You’re the girl I could wait a lifetime for… I have heard this replay in my mind a million times. He wrote it to me in letters. He told me on the phone when we spoke. He whispered it into my ear when we were together. How could I not have faith and just believe in what he was saying? It begins with other people telling you that dreams don’t come true; that long distance relationships never work out; that you just need to be practical and “get real” about what you want in life. It ends with you (me) not following my heart and stupidly allowing other to dictate your (my) life. Moral of the story: Unless you have seen or someone can point to something that is a real indicator that a dream you are following is going to have an unhealthy outcome, ignore them. Pursue, pursue, pursue…with diligence, perseverance, dedication, and faith.
I met him at the gloriously adventurous age of 16 on the beach at Daytona on my family vacation. I was there with my parents, my little brother, some other family members, and my best friend, Mariece. She and I were down on the boardwalk checking out our new surroundings and trying to look very “grown up” and cool. As we strolled toward the arcade, we passed three guys who were taking particular note of us. The minute Gord and I looked into each others’ eyes, the earth shook, the sun shone brighter, the waves broke louder…it was magical. They found a way to approach us…I believe it was a skeeball challenge and we were off and running. He and his friends were on holiday from Toronto (no parents in tow) and staying at a campground. He wasn’t just easy on the eyes, this guy knew how to have a genuine conversation. Gord was sweet, polite, fun, interesting, athletic, and incredibly handsome. We were inseparable for the next seven days. The day we packed up to leave, there were two songs that played several times as we lay on the beach for those last few hours talking about how we would stay in touch and when (not if) we would see each other again. Those songs, Afternoon Delight and Kiss and Say Goodbye, became “our” songs. The latter one, more especially, because over the years (yes, we did stay in touch and see each other again) it seemed we did a lot of kissing and saying goodbye.
Three years passed and during that time he came to see me and we wrote to one another at least once a week and spoke on the phone just as much. Our conversations were sweet, excited, inquiring, and tender. We were fully involved in each other’s lives. He played ice hockey, football, and baseball. I got calls to update me on wins and losses and, in the case of hockey, new scars. I kept him updated on softball, my horse and my dog and cats. We spoke of our studies and our plans for the future. Those plans, for each of us, included the other.
We graduated high school and I declined to head straight into college. My father was not happy with my decision. I was a very “spirited and head-strong” girl. I took a job working in a retail outlet and eventually went on to work at corporate headquarters for a grocery chain in Atlanta. Gord did go on to attend college at University of Waterloo in Ontario. There, he successfully completed his degree in engineering. It was while he was at university that he made a trip down to Atlanta to visit with me. This visit brought some awkwardness (my fault) and saw him leave feeling as if he knew me less.
Seems a good time to call it a night and prepare for bed. I am a little tired and thinking back on all of this, while it brings me great joy and a smile to my face, it also brings me great pain and tears to my eyes. I will come back to continue this story tomorrow.