Writing 101 – Day 4’s assignment: (A loss)
It began when he was 16, she 17, both seniors in high school. He came up to her locker, asked her out and their romance began, far too serious for the children that they were. By the end of the school year they were inseparable, talking of a future even though both would go off to college in the fall.
He had no money, needed everything for school, but with his own earnings gave her a gift to pledge their future: a sterling silver teaspoon, so shiny and perfect that she never wanted to unwrap it from its tissue paper. He bought it from a jewelry store they had passed on one of their window shopping dates. Too poor to eat out and go to a movie, they peered into the lighted windows instead, choosing things they would buy if they could.
But as deeply in love as they thought they were, time and college changed them and she broke free, leaving him with the hurt. Both moved far from their hometown and made lives of their own on opposite coasts.
She kept the spoon, didn’t unwrap it for years, even hid it guiltily in the back of the silver drawer, a reminder, a keepsake of another person another time. Eventually, she did unwrap the spoon and let it mix in with the others in the drawer and whenever she saw it, a memory passed by.
They became re-acquainted 45 years later through a phone call and then her blog. They emailed, telling one another about their lives, sending an occasional picture of his very young daughter or her life events. This reconnection lasted about a year. He said he would arrange to meet her on his next trip home, and they became distantly involved in one another’s day to day lives. For her, a comfort, as if reconnecting to her childhood was a missing link. She looked forward to the familiarity, remembering the warmth of their friendship, not thinking of romantic involvement, but can you return to your first love without flirting with the thought?
Originally, the loss had been his. Years later, when he suddenly stopped writing emails and changed his address, the loss was hers. She felt betrayed somehow. He was there one day and gone the next. She actually could have called – had his cell number – but felt that he must have some reason to cut everything off. The question was why. Did his wife find out about the emails (he had said she would consider it a betrayal) or had she said or done something to turn him away?
Every time she saw the spoon after that, the question was there. She wanted to throw it away, but doing that would bring closure to their old friendship, and she didn’t want that. There was so much sadness in losing an old friend again. She was hurt, sometimes even angry… a loss not understood.