I find summers magical. There is just something about the heat that makes me feel more....that's it...makes me feel more. The very air feels like it's charged with electricity. The warm winds have more purpose as they blow through the leafy trees causing them to dance in their green finery. It's very different from the winds of winter that howl through naked branches, only causing a mournful moaning that chills the air.
One June, many years ago, I was feeling the effects of a new summer as I prepared for a night out in the local pubs with a tight knit group of female friends. I wore a cool capri set of yellow, gray and white vertical stripes. My hair was long and wavy from the humidity. I didn't need makeup in those days and I already had the beginnings of a sunkissed summer tan.
The four of us headed to a favourite haunt where a smile could get us a free beer. Only one of the girls I was with was currently attached but the rest of us weren't actively looking for anyone. We just wanted a fun night out. It was a Thursday so the place wasn't too packed. We took a seat at a table and began to catch up on all the latest gossip.
As the evening wore on, we began to float around the bar, mingling with some of the other patrons. I soon found myself alone, out on the deck trying to clear my head. That's when I saw him. He stood head and shoulders above the little group of friends he was with. He was six feet, six inches of pure poetry. He had sandy coloured hair that was long enough to run your fingers through and a smile that made me go weak in the knees. He had a golden tan, broad shoulders, muscular arms and long lean legs. I couldn't take my eyes off of him. And speaking of eyes, his were deep pools of ocean blue...hmmmm.
I think I was in a bit of a trance. It has never taken much to get me drunk so after three beers all inhibition had dissolved and I stood there like a complete idiot, smiling and full out staring at him. I didn't even care if he noticed me. It was enough just to be able to look at him. The heat of the night, the intoxication and the very sight of him made me feel like I was about to swoon.
Then it happened. He turned away from his friends and looked in my direction. Normally I would have blushed and looked away but I couldn't help myself and stood there, still smiling and staring...still an idiot. He continued with the conversation he was having but kept looking my way until he actually looked me straight in the eye and motioned for me to come over to him. I did the classic move of looking all around and then pointing to myself mouthing the word, "Me?". Even when he nodded and waved me over again, I still had to look around. When I realized I was the only one on that side of the deck, I walked toward him, my heart pounding so hard that I'm sure he must have seen it awkwardly throbbing through my little cotton top.
His opening line was great. "You're exactly what I'm looking for." Well...it worked for me. Of course, he could have asked me for a pickle and I would have been hooked. It was instant attraction. We just stared into each others eyes for what seemed like hours. We told each other everything we could think of about our respective lives and then decided we had outgrown the bar. I told my friends I'd be outside and when they saw who I was going with, they just shoved me towards the door. We were invicible then. At nineteen, if the guy was cute, he wasn't dangerous. They knew I wouldn't go far and said they'd collect me once the bar closed.
We walked across the street to an empty lot overlooking the harbour and sat on a railroad tie. He sat down first, legs outstretched and pulled me to sit on top of him, facing him, my legs extending in the opposite direction. We started kissing and were pressed so tightly together that it felt like we were the same person. The moonlight reflected in the dark salt water and the stars pierced the black sky like millions of eyes watching the two of us as we melted into each other, lost in the passion of a hot summer night.
I had never felt an urgency like what I was feeling then. Sure, I had other teenage romances and they all felt intense like teenage romances do, but this was different. The instant we embraced, I feared losing him. We clung to each other like longtime lovers on the bow of a sinking ship. The world tossed around us like the waves in a raging storm at sea. We were spinning, our hearts beating together as we spiralled down into each others souls. A dramatic description, I know, but at nineteen wasn't everything like that?
Our feverish embrace was all too soon interrupted by friends with the tragic news that it was time to go home. That fear of loss welled up again and as we broke free of each other, I dreaded the emptiness that would come from our separation. We exchanged phone numbers but as I sat in the cab on the way home, I began to wonder if it was all my imagination. Could this Adonis really be interested in me? The girls chatted all the way home around me and I just gripped that phone number and closed my eyes, hoping against hope that I wouldn't need to use it and that he would call first.
He did call that next day. As soon as I heard his voice on the other end of the phone a current surged through me and I was transported back to the empty building lot from the night before. I worked in a mall near where he lived and he wanted to meet me there on my lunch break the next day. I would be seeing him again. I couldn't concentrate on anything else. I couldn't eat or sleep.
