Lately I’ve been dreaming of love and what it would be like to have someone really love me. Really love me. Nope, that’s wrong. Actually it’s more like what would it be like if the girl I was so long ago was actually the woman I am today? Would the same people still be in my life or would they have still moved on like whispers passed between lips wet with lust?
One man has been popping up in my thoughts lately and only because I happened to watch a video on YouTube of Rob Thomas the other morning and that led to more videos and next thing you know I’ve hit that ONE song that brings a flood of memories back. The kind that hits you like a ton of bricks. The ones that hurt so good and you can’t help but smile.
I don’t think back on him in a way that I want to actually see him again or even try to reconnect as just friends. He’s actually one of the ones I’m glad got away. I hope he has found a nice woman in the 20 years since we first met and is living a peaceful life.
I was 17 and working tables during the night shift at IHOP my Senior year of highschool. His name? Brad. If I close my eyes I can see him as if he was standing before me right this minute. Well above six feet tall, lean, blonde hair and blue eyes. His smile. Oh that smile. It was boyish but with a hint of sexiness. I mean seriously, I had no idea to describe him like this back then, but I’ve grown and been with a few men since.
He was a police officer. Back in the day, police officers and firemen used to be able to come in and get coffee for free so he and some friends would frequent on the weekend nights and sit and chat after their shifts for hours. It was sooooo nice. (Insert schoolgirl giggle.)
I never really told him I liked him. I don’t even know the exact moment I started liking him, I just knew that I looked forward to seeing him those nights after work. Sometimes if I was lucky they’d still be sitting there when my shift was over and I would join them.
I don’t remember ever telling him how old I was but I should’ve known the moment he started showing some interest in me, he’d find out. It wasn’t like I was going to hide it from him. I mean I was a woman right? I knew everything and knew exactly how to build and form a relationship with a grown man and that’s all that mattered. Besides I was going to turn 18 in a few months.
He found out. “Bye Felicia.”
Actually it wasn’t that cold hearted. I distinctly remember rushing out to the parking lot as he left that last night I saw him on the cusp of womanhood, crying frantically. Begging him to wait and let me explain. I was going to be 18 so soon! Brad wait! Yet he still shook his head, but stopped. He looked across the top of a parked vehicle and said, “I can’t Misty. It’s not right. It’s illegal,” he explained.
“We can still be FRIENDS,” I begged frantically!
Whatever caused him to not even want to be friends, he did the right and legal thing and turned his back on me. Don’t fret though. I finished up high school, turned 18 and other shit was happening with my life by that time. Life went so fast at that point that before I knew it I was 20 years old with a 2 year old and in the middle of a separation and living back home with my dad.
I was out with girlfriends one day and somehow his name came up. Turns out one of my friends had a friend who was his cousin. What were the odds? Sure some old feelings surfaced, but I was used now. Not in a bad way, but I’d grown a bit, had a child and was somebody’s soon to be ex-wife. My how things change. That didn’t stop me from inquiring a little bit about him though. He was single and was living outside of Austin, TX which was only forty-five miles from me at the time. So naturally I did what any young woman would do…I got his contact info. (Read that in Forrest Gump’s voice…it’s really quite comical.)
We met up. It was awesome to say the least. For some reason I tried really hard to be blase about the fact I had a child and that if things went the right way, he’d eventually meet him. I think looking back now, I knew subconsciously that this time wouldn’t last either but I sure as hell was going to make the most of it.
Cue that night. THAT night. It was a hot summer night in Austin. We had just finished having a wonderful day of hanging out window shopping, driving around Bastrop State Park and then there was that lovely bubble bath in the deep cast iron tub that he’d drawn for me. It’s OK to snuggle in to that thought. I’ve done it before. Nobody had ever done that for me. It was all so new and I soaked it in like a small child, afraid that it would end too soon.
We were driving to 6th Street to listen to some live music. He smelled so good and I secretly kept looking at my reflection in the truck window and smiling, thinking it must be a dream. I’ve written before about the top ten songs I’ll always listen to for the rest of my life. There’s one I missed. “Smooth” by Carlos Santana ft. Rob Thomas. (Yeah, feel old yet? That came out 16 years ago.) That song was playing that night, and there sat Brad like 7 inches from the midday sun and boy was he oh so cool while everyone else was melting around him.
I can tell you that it was a night of fun, seductive touches, kisses and wanderlust. I would have gone anywhere with him. Visions of him in later years would dot my mind when I would hear that song. Him grabbing my hand and pulling me along, excited to show me the lights of the live music scene, whisking me through the whirlwind of young romance, each of us not knowing it would be the last time we would ever see each other again.
For months after that night I would think back on how I went home the next day and how I decided this time we couldn’t be friends. Perhaps it was the fact that I couldn’t get past the ridiculous idea that no man would want to be a father to my son and have a ready made family. Was that even a thing back then? Was it even accepted like it is now a days? I don’t know. I just knew that I couldn’t do that to this man who had his whole world ahead of him. He surely did not need to be tied down to a 20 year old with a son who still had a husband, even if we were separated.
Today at 37 years old with an 18 year old son, I often feel bad for thinking of putting a man through a ready made family. Sure it’s not the same as when Jacob was younger, but still…
I worry about turning forty in 3 years. I am supposed to be in my prime in my forties and I’m petrified that I will still be alone and fighting the idea that a divorced woman with an adult child can be happy. I hope one day and one day soon I’ll get over that ridiculous thinking. I truly do.
So Brad, wherever you are tonight, I hope life has treated you well and while I wonder at this moment if you have ever thought of those times as fondly as I have, I hope you know that:
“Just like the motion under the moon, it’s the same as the emotion I got from you…”
Except let’s just stay like ships passing in the night. It’s best that way. Let’s not mar the memories with what if’s. Carry on friend…