Synchronized

Dizzy.  Rolling out of control.  Scenery, like the internal images of a rotating kaleidoscope in the hands of an eagerly entertained youngster, flashed by in a mixture of shapes and sizes.  Intoxicated by the rush of doing something utterly different, wondering if we had lost all sense of reality, and feeling as if my heart would never be one complete piece again, I found myself with arms wrapped tightly around my chest, rolling sideways down a dew-dampened grassy hillside in the nascent light of day.  It was June some-teenth, 1987, in the middle of our town at the local cemetery on the morning after high school graduation and our senior all-night party, a night which begat a mere two hours of interrupted catnaps in the back of my 1979 Chevy Impala.  Despite feeling as if those few moments were catapulting me into another realm of consciousness, the realization hit me upon my final revolution at the bottom of the hill that my life was to continue without her.  Two teenagers in love, we would, in a few moments, go our separate ways.  Forever.

Nowadays, over two decades later, most memories of my senior-year girlfriend have lost their edge.  No longer do I recall with vivid sharpness the majority of our moments shared, for the twenty-plus intervening years wreak havoc on the everyday details of yesteryear—especially that last year of high school.  Oft I am found wondering if my mind can be trusted to do justice to all that we entailed.  However, I suppose I am accepting of all this diminished recollection and atrophy of nostalgia as a natural process in life.  For the most part, I am willing to chalk it up as inevitable, but there are vestiges of those days that still tenaciously linger in the deepest recesses of my heart.  Years of countless life experiences, thousands of miles literally and figuratively traveled in between, and lovers and loves that have come and gone in my life like cab drivers on a rush-hour Manhattan street all bury images of her under piles of more-easily-recalled, recent sentiment. And even after finding the love of my life, my wife, and knowing that she and I were meant to be through the ages, I can admit that my senior year girlfriend will forever have an indelible place in my heart, if only a fraction of all that I have had and all that I will be.

To have shared a few months of our lives together during that last year of secondary school all came at the right time.  For at least the last year-and-a-half beforehand, I had experienced so many ups and downs with nearly uncontrollable teenage angst, my parent’s disruptive divorce, and a move from New York to Virginia and then back to New York to finish six months of schooling there before graduation.  Though I had a good circle of friends that gave life a good dose of meaning at the time, I was riddled with self-doubt about life, feeling as if I was stuck between perpetually abandoned and incessantly melancholic.  So it was with her, Christine, that I found a sense of adolescent stability, albeit just for a few months towards the end of that year.  We, simply put, had fun.  Events that all senior years comprise were shared.  Good-bye parties.  Prom.  Parties to celebrate our pending manumission.  After school get-togethers.  Parties for the sake of partying.  It was a frenetic, exciting time, for we didn’t have many cares in the world when we walked hand in hand or embraced for hours.

Regardless of the dust-covered cobwebs that mask the details of my relationship with her, moments of us do find their way back to me from time to time.  For instance, she bestowed upon me the nickname “Mr. Hands” at a party one night when we found ourselves in a dark back bedroom with perhaps a dozen other friends surrounding us in semi-privacy.  With no need to detail her rationale, one can suffice it to say that those last weeks before graduation were a frenzy of bonding, emotionally and physically, and that evening was no exception.  Perhaps it was the underlying knowledge that we would soon part ways or maybe just teenage desires manifesting themselves all at once.  Sentimental yearnings like to label it as the former in order to paint such images with a hue of innocence.  Whatever it was, “Mr. Hands” was developing a sense that she was someone with whom he would soon entrust a responsibility of eternal remembrance.

Driving in my car together just to fill time because teenagers had nothing else to do in such a rural town, watching television after school with friends in her family room, and chatting on the phone until day’s end are other hazy recollections of our abridged paragraph in the story of life together, yet none of those times can compare to the events the week of graduation because I had made a decision then to move the day after graduation to Minnesota, a state halfway across the nation—which was, for a provincial teenager, seemingly halfway around the globe.  We had known she was to go to college in New York state later that fall, so we would have, otherwise, only had a few months of summer love to inscribe in our hearts and etch in our psyches, but the pronouncement of my imminent departure to take place the day after graduation immediately terminated any hopes of building more together.  It was with that knowledge that those last few days became profoundly surreal, all leading to a consummation of our teenage hopes and shared desires; two days before graduation, with tears still flowing and cheeks damp from hours of weeping together over our fast-approaching parting of ways, we shared a tenderness that completed our time together.  Within a mere two days, we would say goodbye.  Within a matter of moments, we left an impression on our hearts to last a lifetime.

At sometime during the all-night festivities after graduation earlier that evening, Christine and I danced to Chris Deburgh’s “Lady in Red”.  I felt like a man for the first time, in the full sense of the word, when I looked at her and realized she was herself wearing a red sweater.  I had experienced an unsurpassed intimacy of the heart those few days, so with maturity of foresight, I devised a way to forever remember our time together.  As if I had a pre-destined knowledge of my vagabond lifestyle and waywardly ways awaiting me in the years ahead, I knew that I wanted another substantive, tangible experience with which to connect with her, forever.  Hours later, I drove her to a place that I felt would increase the chance of recollection later in life: the local cemetery.  And it was there that we promised we would forever remember each other at that moment as we lied down in wet grass at the top of a hill to begin our whimsical, rolling descent downward.  Our existence for that moment, the last time I ever saw Christine, was… synchronized.

