Daily Prompt Isn’t Your Face Red When was the last time you were embarrassed? How do you react to embarrassment?
This morning I woke up because I was cold. It’s the first week of August. Yikes! But then I remembered the summer of 1971 when I was a counselor at summer camp and, at the same time, I was in love. That summer, one in which I spent most nights sleeping in my sleeping bag, I noticed the season change, too. July was summer. By August, the dew was heavy and fall had extended it’s long fingers into morning.
J was a little younger, 3 years, not much but at 19 and 16 it seems like a huge difference. He was incredibly cute. He was also living in Holland most of the time — divorced parents, summer with dad type thing. His mom was a teacher in International Schools with USIS. He saw me and started following me around, no, not quite like the puppy does, but…
I tried avoiding him. I’d already had a serious broken heart and didn’t want to experience that again. And like I said; he was cute and exotic. Why would he be interested in me? I had no idea that I, too, was cute and exotic…
My defenses finally broke down and we had a great time together. We understood each other in the way and on the level that only starry-eyed adolescents can. Then it was time for him to leave. He left. The following Sunday a friend and I went up to his father’s house to visit and spent the day. At the end, when it was time to really say goodbye, he followed me out to my friend’s car. We sat in the shadows holding hands. He leaned forward, whispered in my ear, “I love you.”
I was too cool to say it back.
It didn’t go away the way my mom predicted it would. “He’ll forget about you. Holland is a long way away and he’s young.” J came back. I was married. J came back. We slept together (I was still married). I told him we needed to make a clean break. He stopped writing me. My marriage broke up (no cause and effect relationship). Years passed (four). I got a job in China. I wrote him to tell him. He didn’t answer. I gave up. I met someone. We fell in love and decided to get married and go to China together. J suddenly appeared almost out of no where. I got married anyway, and J attended the wedding. J went to Africa. We wrote from China to Bangui. Two years later, we ran into each other in San Diego where I had moved (he had no idea of that) and where he had an old school friend. Nothing had changed. We spent the night on a beach (under the friendly shadow of the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant <3 ). He left. I was to leave my husband and meet J in China. I decided to stay in the marriage. Contact ended (1987). I found him in 2003. I was happy he’d found all the things he’d been looking for — the worthwhile career he’d wanted serving people, a wife, a family. I contacted him. We spoke on the phone several times.
We met in Atlanta in 2004 (where he lived) at the airport; he happened to be flying in and I was meeting a connecting flight to Munich. It was as if no time had passed. I continued onto Italy, he went home. Years passed, I found him again, I initiated contact.
He sent me an invitation to connect on LinkedIn. Oh well… Embarrassing.