I went to work the next day and he showed up! Some of the guys in the mall had been asking me out and when I got to work that day and told them I was seeing someone, they thought it was a cover to get them to leave me alone but when they saw me walking hand in hand with him they admitted defeat. They could see theyhad no chance against someone like him. On my lunch break, he took me outside to a wooded area beside the parking lot and we sat on a rock, picking up where we had left off the night we met.
That's how our relationship went for the rest of the summer. As soon as we were together, we were all over each other and when we parted there was a huge hole in my heart. I couldn't get enough of him. We went away one weekend to my friend's cottage and we came very close to 'going all the way'. I was one of these girls who was actually saving myself for the man I thought I'd marry. Looking back now, I can see how silly that was. I'm not knocking people who agree with it but for me, it may have been a mistake.
One hot, windy afternoon, we were alone in my parents' house. I can remember the windows all being open and the curtains billowing in with the delisciously hot summer breeze and we were getting pretty hot and heavy. Clothing was being discarded and we were on the brink when a door slammed. He jumped up, knocking me to the floor and we panicked. We figured someone had been home all along and we hadn't realized it. He paced around the room, worried about what whoever it was might think of him and what he was about to do to me.
We searched the house but found it was just the wind that had caused the door to slam. I was more than willing to resume what we had started but he was too rattled. He was such a sweet guy and was worried that we'd get too into it again and woud be disturbed for real. My head was spinning and I decided that maybe I would give in next time, possibility of marriage or not.
A few days later, he showed up at my door on his bicycle. He had driven it to work and had a nasty fall on the way. He was pretty badly scraped up. He was in the naval reserves and was going to be doing physical work so his superior told him to take the day off and tend to his cuts, etc. He took some pain pills and headed to my place which was pretty far for him to drive so I was extremely surprised to see him. I brought him in, fixed up his cuts, made him a sandwich and sat on the chesterfield with his head on my lap. I stroked his hair until he fell asleep. There was no making out or heavy petting, we just were there together and I realized I was falling deeply in love. It was during that visit from him that I decided maybe it wasn't just a summer fling and I wanted to prove it to him more than anything in the world.
Our dates after that seemed strained though. I could sense that he wasn't feeling the same way I was about the future. I didn't tell him that I was planning to go all the way with him because the time and place just didn't seem to fit. Something was wrong. He still wanted me, that was apparent but just for the pure reason of male teenage lust. That much I could tell.
Then one night, I got the call. My tall, good looking, sweet, amazing boyfriend had been urged by his friends to break it off with me. They weren't tied down and were tired of him pining over me instead of picking up girls with them. Afterall, he was the one that drew the chicks in to their little circle. Without him, they weren't even getting his castoffs. He broke it off over the phone. He sounded sad and hesitant but he did it and it hurt more than anything I had ever experienced in my life. I remember exactly where I was sitting as I gripped the phone, sobbing and asking him why. I lost all dignity and said I couldn't accept it. I would have given myself to him if he'd only waited. I had made the decision to do so at our earliest opportunity.
I began classes at one of the local universities soon after and my friends kept dragging me out to meet more guys but my heart was broken. Some of his friends went to the same school as me and I just wanted to die everytime I saw them. I didn't run into him for quite a long while and eventually I started going out with multitudes of guys, trying to get over him.
I finally met the man I eventually married and was quite happy when the phone rang one cold winter night and I was schocked to hear his voice on the other end. We talked for hours. He said he'd made a huge mistake in breaking up with me. He said his friends were pressuring him and he shouldn't have listened to them. He said I was the best thing that ever happened to him and that he missed me. He said that day when he showed up and I looked after him he should have realized what he had with me. He said no one else could care for him the way I did. He said so many things and my heart was breaking all over again. It took every ounce of strength I had to turn him down that night and choose my future husband.
I ran into him a couple of times in the years that followed and despite the fact that I was married and had children, I regretted that I hadn't had the chance to take our relationship to that next level. I still regret it. Some might think that's terrible of me as I'm married to someone else but he truly was the 'one that got away' and I will always wonder 'what if'. These days I look back at that summer fondly and treasure every minute I spent with him. I haven't seen him in about 11 years but I think of him often. I often pass the condos that were erected on that empty building lot and get a little shiver up my spine when I think of that first night. I don't want to pick up where we left off....I'm married afterall...I just want to know where he is, what he's doing and most of all that he's happy. I want to know that he found someone who cares for him as much as I did then. I just want to see him, to know he's out there somewhere and I want to ask him if he still ever thinks of me. Maybe the answer I get won't be the one I want but I'd still like to know. Either way, it's nice to have the memory of him, of us, the way we were that summer. I will treasure it always.