A lost love can change everything in a man’s life.
Julia was seventeen, a senior in high school, and perhaps part of her did not believe I had waited through all four years of college, though my fumbling around made my lack of experience clear. I could only go with what I felt, as I have always done, as I do now. I am not a technical lovemaker. Practiced moves lack the passion of surrender, of giving your hands, mouth, your whole body to the moment, of letting your heart lead, of following your instinct, responding to responsiveness, being unafraid to experiment, willing and wanting to please, open, naked, and real.
My own bed was long and narrow—a standard Yale-gauge bunk. The floor was more comfortable. We took it … and took each other there, to that place, in the dark, on a spring night with no moon. Actually, I have no idea whether there was a moon or not. The mind invents details when the soul relives but cannot recall the particulars of experience to its full satisfaction. We went slowly, easing ever so gently into that which we had cooperatively resisted, collegially delayed, concupiscently anticipated, and lovingly longed for, only to find there was no resistance, just the melding of flesh, the magical moment of complete connection, the shudder, the shock, the surprise, the thrill of filling and being filled, the fullness of it, under the light of the nonexistent moon, a raw beauty finding its way onto our faces, the wonderment, the need, the newness for us of the age-old act, the continuation, the motion, the tension, my sharp intake of breath, her sigh, and then … the letting go. Letting go while clutching each other tightly, having sailed our ship into uncharted waters, without a sextant or a map, sinking all expectation in favor of discovering together what lay beyond the horizon, past the land of almost and everything but, in the country of what if.
The next day Julia returned home, and the day after that I wrote her a letter, spread my feelings onto the page like brushing melted butter on toast, filling every crack and crevice, absorbing the experience by allowing it to absorb me. I copied that letter at Tyco’s on Elm Street but have since lost it, sucked with so many other things down the maelstrom of missteps to vanish in the deep. There was another letter, too, which Julia sent years later, in response to one I sent cutting off contact, a letter I threw away unopened, keeping a promise to the woman I was with at the time that would irrevocably alter Julia’s life—and mine.
Yes, the mind invents details when the soul relives but cannot recall the particulars of experience to its full satisfaction. But no, this is never quite enough.
Ah, the things that are lost.
Photo courtesy of author