Jean Marie Gunner

Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Love like a 22 Year Old

At this time in my life I am willing to let myself love and be opened by love. There is this sense that softening and becoming vulnerable is the only way to receive the world and there is so much profound goodness to gain.

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to reconnect with an old college sweetheart.  I was 22 years old when we were last together as a couple.   Even after 25 years, he was daring enough to call while on a trip home for a funeral.  Our orbits could have easily missed intersecting that evening however when I walked in my house after an evening out for dinner at Niagara on the Lake, I decided to check my home voicemail.  I couldn’t place his voice immediately.  I scrolled through the call history to find his phone number, called him only to reach a recording stating that voicemail was not activated.  I decided to give it one more shot and call back and was delighted when he answered.  Without hesitation or self-consciousness, I asked him to come for a visit that evening to my home.  I gave him almost the right directions and luckily called him after 15 minutes to clarify and point him to my exact coordinates, the Dairy Queen on my street’s corner in my wee little village. 

 A few minutes later he turned into the parking lot immediately cracking a witty remark with a big pure smile on his face, just as I always remembered him.  Back in college, he had a way of making me smile and laugh.  We returned to my house to hang out on the back patio comfortably sitting and putting our feet up on one another’s chair.   

As we talked and reminisced and laughed on a glorious summer evening in Western New York, we enjoyed ourselves quite comfortably in one another’s presence; it was fun and insightful to talk candidly about the why and how our relationship came to an end.  The obvious answer was the physical distance, with him in law school in D.C. and me in graduate school in Chicago.  Our families certainly didn’t help our cause and there was always that one first love of mine that I couldn’t quite let go. We came to the conclusion that we helped pave the way for each other’s next relationship and journey in life.  It was good to know that the heart break of long ago moved us forward in some beneficial way. 

We each talked about our respective lives and families.  He is happily married for more than 20 years with two great kids and I am happy but wishing to be married again with two wonderful children as well.  When I told him that I really long to spend my life with someone he offered, “You think too much.”  I might not have received this so well if he hadn’t said it so lovingly and sincerely following up with, “Your thinking too much is a good thing when it comes to things like decorating (he was referring to my off color corner kitchen cabinet, a centerpiece of the kitchen), but in matters of the heart, just let them happen.  There is no reason that I can see why you wouldn’t get married again, but it is about timing and being open and choice and some mutual sacrifice.”  He said all this to me while looking me square in the eyes and then saying, so sweetly that I could have cried, that I remind him of that same 22 year old girl from long ago.

Ending the evening with a smile and a big hug, he said, “See you in 20 years.”  He could make me laugh on a dime and that is the most wonderful gift of all!  I trust someday I will experience that kind of comfort and ease with someone again, someone with whom I could spend the next 20 years laughing and smiling through thick and thin.

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