I thought of you today. I thought of you for the first time in a long time, even though some thirty years later we ended up as neighbors. But I don’t see you that often, as our paths rarely cross and our lives have taken us in different directions. But today I thought of you.

Because today, I heard a song. A song that was immensely popular back when we were in high school. And a song that, one night, a long time ago, made me cry.

It made me cry then because I loved someone. I loved a boy that you had once loved. And probably still did. He was yours first. He was yours until he became mine. And that was complicated.

It was complicated because I was crazy about him and you were crazy about him. Complicating things further was the fact that you and I were very close friends. And after he left you, he was with me.

You and I drifted apart — different schools, different interests, sure — but we drifted apart because he was no longer with you but with me, and neither you nor I could deal with that very well.

But one weekend found the three of us at an out-of-town youth convention. And that Saturday evening, after yet another rubber chicken banquet followed by yet another motivational guest speaker, we all found ourselves at the dance.

The dance everyone looked forward to. Because for all the motivational speakers and workshops, the allure of an out-of-town convention was the dance. And there we all were. You, alone. Him. Me.

Except that I was also alone. I was alone because he had found someone. Someone new. Because, again, for all the motivational speakers and workshops and even Saturday night dances, the REAL allure of the out-of-town convention was, well, the hook-up.

And as they danced, I watched and I cried. Because I was fifteen, and I was hurt. Because I was fifteen and didn’t know what to do with that pain. So I cried. And as that song — the same song that I heard this morning — continued to play, my tears continued to fall.

And then you — you who were still hurting — came over to me. And with tears in your own eyes, you hugged me. And you said, “I know.”

Because you did.

I’ll never forget your kindness and unselfishness that night. A night so long ago when I thought I knew everything and yet knew nothing.

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