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Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

Cape Fear Voices/The Teen Scene

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My First Love


There is a cool breeze here in the shade. I am away from the relentless sun as it beats down unmercifully on the rest of the lawn. Here, under the canopy of dark green maples, I sit and wait. The hostas and astilbes are in bloom, their tall flowers providing a splash of color that brightens my day. The heady fragrance of the heliotrope on the edge of the garden comes in waves as the wind changes directions. A restlessness that I can’t control causes me to rise and wander about. I cannot seem to settle for more than a few moments. The last few months have been filled with various doctor’s visits. So, I sit in my garden that has always made me feel serene and at peace and think.

Memories from long ago arise. Was it really fifty years ago that my husband and I met? I had only arrived as a freshman two weeks earlier, enjoying the freedom that college life provided. Who knew that drinking beer in the middle of the afternoon was socially acceptable? My dormitory friends decided to attend a fraternity mixer open to all students at the two local colleges. I was with a friend who was trying to locate the guy she met the night before. After a few drinks, she called Brad’s name repeatedly. Sounding like a bleating sheep, she wandered about saying, “Braad, Braad, where are you?” I was becoming very uncomfortable and embarrassed when Brad and his friends appeared.

Among Brad’s friends was a stunningly beautiful young man. Delightfully offsetting his green eyes was a head full of wavy dark hair. He was tall and muscular from playing football in high school – a delightful vision. He approached me, and we began a conversation that has lasted through 47 years of marriage. His sensuality and wit made it easy for me to love. His intellect and common-sense appealed to my bookish self. His confidence and relaxed attitude inspired me to have faith in my abilities.

We married while still in college because I could not bear to be apart from him. I had already taken a pass on a semester in Germany for the same reason. Friends criticized me for giving up this opportunity to utilize my six years of German language studies. “If he truly cares for you, he’ll still be there when you get back,” they said. I refused to listen; I wasn’t taking a chance on losing him. Germany would always be there. He might not.

After graduation, his first professional job required that we move four hours away in opposite directions from family. It was tricky setting roots, and frequent trips were taken back home. We became adults together living in a new city. We built a life together, raised two children, and grew to depend on each other in ways that forged a long marriage. It was not always smooth sailing, but we still found a way back to each other. After all these years together, we carry on fragmented conversations as we usually know what the other will say. Sometimes we finish the sentences of the other. We are very much two parts of a whole.

Laughter is still sweet as he shares his puns and corny jokes, often at the most inappropriate times. Small kindnesses are cherished – a kiss, a caress, or a smile. The sun is setting, and it is time to go in to start dinner. I finally feel relaxed and at peace.

Recalling the long-haired beauty that was my love at age 18 has brought a feeling of warmth to my heart. He pops his head out the door to call me to come in, and I see the short gray hair and the white mustache—so many changes in both of us over the years. I arise and eagerly head towards him.

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