I have never been one much for poetry, but Kate's instantly hit a chord with me: a memory came flooding back in full force, a memory hidden in some dark recess just waiting patiently for me to remember it.
* * * * *She was my First Great Love, my first real love that did not have the word puppy for a prefix. The first time I saw her, she was standing at the top of the stairs handing out welcome packages to us incoming college freshmen. I stopped in the stairwell and just stared at her, causing a chain-reaction collision of human bodies behind me. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, and I was in stomach-churning, light-headed love.
I looked and looked for her in vain, until one night when I was tending bar at a neighborhood tavern. I was busy serving both the customers and myself when three people came in and sat down at the quiet end of the bar. I knew the two adults, but she was with them. She was their daughter. I stopped being busy, and I stared at her. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, and I was in stomach-churning, light-headed love all over again.
I asked for her ID so I would know her name and age. I was in a jocular mood thanks to a beer here and there, and it was with beery courage that I asked her to go out with me. She said yes, and for the first time I heard her full, throaty laugh.
The telephone. I remember it like it was yesterday, and how I wanted to reach through the wire and touch her hair, to touch her face, to hold her hand, to hold her in my arms. She was, after all, my First Great Love.
I think Charles Aznavour, in one of my all-time favorite songs, can sing about her better than I can write.
[Thank you, Kate, for publishing your poem, and to you, Map, for making me aware of it.]