March 19, 2024

My Dearest Brad, I Always thought I’d See you Again.

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But I never did.

You were my first crush and my first true love. As if it were yesterday, I remember the beginning touchstones of “us.”

It was high school. You were the cool older boy, and ohsocool at that. I was the shy, selfconscious bookworm who would look down at her feet when we passed in the hall. I couldn’t bear to look up, since eye contact would have given away my heart.

But I’d always sneak a glance at the back of you. Your wild, long hair and big, broad shoulders. Shoulders so broad that they could have carried me atop, away, and supported me for life. Forever and ever.

I remember being shocked one day when you walked up to me and smiled. You looked right at me, deep inside my soul, and said “Hi.” Your adorable dimples seemed to shout out my name.

Was I dreaming? Oh my god. Were you really talking to me? Actually saying hi? Had you been told about my dreams? Had you heard my prayers or read my diary? Or maybe some angel had betrayed my trust and spilled the beans that I loved you with every inch of my teenage heart.

So yes, we dated that summer after high school. A wonder-filled summer and you became so important to me in ways too numerous to count. But then things changed when I went to college. We broke up as young lovers do. Even so, you were never far from my thoughts.

How amazing that nine years later our paths crossed again at a local bar and you asked me out. We felt the same magic, the same compelling pull toward one another. Two months later you proposed. We married, we divorced, and we lost touch. Life is confusing like that. Some time, years later, I heard that you had remarried and become a father.

But I always thought I’d see you again.

Imagine my shock when an old classmate called me to tell me that you’d passed away last week. How could that be? I was knocked off my feet. Hit by a mack truck.

I searched to find an obituary on Google to learn some answers. But like a cruel trick, instead of your obituary our wedding announcement from The New York Times popped up.

I lost it.

There it was—the announcement that I remember writing as a young woman so full of hope for a future with you. But now, the very same words that I wrote crushed me. Bit into my heart. Back came the memories of our beautiful wedding at Saint Johns Church and our reception at Orienta Yacht Club. Back came the memories of skinny dipping in your parents pool for so many summers. And back came the memories of how much I had loved you and you had loved me when you asked me to marry you on that beach in Antigua, where everything, including my dreams, was bathed in moonlight.

I realized then, and I realize now, that we were never destined to last. You, my beloved Brad, traveled lightly through life. You were good-natured, affable, and not much bothered you. Life was about having fun and that’s what you sought out everyday—the fun. My view of life was different. For me, life was mostly about survival. It was intense and challenging. At my core is a heavy seriousness that seeks the deeper meaning in most things, people, and events.

Yes, you can have fun but the fun is fleeting and really only punctuates the struggle, which is ongoing for me. So after two years of being married, it became clear that I wasn’t happy and you weren’t happy either. We just were not a good fit. No one was at fault, no one was bad or did anything wrong—we were just too different.

So I continue to think of you, my dear one, to love you from afar, and to pray that you are in a better place. I hope that you’re drinking a beer with God and reflecting back on a life well-lived. And maybe, just maybe, I will join you for that beer someday. I can barely wait to give you a long, hard, overdue hug, and then we can toast once more to the magic of young love.


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