“Well life has a funny way of sneaking up on you
When you think everything’s okay and everything’s going right
And life has a funny way of helping you out when
You think everything’s gone wrong and everything blows up
In your face” – Alanis Morrisette, “Ironic”
”They say when you meet the love of your life, time stops, and that’s true. What they don’t tell you is that when it starts again, it moves extra fast to catch up.” – Ed Bloom, Big Fish
“The magic of our first love is our ignorance that it would never end.” – Unknown
This will definately become a multi-part blog, as it’s a pretty long story. It’s one that’s probably worthy of a soap opera, and it literally spawns over decades.
It’s a tale never written in full, but it’s time that its told, even in summary. It’s about a pretty special girl who I will never forget, and in many ways never forgive as well. It’s about love and loss. It’s about passion and fate, pride and stupidity. It’s about obsession. It’s about hatred. It’s about the law. It’s about the moral right against the legal right, and how it’s so hard to tell where the line between the two is sometimes. And in the end, it’s simply about a girl, who loved a boy, who loved her back, and how they both lost one another.
But to tell the tale, I have to tell you a bit about how it all started. Just to let you know, because some people are still around in this whole mess, including 2 innocent kids who I still love so all names have been concealed save mine.
When I first saw her at the community pool, I think I could honestly say that I was just breathless. It wasn’t one of those teen flashes of “babeocity”, where hormones ran rampant and hearts flew. I was just stunned. There she was, in her simple 1-piece swimsuit, her smile and that look… that look that turned me into a deaf mute. Again with the buts though, this was a time when I was young, insecure and painfully shy. I aspired to be the knight of olde even then, but all I could pretend to be was the new squire to be ordered and ridiculed.
I wasn’t one of the cool crowd back then. I was the geek, the kid who was nervous and self conscious and jittery. I was the one who everyone liked, but not necessarily would invite to a night out for a drink and would be far more at home in a basement playing Dungeons and Dragons than watching a football game. So while I was struck by her, I was equally intimidated by her as well. It was like a “5” was striving to win a “10”.
So the first few weeks went, with course after course learning how to rescue dive, to perform CPR, use a spinal board and so on. There I was, longing to know her and being too shy but it took the secret “summer friend” event at the YMCA to change things.
In the day, I was working for the YMCA as a day camp counsellor and then would bike to swim classes. To promote friendship among the staff, a secret summer friend project was launched, whereas a summer friend would get to do something special for another one secretly based on names picked out a hat. Simply put, I kinda sucked as a secret summer friend. With my busy schedule, I kept forgetting to do something special for my “friend.” But my secret friend rocked! One day, I went to check my personal mailbox, only to find a bag full of fresh baked cookies! Pretty jazzed by the gift, I brought it to swim class and lost pretty much all inhibitions and offered them to HER. The cookies rocked, but what happened right after rocked ME. She kissed me on the cheek,
From thereon, we were great friends. We were always sitting together during classes, talking, joking and chatting, working out times to go out together and so on. It was a glorious summer, and as the weeks passed, my feelings grew ever more.
But as all good things, classes came to an end and I dreaded the time to miss her presence. With that, I knew I had to take one great chance. Fortes fortuna juvat. Fortune Favours the Bold.
It was the day of the final swimming exam where we had to “rescue” each other, take each other out, and perform mouth to mouth. Everyone walked in ready for the challenge. I walked in not caring at all for that one, as I had a greater challenge in my hands…. a bouquet of roses. Before class started, I faced her, and quietly gave her the bouquet, and secretly reveled in my glorious action. I didn’t give her a chance to answer. I didn’t give her even a word explaining it all. I just showed her that I really, really cared for her.
The exam went on, and we all performed as expected. Swimming a few miles in the pool in the different styles. Diving in one way or another. Dealing with panicked swimmers. But then came the mouth to mouth, and it was her turn to rescue me.
Well, here I was, “unconscious” and partially “drowned”, doing my best to pretend to be a swimmer in distress. I was partnered up with her, and I just really hoped that I didn’t have really bad breath to make her exam unpleasant. Nope. It was so far completely from unpleasant that she honestly did take my breath away.
It was a typical procedure of course. Tilt the head. Check for breathing. Clear the airway. Pinch the nose. Take a deep breath. Cover his mouth with yours. Begin to secretly give him a french kiss in the middle of a mouth to mouth exam knowing he won’t endanger your mark and hope he doesn’t freak out.
Yes people, that was my first french kiss. She knew I reveled in flustering her with the roses, so she french kissed me in a very unusual way, and in the one place where she knew I would never run. Each “kiss” had to be quick and short, but as her tongue touched mine each time, the moments lasted damn near forever.
That was that, the gauntlet was thrown, and we would become close in our own clumsy way. Over the years to come, she and I would walk together in the morning every day before she would get onto her bus to school. We were both from different school districts, so I never saw her in the weekdays much. But we would write to each other day after day, note after note found awaiting the other. On weekends, she would be with her friends, and I with mine, but still grew close through our words and our rare moments together. And… always, whenever possible, we would sit close, stare into the heavens and watch the lightning and the thunder play their dance in the night skies.
By the end of that first year, I knew I was in love with her. And I believed she loved me too.
Fast forward a few years, and as ever, we just couldn’t seem to keep a regular schedule together. We both had other boyfriends, girlfriends, dates and flings, but we always found ourselves together a few months later. Each time was chaste, honourable and proper. We loved each other, but weren’t quite sure HOW to love one another. We both kept ourselves pretty busy and just kept passing one another by like 2 ships in the night. We were young and stupid, and kept finding barriers to keep each other apart, yet would write to each other like crazy and still find ways to let our words touch the other.
We were now university students, but she was always in many ways far more focused than me. She had won a full scholarship far away, and I was so proud and happy for her. But, and again always the but, there was a problem. She didn’t want to leave.
Was it because she was afraid of leaving Montreal? Afraid of being alone in a new school? We spoke, discussed, talked, argued and communicated in every way that was possible over days with the matter going no further ahead. Her family was concerned, and I was worried beyond belief. Such opportunities rarely came, and I didn’t want her to miss out on this chance of a lifetime. And being a typical male, I saw it all in a black and white matter, when she showed me her one overwhelming argument in one burst of communication I never considered…. a kiss.
It was a long, deep kiss, full of longings, hopes and dreams. It told me everything about her, her heart and what she wanted without saying a word. I was the reason why she wouldn’t leave. No more… no less.
And with that, I started my plans to do probably the singly most noblest thing I’ve ever done, and probably the stupidest one as well. I started to conspire with her parents to break her heart and shatter this almost a full relationship for good. My logic, break her heart and drive her away to school where she can focus and become a great lawyer. The problem? Logic never really works well in matters of the heart. And from that moment, a mutual journey began. It was one that would run over 20 years and tie our lives and several others together in ways that I could have never ever foreseen.
End of Part 1.
The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 2
The Days Before Tomorrow, Interlude
The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt. 3
The Days Before Tomorrow, Pt 4 – Those Left Behind
The Days Before Tomorrow, Epilogue and Answers
The Days Before Tomorrow, Afterword