Phyllis Schieber Author

Women's Fiction by Phyllis Schieber

Old Boyfriends

So what is it about old boyfriends that is irresistible? I often wonder if it is because I am a writer that I have this connection to the past (as well as to the present and the future!). Most recently, I connected with a boy I loved when I was fifteen-years-old. He was a year older, and we came from two distinctly different worlds. We met at a sleep-away camp, where he was a kitchen steward, and I was a waitress. He was gorgeous, smart, funny, and (to my fifteen-year-old eyes) very bold. We fell in love in spite (or perhaps, because of) resistance from the camp authorities and our different cultures. The details are less important than how we came to find each other again and what it was like to reconnect. When my last book was released, I found his name in White Pages and sent an announcement card to his address in California. He had married his high school sweetheart and (from the address), they were still together. I have been married for almost 36 years, but I always wondered what happened to that beautiful boy I had so loved. Well, to make a long story short (something a writer almost never says!), he answered my postcard after a year, and we began to email each other… six months later, we had our first phone conversation. I am still processing what it was like to hear his voice after some 40-years (still raspy) and to–cautiously, at first–bring each other up to date a little on our lives. It was very strange–something I pointed out, and he immediately agreed with–and also very poignant. We really don’t know each other at all, but we seem to still be drawn to whatever it was that for at least a time made us feel as though we couldn’t bear to be apart. We reminisced, laughed, and promised to stay in touch. His personal life is far more complex than mine, and I am sorry for that. I would like to be a friend to him if he needs that. We exchanged photos of our children mostly. His older son looks so much like he did that it took my breath away. I don’t think passion is reserved for the young, but those first early loves are so intense, so unbearably rich with new emotion, not to mention unleashed hormones, that it is hard to match the experience in adulthood… try as we do.

I don’t know when we will speak again, though I believe we will. And we live so far away from each other (a good thing, maybe) that it’s hard to know when we will ever see each other. Still, for a while, I was that fifteen-year-old girl, telling the boy I loved funny stories and happy that I could make him laugh. He said, “Do you ever come up for air?” It was the same thing he used to say to me all those years ago when nothing mattered more to me than the look in his eyes when he saw me from across a room. It was good to be young again, and good to be young again with him.

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January 16, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , ,

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