He and I met in High School. I was a skinny teenager with lots of personality. That led to lots of friends. I was voted Most Popular. He was this quiet, nerdy guy that I would see everyday in homeroom and pretty much just say “Hi” to. We rode the train home together. He got off two stops before mine. Whenever I would see him on the train, I would have my circle of loud girlfriends around me and I would shout his name out and embarrass him to death.
Through Sophomore and Junior year, we had a few classes together. He sat behind me in alphabetical order. In History, I was always the one with the answers. The one smiling and making jokes. He was quiet, drawing graffiti in his notebook. He would only speak when I spoke to him first.
Senior year, first day back to school….he strolls into homeroom. My stomach dropped as I stared at him. He got taller, had a new sense of style, fresh haircut, no more afro. The brown eyes sparkling. Was this the same guy? In addition, he was getting attention from all of the ladies. Before, when I was the popular one, I wielded that power over him knowing he probably thought I was cute but would be too shy to ever approach me. Now I was shy around him.
Everyday, I looked forward to homeroom just so I could see him. Even when my new popular boyfriend started to walk me to homeroom and kiss me outside. I would secretly hope he was jealous. Towards the end of the year, he and I started a slight flirtation. We got to know each other and become friends. Nothing ever happened between us but the spark was there.
Years later, we met up again. He took me on a date to see Malcolm X. We went to the Billboard Music Awards. He ended up becoming a record producer and worked on a platinum album. He blew up and was doing well for himself. I was entrenched in the world of Corporate America and building a career.
No matter what, we always were able to be ourselves with each other. We instinctively knew what the other wanted and needed. We fell in love. A relationship that would last over several years. The one person that would always care no matter what was happening. Soul mates.
We broke up once due to my accepting a job in another state and him being tied up in his career.
Then one day, I was back home in Brooklyn for the Holidays. Sitting at Mom’s house depressed and sad that I had no one to share my life with. He called. He figured I would be home. He called to check up on me. I went to see him. We had dinner but I wouldn’t kiss him or allow him to touch me. I left him and came home. In my heart, I knew I would never be able to resist it and I secretly didn’t want to. I was so proud that I could walk away without showing him how badly I craved our relationship. Pride.
I went back to my new home state and he called me from New York, two days later. He asked what I was doing that day. I told him that I had planned on just hanging around my house. Four hours later, he rang my doorbell and I opened the door to my heart. The next year was absolute heaven. I never felt so loved. This man understood me. He anticipated my emotional needs. He knew instinctively everything I didn’t know about myself. The passion, the openness and the basic overall friendship never wavered. I loved him with every ounce of me I had to give.
One day, he came over and told me that he wanted to talk. He said that he felt his life was in flux. He had gotten out of the music business and wanted to go back to school. I told him that it was a great idea. I was supportive. He then told me that he needed to talk about us. After a year of telling me he was ready to get married….he told me he wanted to be with me but he wasn’t ready to move forward and make a committment. He wanted to live his life a little bit. He didn’t want us to break up….but he was giving me the “space” speech.
I remained calm. I told him that I respected that and then I asked him to pack up all of his stuff and get the hell out of my house and my life. He was hurt. I could see it. I was hurt. I reacted like the young, desperately in love person that I was.
He came back once to get his TV. I cried as he packed it in his car. He never spoke to me. He couldn’t look at me. If he had, he would have stayed. I needed him but I wouldn’t beg any man to stay with me. Pride.
He left. Two years later, I heard he had gotten married and was expecting a child. I started dating my now husband. We had both moved on. I called him once on his birthday. He said he was happy. It was a strange conversation. I told him how happy I was. The words said were probably true on both sides….but the “what if’s” hung in the air. The “what happened to us” went unanswered. The closure, never came.
I never spoke to him again.
Two years after that, I received word that he had died. He had an aneurysm.
Something died in me when I heard. A part of my spirit left my body and never returned. His parents made me sit with them at the funeral. They hugged me and we cried. I stayed away from the casket. I wanted to remember him like he was. I couldn’t imagine him loving anyone the way he loved me. I never walked up to his wife. I didn’t want to be the “ex-girlfriend” at the funeral. I was respectful and kept my distance. I stayed in the shadows. This was, after all, her husband. He chose her.
I wonder why we never worked out. I still don’t know. Perhaps knowing he would die young, I was spared. I may never have recovered after that loss. I can’t imagine what it was like for his wife and children. I pray for them.
I guess I am who I am because he loved me. I thank him for teaching me so many things. He was a wonderful man, a great friend and no matter what….I will always love him. My high school reunion is next year. I can’t believe that I won’t see him. It is alot for me to take in. To walk those halls, sit in the old classrooms. I hope he knows that I loved him. That I will always love him. That I love him to this day. That whenever I hear Heather Headly sing that song…I get tears in my heart. In my mind, I’ll always be his lady…I’ll always be his girl.
Rest in Peace C.