Sunday, March 22, 2009

Closure 1: I was So in Love


When I was 16, I fell in love with a beautiful boy. “Head over heels” didn’t do justice; I believed he was my epiphany. I didn't know his name, so I asked anyone who glanced my way long enough; then later, I asked just to hear his name said out loud. Liz rescued me and organized a birthday party; my 17th. And the dating commenced.

We must have shared lovely moments. I remember the first time he walked me home. But it was a teenage thing; tenuous, emotional, unsettling. He was a lying, cheating, two-timing bastard, and I was a drama-queen-snob-bitch. Still, we stuck it out for five years, because we were kindred spirits; insecure, proud, and strangely devoted.

Shortly before my 22nd birthday, he dumped me and married another, but there was a code of silence and I wasn’t to know for a long time. She had been the main, and I the alternate, but I had faith in the “us-ness”, even when his family made their allegiance known on Christmas Eve. I don’t remember a final good bye but I’m sure I went into a tirade more than once. I do recall the evening I went to pick up my things; in his dark empty apartment was a box marked “dishes” in her handwriting. His closure.

I spent my 20’s being a victim; anger, doubt and false bravado fueled me. I jumped into relationships, then regretted being in them. I drank excessively. I invested my energy into work, but my personal life was lonely. Everybody appeared to have mature, inner peace and settled personal lives and I genuinely wondered what was so unlikable about me.

From time to time I fantasized having a chance to get in the last word, of gloriously, triumphantly, yet elegantly rejecting him, but we lived in such different worlds I knew my chances were slimmer than none. Since Google, I occasionally searched in hopes of finding him in a humiliating predicament, only to read he's done well in his chosen field. As I knew he would.

When Liz suggested I get on to Facebook, and in the course of learning about it, I found him among Liz's friends. I realized there was a chance our virtual paths may cross, but thought I'd have months to ponder the scenario. This could be my "gloriously, triumphantly, yet elegantly rejecting" finale. My closure, of sorts.

Tuesday night, after I came home from work, I saw a Facebook message with his name. I was flummoxed, but found myself automatically clicking to be his friend. As I do. And then to acknowledge, I wrote a short condolence about his younger brother. Then came an email in response, and my flustered attempt to reply, loss of a long draft, and finally, chatting real time and catching up.

Wednesday, I was surprised at the absence of anger. There is acrimony I’ll never forget, but then I was equally mean, so we're even if we were to tally the scores. But it no longer seemed to matter. We had grown up. I heard Liz’s Mom’s rumbling tummy laugh from up above; “Well, it took you long enough.”

For the first time in 29 years, my life looked like a continuum, not a series of disjointed scenes. I felt as if I found my missing limb, not him, but my past self, and I was once again intact. I realized I was never ostracized from Washburn High School Class of '77, that I needn’t have felt apologetic about wanting to be included. Nor was I exiled from my beloved (except in February) Minneapolis. The sad girl who’d never been invited to school reunions was allowed back in.

(I have no artifacts from my high school days, except my high school diploma. The pic above and one of Liz in the next post were downloaded from his FB with permission. This one was taken by me and the car was old even then.)


  1. It's funny how the past can catch up with you sometimes, isn't it? I've deliberately made myself hard to find from anyone I went to high school with: not because of any acrimony, but because I never did fit in there, I'm no longer the angry confused young person who couldn't figure out why, and I don't feel a need to revisit those days.

    I'm pleased you're getting the chance to lay some skeletons to rest.

  2. I had thought I would never get any closure on this matter, and that, as Dr Phil says, I'd have to give myself what I couldn't get for others.

    I am exhausted.

  3. Well, I take that back. What I discovered is that only I can give closure to anything in my life.

    Which kind of makes things easy if I thought about it.

  4. Wise woman. You're absolutely right, of course.

  5. Geodyne, if I knew then what I know now, I would have gotten over myself a couple of days after my birthday. Because I missed my other friends afterwards, and I was in Minnesota for two more years.

    The wonderful thing about my high school days, now that I'm remembering stuff, is that I was aware those would be the best days of my life, that I would forever reminisce about them. It didn't take grownups to tell me that, (which happened so rarely in my life), so I tried to commit as much to memory as I lived each day.

    OK, at least I would have invested in shoes rather than booz a little later.

  6. You wouldn't expect something funny not to happen to me at times like these, would you?

    Tuesday, Wednesday I couldn't find the words to explain to Ben what was happening, because I myself didn't know, so I told him who he was, and then I started emailing Ben, who wasn't fussed at all, but it was important for me to tell.

    Well, I sent one of those emails to Voldamort!! And got a premature apology!!

    I've resigned to the fact that as regards this matter, I'm never going to get the timing right, that as hard as I try, I'm not even a good drama queen.



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