Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Today I introduce you to an old friend I've had. Ben.

Ben was my first "true love". If I can call him that. When one is seventeen does one truly know what true love is? Maybe it was more like teenage lust and infatuation. Maybe not. Actually, I know it was more than that.

We met at a mixer at the University of Maryland campus. I was in high school, he was in college. An electrical engineering major. He was gorgeous in my eyes. He was shy, almost too shy to ask me out. But ask he did.

I fell for him hard. He was different- quiet, smart,sophisticated- too intelligent for me.

Then he left me. He found a very cute, more sophisticated girl- Linda. I hated her. She became my good friend. At least if she and I were friends then I could hang around Ben more often, be friends with him too. But then as life seems to happen this way- we all went our separate ways. I don't really know what ever happened to Linda. I do know about Ben, though.

We ran into each other again a couple of years later- still at the University. We went out again only once then. I still had feelings for him- even after meeting my husband I though of Ben often.

I tracked him down a few years ago via the internet. He lives in Georgia now. I didn't think I would ever see him but that turned out to be false. He was planning a motorcycle trip up north with a friend. He would be in Virginia- about a 2 hour drive from me.

We met. Boy did we meet. We spent a full day getting to know each other again. Reminding each other what it was that we liked about each other all those years ago-30 years back. I was seventeen again.

To this day we remain friends. We are easier with each other- more open than we've been in the past. He is as quirky as ever, more charming and soulful than I remember.

He is now a painter, furniture maker and poet. He has sent me poems that he wrote after our meeting. Although his speaking voice is often silent- still shy- his feelings come out through his written words. At least his heart is not silent. For that I am grateful.

If you want to read his work go to dioxazine.blogspot.com. And there you will find a few that he has posted.

The first and last were ones that he sent me. The other two- well, I'm not sure if they have anything to do with me. But I like to think maybe so.

Thank you Ben for being a true friend. And for continuing to make me feel seventeen.

There was a disturbance in my heart, a voice that spoke there and said, I want, I want, I want!


Not so little Woman said...

Wow. This was a beautiful post.

Barbara said...

I think it's great that you have rekindled this relationship. He seems like a good one, a very deep thinker.

Jose said...

Nothing wrong with warming up to friendship. And nothing wrong with feeling 17 again. Enjoy the feelings but be careful not to get burned or worst yet, hurt.

Akelamalu said...

Good memories.

Anonymous said...

ahh Gewels.....I love this.....I can so relate.....

I fell hard in love with my Geology TA my freshman year at UGA...a year later, through mutual friends, I heard he was in the midst of a divorce and wanted to have lunch with me...

I'm not sure if we ever made it to lunch.....I'm still not sure if I ever made it to class that semester...but I was in LOVE with all capital letters and he was in....a bad place emotionally.....I suppose 19 (me) may not have enough wisdom that soon to be 43 does.....but he was always the dream that I would think of when times were hard or slow or just dreamy.....

So, like you, I found him via the internet (that amazing bit of technology) a few years back. We exchanged some great emails....He told me he had dedicated his doctoral dissertation to me (something about being the one who saved his life).....of course I was touched and flattered. One day, just out of the blue, I emailed him one simple question....Did you ever love me? His simple reply, "Yes."

It all went to h - e -double hockey sticks after that, reminding me of all that frustrated me about this man....a missed connection, an inability to say what needs to be said, a road not meant to be taken - all and more are true I suppose.

Eventually we both had to stop the emails......I was revisiting emotionally a painful breakup - 20 years later....

Let me just say this: it hurts just as much the second time around as it did the first.....


bulletholes said...

wELL IF rED DIRT pOETRY GIRL CAN DO ALL THAT THEN i CAN TELL YOU THAT i HAD A GIRLFRI(excuse me)girlfriend that was 17 when I was 19 and for several years we were REALLY COMPATABLE; then she moved to Las Vegas and became a $5000 a night Escort. I think I'm kinda missin' her. I dream of finding her again!

bulletholes said...

The above comment is all true, but sometimes in the interest of providing humor and levity I can tread very heavily on a beautiful and heartfelt post such as yours. It was not my attention so please accept in advance this apology and explanation.

GEWELS said...

Steve- NO WORRIES! I expect your humor.
BTW- If he had to pay me, he couldn't afford it either. The poetry is payment enough, I dare say.
$5000 a night- WOW! She must have learned alot from you- Cowboy!

Anonymous said...

Steve, Steve,

Why did I expect anything less from you, cowboy???? Now you've resorted to dissing me on Gewel's blog.....boy, you need a woman bad.....I keep telling you.....a woman in a REAL uniform (not some faux fur plushie thing) is THE TICKET!!!

Gewels....everytime I see you handle the cowboy, I have greater and greater respect for your wit, girlfriend!


Mother of Invention said...

Great sharing post, Gewels! We all can relate...reminds me of that song by Janiice Ian, "At Seventeen" which Jaan Arden just covered.
It's neat when you can meet up again and have a friendship or Whatever, but it seldom works for real.I've never been able to go back 'cause I figure there's no point if you're both happily married and live a distance apart.

(Trust Steve to come up with a gold-plated story/experience that beats all! Man, have I had a sheltered life!)

bulletholes said...

It would be a dubious honor indeed to think that I had something to o with her *(ahmm) talents. i did not. She was just a Natural.
"I am way cooler on the Internet"

GEWELS said...

NSLW- Thanks for the compliment. I'm such a crappy writer that when someone simply "gets it" I'm elated.
Barbara- Yes, Ben is a deep and profound thinker, as well as a fabulous artist. He's quite a treasure.
Jose- No worries. I don't think he can hurt me again. We're not in that same plane anymore. Thanks for worrying, though.
Akelamalu- Nice to hear from you. I probably do live in my memories a bit too much at times.
RDG- So sorry you had to relive that pain yet again. No, Ben, will not be the one to hurt me a second time. At lest, I don't think so anyway.
How cool to have his dissertation dedicated to you though. I don't even think my husband dedicated his to me (cad).
Steve- What can I say- you make me chuckle.
And RDG- I do like to think that I can wrangle this cowboy, if need be.
MOI- I so forgot that Janice Ian song. Thanks for the reminder it does bring back even more memories now. (I guess my brain isn't that fried after all).
I do have a hard time letting go of old friendships, loves, etc.