Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Lookout Point

I've been on a bit of a kick now since I joined Facebook. A desire has grown in me to find out what has happened to many people I knew in the past. Where are they now? What are they doing?

I feel a bit like I've been on a long mountain hike. I started out at the bottom with many other people my own age, and we took off on our own paths. Now I'm at a lookout point, where I can stand and look out over the valley and the path I've come and I find myself wanting to touch base with those who started out the same time I did.

It's been a bit difficult, though. I'm sure most of my girl friends are married, and I have no idea what their married names are. I've found a few of the guys I knew, but most of them I was not exactly on speaking terms with, so why would I start now?

Then I decided I wanted to look up my first boyfriend, T. I had a horrendous crush on him when I was in 7th grade. By the time I was in 9th grade, he decided he liked me too, and we dated exclusively for a couple of years. In fact, it began to look as if Fate had determined to link our lives together.

But something wasn't right. For one thing, I wanted God to choose my husband, not fate. I determined to make a break, but T didn't feel the same, and instead asked me to marry him. I was only 17 at the time, but he was 19 and off to college. He wanted to get this settled.

Eventually, after much time spent literally on my knees, I managed to give him a "No" that he understood, though he promised to not give up yet.

At the end of my first year at college, I was engaged to Hubby and planning a Fall wedding. At home I found a letter waiting me from T, asking for one last "date." I agreed to the picnic, just to say a permanent good-bye. He offered to continue to be my friend after my marriage, to be someone I could talk to about things I couldn't talk to my husband about (!!) but that was the final nail in the coffin and I left him behind with no regrets.

Now after all these years I became curious. Did he go on to have a good life? Did he find a girl to marry? Did he do well? Or did he become an alcoholic like his father? Did he make it or did he not? Was he even still alive?

Yesterday I searched for him (oh, the glories of Google) and I FOUND him.

That is, I found his obituary. He died in the spring of 2008, after having a good life with a wife and two daughters, and honored for his volunteerism.

I'm glad he did well, and I'm glad to find I have no more interest in him than in any of my past acquaintances (no hidden broken heart here). I'm not sorry at all that I chose Hubby over T.

But the oddest thing about this incident is that I found I was not surprised at all that he had died. In a sense, he died to me 29 years ago. What surprised me was that he had a life.

I saw his picture on the memorial plaque the volunteer organization erected for him, and I recognized him. All I had remembered over the years was the 20-year-old that left me with a bad taste in my mouth, but I saw in his eyes the 15-year-old that I so admired. I'm sorry he only made it this far, and not to the top of the mountain.

Good-bye, T, for the last time.

No comments: