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!