My apologies for the the delay in adding the second post from my "brilliant" weekend. My washing machine decided to retire in the middle of a load of towels, and I've been spending my spare time researching a replacement. There are entirely too many choices out there, but I finally made a decision and the new one will be delivered on Saturday. Good thing too - as I'm about out of clean clothes and no one wants to see me running around town starkers!
During my wonderful holiday weekend, the topic of "first loves" came up during our family picnic. I think my sister-in-law "B" brought up the subject, as she and my brother "N" are/were high-school sweethearts. That conversation sparked a curiosity in me, as I have often wondered what ever happened to Daniel, my first "love". Once or twice in the past, I had tried to look him up just to see where he was, but never with any luck. I won't try to kid you or myself into thinking the curiosity was purely innocent. When Daniel and I split, I was still relatively young at the tender age of 23. We did not split amongst a great argument, infidelity or some other nefarious reasoning. We were two people who were at different stages in our lives - I was young, naive and just starting out; he was eight years older than me, and quite a bit more jaded in his opinions and outlook on life. I wanted him to love, a house, the picket fence - the whole nine yards. Looking back, I know that Daniel did love me, and he showed that love in his own way. At the time, he could not commit to any thing more and I was unwilling to settle for any thing less. Daniel had not come from a loving family like mine, and love and affection were not emotions to which he was accustomed; he was uncomfortable with the thought of being loved and he was hesitant to proclaim his love for me. Through many mutual tears, we parted ways. Daniel offered his friendship to me, but I refused to take it. I was too hurt and full of selfish pride at the time to understand that our break-up was difficult for him as well. I have long regretted not keeping in touch with him and after the "first love" conversation topic, I thought I would try one more time to find Daniel.
The next day, I did a quick look on FaceBook, searching Daniel's name. And boom - there he was. His surname is very unique, and there was no doubt in my mind that the FaceBook Daniel and my Daniel were one in the same. I stared at the "Friend Request" button for what seemed like hours. I had not given much thought to what I would actually do once I did find him. The moment of truth had come - had I matured enough emotionally to reconnect with him? I knew and know that I was secure enough in my relationship with Michel that reconnecting with Daniel would not bother Michel at all; we are friends with his "first love". I admit, I had butterflies in my stomach when I sent the request along with a short note. It had been almost 18 years since I had last seen Daniel, and 15 years since we had last spoken. I closed off the computer and went to distract myself with the garden.
Daniel accepted the request, and sent back a note as well. We continued to exchange emails through out the day, and I finally gave him my phone number and told him to use it, but to be mindful of the three hour time difference, which I am sure resulted in a chuckle on his behalf. The next day, Daniel called. I honestly do not know if I expected him to call or if I hoped he would call, but in the end after all of these years, we were finally speaking. We talked for nearly an hour, catching up on the who/what/when/where of the last two decades. Hearing his voice made it seem like only yesterday that we had parted ways; but the conversation was a good one. We shared happy memories of our time together and discussed where we were in our lives now. He is still single, living on the west coast, and is "okay" with being single; he's moving to the South West in late June, just in time for his 50th birthday. I told him all about Michel, losing Mom, the nieces & nephews, and the many other big events since our last conversation and Michel's and my plans to someday move to Colorado. Near the end of the conversation, he made the comment that I had grown to be the man he had always wished he could have been for me. I almost lost it; I still don't know why those words coming from him meant and mean so much to me. Maybe someday, I will understand the feeling.
When the phone call was over, I think I was floating on cloud nine. I was glad to have heard from Daniel, happy that he was now in a good place in his life, and most of all, I was happy about how good a life I have with Michel. Having reminisced with Daniel about the "old days", I appreciate Michel so much more the time we have together. Daniel and I agreed to keep in touch, as I apologized for not being man enough back then to accept him for who/what he was instead of how I wanted him to be. I do hope we keep in touch once he moves to his new place; but if not, at least I'll know that this time we truly did part on good terms.
I talked with Michel after the call from Daniel. I hide nothing from Michel; I told Michel all about conversation, and we continued our own discussion of "first loves" that had been sparked by my sister-in-law. Michel asked why I looked so happy, like I was glowing and my response was simple: the wound has healed. It took nearly twenty years and a one-hour phone call to be able to say those words, and mean it. And I am a better person for having experienced the wound and for finally having reached out to heal it.