school. It was held on a Thursday eve, and he told me that he had to study for a physics test the next day and couldn't come...I would see him from time to time at various places like a dance hall for teens, but he remained in his group of male friends, and didn't dance, and I didn't want to approach him there. I also saw him at football and basketball games and track meets, where he excelled. My father worried about me, and told me, 'Since he doesn't seem interested in you, you need to think about other boys.' I tried, but I couldn't.
I went to our major state university, a public ivy; he had been planning to go there also, but this school offered him only a tuition scholarship for track, while another state university offered him a full ride, which he took. During my college years I met many nice guys, and married one of them while we were in grad school. But in recent years I have begun to realize that I had been searching for that first love in every guy I met, and that I still search for him; I love him as deeply as I did when first we met.
He was the league champion in his track event, and distinguished himself in that event after college as well. He worked as a geophysicist for the oil companies for a couple of decades, then became a stockbroker.
So, you're probably wondering, what's my question? I just want to know why he didn't reciprocate my feelings, which were so grippingly strong from the outset and which have lasted all my life. He was 'the one who got away'. All the initial signs were good: We talked and laughed together easily, and he seemed to enjoy my company. Some of my friends thought that the height difference really matters to some guys. Although we were young, I thought that I had met the boy I would someday marry. Did he sense my intensity, and did he feel he wasn't ready?
Thanks so very much, and I appreciate any advice you may have.