Sunday, 22 February 2009

The One That Got Away !

What happens when you open the door to your dating past, I did and the experience was a bittersweet one.

I have a confession to make, until last Monday, I was a virtual virgin, that is until I was corrupted by that most delicious of sins – Facebook.

The joy of Facebook is like biting into forbidden fruit that is so sweet and delicious, that the thought of not finishing it, is something which you can’t entertain..

From the moment I followed the child’s play registration process and typed in my first name search, I was seduced. Lured by a combination of nosiness and the notion of opening a Pandora’s box of memories, I was enthralled.

No more embarrassing reunions. No disappointments from your side or his, when you both realise the years have done you no favours in terms of your looks. Instead Facebook is like a curiosity shop which allows you to browse without consequences, until now.

I have always wondered what happened to my first love. From the first moment I laid eyes on him, propped sheepishly against the bar in a rather dodgy salsa bar in Bayswater, I was crazy in love. “That’s him. That’s my husband” I told my housemate Maria, who rolled her eyes and smiled. For the first and only time in my life, I took the path of bravery that only over enthusiastic men, wine emboldened women and the serial date pursuers take and went over to talk to him.

His name was Darin. He was 6ft 5, blonde and had the most clear blue eyes I have ever seen. He was American-Greek and was spending his vacation travelling around Europe. By the end of the evening I had his telephone number and address and the small matter of how to make him fall in love for me was a challenge, not an obstacle.

Over the next six months and then for the next two years, we fell in love. Truly, madly, deeply. We wrote letters every week, talked on the phone every Saturday and exchanged our hopes, worries and dreams. Every few months, I would board the plane at Heathrow and barely be able to stand the 8 hours it took me to get to him in LA.

I would run, then walk from the plane to pick up my luggage, then float towards arrivals where I would almost hold my breathe until I could see him.

The bloom of first or long distance love is a strange one. It start off strong, lush and colourful, nurtured by two lovers who vow to stay true to each other, before gradually wilting into the ashy brown crumpled haze of frustration and disillusionment.

I wanted to be with him every day. I wanted to leave London and be with him, but “I don’t want to be responsible for you” he said when I pressed him for his opinion, over dinner one night “I’m not ready for that”.

I said nothing, staring down at my plate and chasing my food around in slow motion. I wondered whether my wanting our snatched minutes to be extended days had scarced him, like a startled stallion kicking the hell out of a bolted horsebox.

I wouldn’t take no for an answer, this time hoping to move to the States as an employee. I secured a job offer or so I thought from a publishing company in Redondo Beach. However, when faced with the enormity of the red tape involved with hiring me, they backed out. Gently letting me down with a short letter confirming they had decided to hire a US resident instead.

Two break-ups followed, with the final death knell being dealt by him, during an ill-fated romantic break in Belguim. “I don’t think this is going to work” he said. And that was where my first love broke my heart.

Looking at him 15 years on, staring out from my PC screen, I was struck by his once blonde sandy hair, now salt and pepper grey and those still beautiful eyes, partially shielded by neat rimmed glasses. Euphoria hit me, then gave way to my sadness at what might have been. Cuddled up beside him was a pretty little girl with eyes just like his. Her arm was wrapped around his neck and she was shyly smiling. He always said he wanted children – but not with me.

I thought about my own situation compared to his. I am single, having most recently detached myself from a man, so full of self love that he regularly extolled the virtues of never wanting to have children, as he was too selfish to want to share his partner (whoever that was) with them. I hung on in there for two years, thinking he would come round, before it finally dawned on me that he meant exactly what he said.

So what now? I took one last look at Mr America’s picture, before clicking away from the page. I vowed to remember this moment, if I ever again decided to go against my normal melodramatic “You are dead to me now stance”, that I normally adopt when my relationships end.

Racking over your past loves can bring back happy memories, but if your current life is less than perfect, reflecting on what might have been, can be a bittersweet affair.


Anonymous said...

Loving your ways Divasdelite!

Amusing, entertaining without being whiny and and please can we have more !


Anonymous said...

This is so good! you are such a great writer i had no idea, it was like you were talking to me!