It was a long time ago, the age of drive-ins and driving around drinking. It was a time of young love. It was a time of going to school and learning about boys. It was about fun and growing up.
I remember meeting him at the local mall. He was a little older, had his own car and he was very handsome. He started coming by my work everyday. He always had this huge smile on his face. I guess I had a huge one on mine too.
I always remember thinking, that man cannot walk five feet without getting into some kind of trouble. And it was a very true statement. He was young, rebellious, liked to play in a band, he liked to drink, and he loved to drive fast. It seemed that he didn’t like the cops; he never had a good word to say about them. But there was one thing; the way we walked down the street together, he was so proud to have me by his side. I was proud to have him by my side too. He made me feel safe. I do believe that if anybody ever messed with me, he would rip them apart.
Beneath that tough exterior was a simple, very romantic man. He would do anything for anybody. He would always buy me things. He would joke about how I couldn’t hold my liquor. And we danced. We danced a lot. We talked about everything. I was younger than he was and still in school. He was nineteen and to me, he knew everything. He would go to the ends of the world for me and I knew it. What a feeling! What a strong love!
He got in big trouble one day. It was something that he couldn’t face. So, he ran. I will never forget that day. He came up to my work and said that he got into some trouble and had to leave town. He asked if I wanted to go with. He was running away to Florida. I couldn’t leave my job.
He ended up staying down in Florida. I had moved on and had a new boyfriend whom I moved in with. I guess he end up marrying someone down in Florida. I heard later on that they found him shot in his car. I guess he never walked away from trouble. It found him.
I often think about the “what if.” How my life and his life would have turned out if I would have gone with him. We both could have been real happy, or we both could have ended up dead. Who knows? Our paths that we were on were so different.
They say that you never forget your first love. They say that no man will ever love you like your first husband. They say that it is better to have loved than never to have loved at all. I’m not sure about all that. I just know that there are times when I think back to the teenage years and know that it was a time of innocence. It’s a time that you can’t take back or redo, but it’s a time that will forever stay in your heart. You remember your crazy friends and the crazy things that you use to do and get away with. Some of those people are gone now but their memories remain. Just as someday all you will be is a memory to someone else. Just love hard, love long and hang on tight to life’s journey and enjoy where it takes you. Enjoy it with every breath you take.