This was originally posted in August of 2010. 10 years ago. I've made progress since then, so it's entirely appropriate to revisit this passage. This has become of one the stories of my life that grows sweeter each season. From apple juice to sparkling cider!
Anyway, he's been in the dog house for the last 20 years of my mind, or pushed down so as not to think about him at all. They say when we fall in love, we fall in love with the way the other person makes us feel. He made me feel like I'd never felt before ... absolutely wonderful, and wanted ... in love! Beautiful. Of course I wanted more--who wouldn't? But I couldn't have more, so I buried it. But those buried pieces kept sending up shoots and runners that would not be ignored ...
About 2 years ago, CL was cutting some fresh lumber in the front yard--the smell of that fresh-cut lumber brought me back to the scene shop at UW-RF, and my lovely spring romance. So I re-read my journals, and realized, yes, that spring was sweet, but there was way more hurt there in the year of separation after. Even just 2 years ago, when I thought of TM, I would argue with him in my head. Knowing that wouldn't go anywhere, I eventually buried it again.
Now I'm older, I can look back on those situations and yes, I remember my own hurt, but I can better see what the other person was going through, too. Compassion. It was hard for him, too. He liked me, just didn't realize I was so young. He didn't write me at all that summer -- and when we got back to school in the fall, of course I was hurt and angry and still wanted to be with him. He had broken it off just as it was getting started ... but now I remember him coming to the reference desk at the library where I was working when Mike A. (the computer guy) was there. He was talking to Mike, and looking at me the whole time with a pained look on his face. Now, I understand that he just wanted to be near me, but he couldn't approach me alone ... Now I'd probably say, "Let's go for a walk, Ton. Seems like you have something to say ..." At the time, I think I probably escaped to the bathroom. It was just too hard to be that close to him, and not hug him. There were a few other incidents like that with him coming near when it seemed "safe." And each time, my heart was racing, I couldn't break down the walls I'd built to keep my heart safe. I didn't understand what was happening then, or how to handle it. I was too hurt and dejected. It was hard for him to turn me away--for my own good. He liked me too.
I wish we had found a way to enjoy each other AND get our schoolwork done the 2nd year. I wish we'd have been able to get to know each other better ... I really did enjoy his company, his sense of humor, his soft voice--not to mention his good looks. It was more than infatuation for me, or I wouldn't be reflecting on it all these years later. Sigh! But then, as they say, "a kiss is just a kiss."
Thanks for the memories, Ton! I'm glad you were part of it. I hope you are well and that you've found someone to share your heart and life with.
Now, 20 years later, what I really want to do is give him the update on my life, tell him how things have turned out for me so far, and hear his adventures, too. I honestly wish him well. I wish him Love, Abundance, Happiness. All things good.
Epilogue as of May 2018 :
Now on to my progress in present day. In April, I took an art quilting class to learn how to take a landscape photo and turn it into fabric art. The subject I wanted to memorialize was that sparkly, blooming pink apple tree Tony and I stood under that spring evening, discussing our futures. No photo to work with -- just a memory.
You can read about the actual process of making Kayleigh Spring on my other blog, Sweet Leaf Notebook.
By the time the class came around in April, I wasn't looking forward to going. 3 days in class an hour's drive round trip from home. Eeesh! Turns out, the process of getting this pent-up story out on fabric was a wonderful and transformative experience. A small class, and a great teacher. Much of the work I was doing was internal ... letting go of the story, releasing the hurt of separation, finally forgiving TM for not writing me that summer, forgiving myself for avoiding him the next year and closing my heart. I thought I was doing what he wanted me to do, for both our sakes. And still my heart aches for the time wasted, not spent together while we had the chance, living in the same town, attending the same college. How often do you find someone you connect with so well? Just not ready for each other ... Bad timing.
I am reminded of that quote by Rumi :
I do think that before we're born, when we're still in the Spirit World setting up for our next lifetime, we look at the important points in our lives - birth, family, first friend, first kiss, first love, who we marry -- all those important moments, and we decide who will be there with us, for us. We plan out moments in our lives, we ask certain people to be there with us. Sometimes it's just a brief passage and someone comes into our lives only for a moment -- as that exquisite spring with TM at UW-RF 30 years ago. That memory gets sweeter each season. The parts are sort of scripted, and sort of not. More like we know the parts we're supposed to play -- when someone so familiar appears in this dream called life -- a guidepost--someone who knows us, who loves us, who's known us before, who appears and gives us encouragement along the way. Someone who agrees to help us make wonderful memories. I have been fortunate to have so many good memories. Sometimes the partnerships are only "contracted" for a short time -- as with TM. Sometimes for much longer as with CL.
It's like when I was planning my life, I said, "Tony" --who I'd known and loved before this lifetime-- "I want you to be there for my first kiss. I want you to witness my blooming, my becoming -- beautiful. I know you'll appreciate what you see. You'll love me and keep me safe and send me on to the rest of my life. I'll see you again someday ... I'll make it worth your while with a beautiful set, and encouragement when you need it too. Will you be there?" And he said, "Yes, of course. I wouldn't miss it for the world!" We played our parts ... and then on to our separate lives, with the memories.
Tremendous gratitude now. Thank you, Mr. Moore.
Miracle of Miracles : I did not realize how much I was still holding back about this tender and hard passage in my life. That spring at UW-River Falls, living away from home for the first time, I developed seasonal allergies to trees. I put it down to living on the edge of the Great Plains, so close to Minnesota -- all that prairie. I went to UW Health Services, and got the diagnosis of hay fever, and have managed every sneezy, itchy-eyed, runny nosed spring since with Claritin and allergy eye drops -- for the last 30 years. Until this spring -- I didn't realize that all this time, I was still internalizing that wonderful 1989 spring and the difficult separation that followed. In my mind and body, I equated that wonderful feeling of being in love with spring, and the separation that followed. I was literally allergic to spring, allergic to love, allergic to feeling that good--and allergic to not being with the object of my affection. It's remarkable to me how the body deals with things the mind won't. All this time, it's been trying to get my attention, to tell me something ... And now I finally got it! This spring has been the mildest case of spring allergies I can remember -- all because I've finally dealt with some of this emotional stuff, processed it fully, and let it out. Put it down in an art quilt -- I don't have to carry it around anymore. This art piece will hold it for me.
I know that every decision I've made has brought me here, where I am now -- and it's a good place. Still, I wish I had done some things had been done with more grace.
To honor the story, I've created a YouTube playlist with songs that help to tell the story :
Just a little something I play when I want to revisit the feelings ...
Coming of Age [Original Poem]
Magic & Memory of a Kayleigh Spring on Sweet Leaf Notebook