Though we met on my first day of college, I first remember meeting him on October 17 about a month later. He gave me a sparkler. I was overwhelmed by the amount of very small presents I had been getting from boys but most of them turned out to be from him.
My early college experience was unlike any known experience. I felt as if I had found a magic toy machine that dispensed live boys just for me. For a girl who was too shy to look at the boys in myhometown five miles down the road, though I had a dorm room, this was an enchanted land.
He was tall and skinny, with a Byronic face and long thick wavy dark hair that never looked greasy or unkempt. I approved of his pressed blue corduroy bell bottoms, blue tee, and blue plaid flannel shirt. I thought of him as a hippie boy with style.
All the hippie girls agreed, but I was friends with the boys, and any who might be reading would be convulsing because I make him sound as if he had class. Something he developed in spades later.
A girl sometimes just knows. She just knows when somebody is going to make something out of himself. No matter what anybody else says. Including the boys, and uh, maybe even her mother, and his, who will deny this now as any good mother would. And my mother would pretend that she had no idea what I was talking about.
Truly I can’t describe him through the eyes of the boys though I heard so many stories. I can’t even describe him as the other girls saw him though I knew many who were jealous. They found flaws in me but I never cared.
He was the stranger that I had dreamed of, at night, all through Junior and Senior High. Even when I had a boyfriend. I have had many boyfriends since I first knew him, but he was my first real love. We broke up often but one of us would find the way back to the other.
We have been in each others lives forever, and have played almost all roles a man and woman can. Some people are just fated to be in each others lives and it’s not up to us to question why.
He was even there the night I met Zachary. It felt as if half of our college friends had come to see this new woman singer/songwriter from Lafayette, Louisiana with a gravely voice that counterbalanced the poetic lyrics.
Zachary would have been the person to have convinced her to send a demo tape to his producer. They will be in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian together as vocal monuments to city/folk before its time. She’s probably in your CD collection. It’s weird to say that I knew her when.
A year and some months after that, he married a wonderful woman who I believed that he belonged with. Though I did get incredibly shit-faced at the reception I had an excuse. I was at my ex’s wedding reception with Zachary who I was beginning to fear.
The years passed and we remained in the periphery of each others life. When we saw each other we couldn’t stop talking as we never had when we had been together. But we never did say anything of importance.
One day I was at work I had a question to ask and called him. I was a paralegal head hunter and somebody was looking for a job in his field. After I asked and he answered, he said something that I will never forget:
“You know, I’ve never discussed my list of grievances.”
I could think of at least ten thousand on both sides.
“Uh, I’m at work. You’ve been married nine years and have a child.”
I meant to call him to discuss the grievances but I had a date that night, and was busy the next day, and then forgot. Life’s funny. What would have seemed earth shattering earlier was something easily put to the side.
We didn’t speak again until Google first came out, and I Googled him. Even taught him how to Google himself. Couldn’t believe a person didn’t know, but I was an early Googler.
We never have discussed the list of grievances, and 99% of the time it makes me laugh just to think of it. But one percent of the time, I wonder what could have happened had we discussed our lists of grievances at the proper time.
There are somethings in life that probably should remain shrouded in mystery. This might be one of them.
Especially when “I heard it through the grapevine” was our song. Not particularly for the lyrics. No, I’m not telling the reason why.
Ooh, I bet you’re wondering how I knew
About you’re plans to make me blue
With some other guy that you knew before.
Between the two of us guys
You know I love you more.
It took me by surprise I must say,
When I found out yesterday.
Don’t you know that…
I heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine.
Oh I heard it through the grapevine,
Oh and I’m just about to lose my mind.
Honey, honey yeah.
I know that a man ain’t supposed to cry,
But these tears I can’t hold inside.
Losin’ you would end my life you see,
Cause you mean that much to me.
You could have told me yourself
That you love someone else.
People say believe half of what you see,
Son, and none of what you hear.
I can’t help bein’ confused
If it’s true please tell me dear?
Do you plan to let me go
For the other guy you loved before?
Don’t you know…