Thursday, August 02, 2012

A History of Love, Part 8

The life lessons that love provides are the only ones probably worth telling because they are so real. They make us real. They transform our lives.

Remember the end of The Name of the Rose?

"And yet, now that I am an old, old man, I must confess that of all the faces that appear to me out of the past, the one I see most clearly is that of the girl of whom I've never ceased to dream these many long years."

Those not guilty, please move along.
I thought so.
We are the guilty, after all

I do not want to give readers the impression that I was a sincere, honest, loving, fully mature guy who just had problems picking the right girl. I don't think I knew what I wanted or maybe what I did was pure fantasy. Like most men, the physical attraction is the prime directive. Based on this, you're looking at trouble, buddy, but I stumbled along, making huge mistakes.

One of the big ones I made was to tango with my friend's girlfriend. Yikes!

Everything about Miss T was attractive to me. She was wild, crazy funny and liked crazy humor (my speciality). She was a free, Irish spirit and my friend had discovered her first. Of course, I coveted her.

My friend, the king of ambiguity in all matters, seemed to dating her, but then again it's not like she was his Yoko Ono shadow either. In my greed, I justified my asking her out.

I thought we were great together and certainly we had a great time, but the axe had to drop sometime. And one evening at my friend's house, standing around in the kitchen, he came right out with it.
The topic suddenly took the sharp bend: "...kinda like sleeping with someone's girlfriend?" Direct stare. He was pissed.

I plead nolo contendre. I can't remember, but there was a period of chilling off between us for a while. Eventually, time and tide made us friends again.

There went my chance for a future stained glass window portrait.

Must there be betrayal?
Yes, there must.

I betray, she betrays, we all betray.
St. Jean, patron saint of the gut wrenching
effects of love. 
There is one last lesson that I learned during the college years and Jean taught me a truly real lesson.

I suppose men and women go through stages where, if they have the options, they seek companionship as needed. Away at college? Get a boy toy.

 Jean was truly beautiful. A natural blond, she had the blue eyes set on stun, a flawless complexion and all the luxury amenities you could ask for.

Why did she pick me after one very drunken music major party?
Because I was there.

Even thought I sensed a distance to her, we seemed like we were dating or least I thought we were headed that way. She bought me some Black Velvet (fitting, yes?) for my 21st birthday.

Then, like an idiot, I fucked up. I wrote her a letter telling her about how I felt about her. She sat on my lap, reading it because I did not have to courage to say those words to her. The "l" word was used and that was the beginning of the end.

Soon after that, a distinct chill was between us. Finally, I cornered her as we were leaving the cafeteria. She told me that she hadn't been honest with me and that she had a boyfriend at home. For her, seeing the word "love" scared her and she couldn't deal with that.

If that wasn't enough of a blow, I saw her out very soon after that helping some guy wash his Corvette. That was my first experience with the horrors of rejection that I felt physically. My gut felt like I had swallowed heavy lead and then been punched.

I didn't know what to do, so I sought out my roommate Dan and told him what had happened. His solution was to go to the Short Creek Social Club ( truly a redneck hell hole by anyone's standard) and start drinking as soon as possible. The alcohol helped, but the feeling didn't go away for quite a while.

That which comes, goes.

Years later, I told that story to a good friend. He said, "He said you're lucky she didn't continue a relationship with you."
"Why not?"
"Just think of how many guys she fooled around on since then."
The mind boggles.

A few months after she graduated, I called her. She was friendly, but even Mr. Dim Witted Hope-Against-Hope could sense a brushoff. I was hoping one last hope. "Hope is unreasonable," as Mr. Fripp says.

The feeling of letdown afterwards made me pick up a guitar begin to immediately try to musically medicate myself. It worked and out came, "call me tonight," an instrumental that I have quite a bit of affection for some thirty years later.

Much more than I do for the inspiration.

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