This entry was posted in Blogs About Anything and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to Synchronized

  1. vagabondwithfamily says:

    Reblogged this on vagabondwithfamily and commented:

    Been a while…

  2. esmeowl12 says:

    Beautiful. Your post made me a little sad, too, as my son will graduate high school next year. It also recalled memories of my own senior year. I am one of the lucky ones – I married my high school sweetheart and we’ve had almost 27 years together!

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      Thank you for reading! I am glad to know that the piece can evoke some emotion as I suppose that was the intended purpose overall. Wow! 27 years! Great going! I’ve heard similar stories and am always amazed by them!

  3. Melissa says:

    Absolutely an enlightening post.

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      Thank you, Melissa! Having received such responses is helping me rekindle a desire to write, something I haven’t allowed myself much time to do these last few years!

  4. Julianna says:

    Wow, how you evoked the intensity of feelings from so long ago…so many of us had them, and they are still so real. What a treat – that we can do that, but also that you reminded us of this!

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      Hi. Thanks for your response, Julianna. Although I mean no disrespect to the institution of marriage and to mine in particular, those youthful, yesteryear moments were always so exciting, making the visualization of such experiences easier–even though the passage of the years has blurred many a line between erstwhile loves and romances. The focus should surely be on the here and now, but nostalgia has its place in life, too.

      • Julianna says:

        I hear you. Memory SHOULD be allowed to be sweet and nostalgic – and yes, we lose much of the edge of the bad in retrospect. Of course, Here and Now is where life really is, but there’s nothing wrong in gaining sweet feelings through memory (lord knows we hold onto enough bad stuff through our thoughts…let’s let us balance it out a little!). Regardless, your writing was fabulous is how it brought back the taste of it all – well done!

  5. ssrijana says:

    so nice a beautiful post🙂

  6. scribblechic says:

    A lovely tribute to a moment in time. All too often I hear people undermining past loves or disproportionally glorifying young love, it seems most honest to accept each experience as a chapter in an unfinished story.

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      Undoubtedly a chapter in the “unfinished story” as you say! It is what we are. To borrow from a movie… “We are the experiences we’ve had.” I can’t dismiss the past, for it helped create the foundation of me, but I wouldn’t give it too much focus, either!

      Thank you for taking the time to read and respond!
      Michael

  7. Beautiful; hauntingly poetic. Looking forward to reading more of your work!

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      Thank you, Maggie. I appreciate any comment, negative or positive, for I hope to incorporate the insight and gain from it, and I’ll surely take any “beautiful” comments I can get! The piece sat mostly unread in my Mac’s hard drive for the last three-plus years, yet, surprisingly, nobody, friends or family, really responded when I posted it to FB a while back. Yet a few days here on the Freshly Squeezed page has resulted in some comments and likes. Cheers!

  8. mirrormon says:

    Beautiful… wow!!…I cant believe that these things stay with u even after so long… ofcourse they do…
    i really liked your post!

  9. Reblogged this on on your way to lala land and commented:
    The words we call have felt before.

  10. onyourwaytolalaland says:

    just remember this will make you stronger one day if you let it. Never easy but usually nesessary. Keep you head up and your heart strong. This too shall pass.

  11. krezgirl says:

    Vivid. What a beautiful way to share a dear memory.

  12. How sweet and wonderful. I hope my first love remembers me as fondly as I do him.

  13. Lila says:

    What irony, or synchronicity, to end that night in a cemetery; signifying the end of your time together, sealing it forever in a grave.

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      Good point, Lila! I’ve not considered that symbolism before! Unintentional, but rather poignant, eh!?

      Thanks for reading!
      Michael

  14. Snakehair says:

    This is nice… not too many people get to experience something like that in high school! But they make such touching stories

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      Indeed not very common, so I am glad I had the opportunity to meet her all those many years ago! Thanks for your reading and commenting!

  15. beautiful……i remember too…………but her name was not christine

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      I hope they’re as pleasant a series of memories for you as they are for me, too (however dusted and cobwebbed they are for me now!).

  16. atique007 says:

    Reminding me of Keats: “Where beauty can not keep her lustrous eyes….and new love pine at them beyond tomorrow”

  17. barbaramelnikcarson says:

    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this so vividly. It helps me put some of my adolescent loves lost into a new perspective.

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      Thank you for reading it. The piece sat for a few years “collecting dust” in my laptop, so I thought I would finally post it to be read. I appreciate the comment!

  18. Heart-wrenching and beautiful at the same time — you definitely have a way with words!🙂

    • vagabondwithfamily says:

      Thank you, Mikalee. I sent it to said Christine a few years ago when I wrote it, and she appreciated its sentiment. Thank you for responding to it!

  19. vagabondwithfamily says:

    The image that I found for this post is from: http://www.trustyourstyle.com/2011/04/lady-in-red.html

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s