Rusty’s Long Lost Love, Part One

At the start, you have to know this is a difficult and bittersweet memory for Rusty to tell.  He sometimes tries to go on without thinking about it.  He fails.  Once in a while, sitting out under the stars, high in the Sierras or some other romantic place, after a glass of fine wine, he might tell an old buddy the story, thinking it might be cathartic.  The telling is good, but it always leaves a lingering ache in the heart.

It was a long time ago.  In a place that seems very distant and yet it happened right in the town where Rusty lives.  You see Rusty’s never left.  Not only has he been in the same town, but the very same house his entire life.  On almost a daily basis he drives by or near all the locations where this story occurred.  Most of the buildings are still there, even if they’ve taken on a new life.  He sometimes drives by her old house, less than a mile as the crow flies from his.  Sometimes he drives out of the way to see it.  Other times he drives out of the way to miss going by those old, but not forgotten memories.

To this day, Rusty cannot recall their first meeting.  What was said, who was there, even the exact location were all lost long ago.  They weren’t alone that day.  There were plenty of others around.  But from that day forward, it always seemed like they had known each other forever.  They saw each other almost every day.  They talked.  They ate.  They enjoyed the sunshine in our small town.

Gradually, it just became a feeling between them that even though they had not been together that long, in “their” time it seemed forever.  In many ways they were alike.  Rusty and she were both very skinny at that time and dark-haired.  She outdid Rusty in freckles, which were sprinkled like little brown stars on her cheeks.  She never wore her hair down.  It was always neatly done and often braided.  Her eyes, well her eyes could see right into Rusty’s soul and hold him like a baby in a mama’s arms.  Her lips were interesting and cute.  It seemed like every time Rusty tried to look at them she’d smile a smile that sent a little quiver from Rusty’s eyes to his toes.  It was a little like an electric shock, but small and happy feeling.  She was a tad shyer than Rusty. He found that cute too.  She was one of a kind.

It was all so long ago that it’s difficult for Rusty to remember particular conversations that they had but one spring afternoon seems to be unforgettable.  They stood together with dozens of people around, but not noticing any of them.  She softly explained something or other about how things would be when they were married.  It was the first time they had discussed marriage specifically, and yet it seemed natural and obvious that they would end up together.  Although it had not particularly been on Rusty’s mind, he wasn’t at all shocked or taken aback at this assumption of hers that their lives would be intertwining through the future.  In fact her certitude about the future gave Rusty comfort.

One of the most joyous memories they had was a birthday party given by her parents.  Rusty doesn’t remember how many people were there besides her family, but it was quite a number of other friends.  Rusty can only remember one or two of the other guests after all these years because every moment at the party he spent with her.  Toward the end of the party they sat on the piano bench while she pumped the pedals of the old player piano in her parents’ living room.  It was a good and happy time.  It was the last time they would celebrate her birthday together.

To have such a critical relationship figured out at a young age would have been a blessing had not the fates intervened.  Without much notice and with seemingly no time to plan, family responsibilities dictated that she would move away from the little town where she and Rusty had been so happy.  There was no way Rusty could move with her at that time and there was no way she could stay. The details didn’t really matter.  It was just the way it was.  They would be apart for an undetermined time.  Their future relationship seemed uncertain.  Rusty’s feelings would never change, but he would not handle things very well in these new circumstances.

Although unhappy at her having to move, Rusty could not really come to grips with this sad fact or even talk about what it meant for their future together.  She just seemed to slowly fade away.  It was a strange time for Rusty.  For many months he continued in his same old routine day after day, plodding along in the rut that had become his life.

Years later Rusty’s mother explained that they had had an interesting relationship with the girl’s parents.  They were not close friends but had always got along well.  The interesting thing was that Rusty’s parents were not really “huggy-kissy” people.  The interesting thing that Rusty’s mother noted was that whenever this girl’s parents would see them, they would greet them and hug them as if they were close relatives, something Rusty’s parents found rather nice.  It seemed another omen that the families should combine.

Understanding how Rusty was feeling about the situation with her, Rusty’s father and mother invited him on a driving trip.  Rusty, never one to turn down an adventure, gladly accepted the invitation.  Little did Rusty know what was in store.   He was soon to find out.

[Editor’s note:  Stories about sex may just be “Wham, Bam, Thank You Ma’am” from beginning to end, but romance stories sweetly linger, as does this one.  Take a breather…Return tomorrow for the surprising conclusion of Rusty’s Long-Lost Love, Part Two .  Well OK, if you are really anxious you can click it now].


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