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Rated: E · Short Story · Young Adult · #2221534
Years of wondering about an abandoned relationship.
I guess everyone has a story to tell about the one that got away. Mine is just one more of the tales of woe from long ago. Unfortunately it took all too long to find out the details of being thrown away by someone. Many years passed before I was able to close the door on a love long gone.

I was in my senior year of high-school when Joe, an old flame, came back into my life. He had been my very first boy-friend from grammar school through freshmen year of high-school. Oddly enough I was the one who ended this puppy love romance when I developed a taste for being in a new school with all new friends. My adventures of being a high-school diva far outweighed the memories of my first kiss and my first love.

By the time I was half-way through my senior year, I began to look back and realize that maybe what Joe and I shared as kids was more honest than anything I was seeing from other boys I had been dating. Joe came to visit me in the spring of my senior year to let me know he had joined the Air Force. He came to my house in his dress blues with hat in hand looking pretty grand. We sat and talked and rekindled the memories of the years we spent together. He told me he was leaving for Germany in six weeks and would be gone for three years. By the time he left that evening, we both knew that we still cared for each other in a very romantic way.

We spent the next six weeks together as much as possible and rekindled our old feelings beyond what they had been. Ours was a young pure love without any sexual overtones. We believed that what we had was very special and we could wait till we were married to take it to the next level. We planned on being together, no matter what while he was gone. We made promises of letters and calls and complete fidelity to one another until Joe returned home,at which time we would become engaged. The last day we spent together was filled with tears and sadness at the thoughts of not being together for three years. Both of us pledging an undying love till we were together again.

The first letter came within weeks of Joe going to Germany. He spoke of all the changes he was experiencing and how life was in another country. He could not stress enough how much he missed me. I had written him almost daily since his departure. A month passed before I got another letter from Joe. He also sent me a beautiful 8 X10 photo of him in full dress uniform. It was mostly what life was like in the military and he mentioned how
much he missed me at the close of the letter. That was the last letter I received from him. It was not until two months later I received a letter from his mother. She said how hard it was to write to me and to tell me about Ray's upcoming nuptials. He met a German girl and they were going to have a baby and therefore they would be getting married shortly.

It took me by surprise and I was deeply hurt; but,it also left me very angry. I couldn't understand why he couldn't have told me himself about his change of plans. IThis letter from his mother made it easier to accept because it made me realize that I never meant to him what he meant to me. I walked around weepy for a few days but I did get over it. My being in school made it easier also. The senior year was filled with wonderful activities and I did not let anything keep me from enjoying all of them. I started dating and moved on. Several years later I bumped into his sister and she told me how Joe's wife died and how he never had children. He was unable to. She also said he had remarried . This left me confused, considering what his mother told me. Once again I let it go, but still not understanding.

Years passed without any word from him or his family. I always wondered why things happened the way they did. I met my wonderful husband and had over fifty years of a good loving marriage. It wasn't until after my husband died of cancer that I heard from Joe once again on FaceBook. He sent me a message offering his condolances at the loss of my husband. No one could have been more surprised than I to hear from him. I thanked him in a short message and let it go at that.

Two years after my husband died, I had a great deal of time on my hands to think about far too much past and present. I thought about how I never did find out what happened with Joe and why he stopped writing me the way he did. I also wondered about the child he was supposed to have had. After some haggling with myself, I decided to drop him a quick message on FaceBook. All I said was, how it has always been a mystery to me as to why he stopped writing the way he did. I almost expected not to hear from him at all. Within the hour I received the following note:

I knew this was going to come up sooner or later. I guess that was part of the reason I wanted to be friends with you on Facebook. It’s good to clear the air. First of all I want to apologize to you for not being honest with you. I have always felt bad about it but never had a chance to let you know. Please forgive me. It was out of sight out of mind. I was not very good with long distance romance. I had the same problem with Carol. I met my first wife Ingrid shortly after getting to Germany and the rest is history for the next 36 years. That’s the story. It was never my intention to hurt you. JOE

This note took me by surprise. I don't know what I expected but I finally understood that this was something he wanted without explaination. I had spent all those years wondering and it was as simple as that. The young girl in me finally was able to just let it go knowing that things are not always as they appear. It is a good thing that youth comes and goes swiftly. As a woman I am able to accept it without any further thought. Just another day in paradise.
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