My favorite love story is my own.
At my 50th high school reunion in Winston-Salem, NC in 2009, I reconnected with a high school classmate whom I hadn't seen in fifty years.
I learned at that time that she had been sweet on me all those years ago, which I had not known.
Furthermore, I learned that she had written the following poem when she was eighteen and had held it in her memory for all those years and spoke it to me that night, at the urging of a mutual friend and classmate:
I prayed to see my Bill tonight,
But God seemed not to think
That he and I'd be coupled right -
That our thoughts would not link.
I pray that God would give to me
An evening with my Bill,
Moments of joy and love and glee,
To flood my heart with thrill.
I pray my Bill would of me know,
The way I of him dream;
And that his thoughts would ever grow
Of us, as love in team.
Although this love may foolish be
As schoolgirl crushes will,
I pray one day our God may see
As one, me and my Bill.
As is the way of such things, I happened to have at that very time a poetic broadside on display in a juried show at Gallery 23 Sandy in Portland, Oregon--a poem called Isabel and the printer. Having heard my classmate speak these words, I was touched and in our saying our farewells, I suggested that she go see my broadside when she returned home to Portland. I promised to send her the information, which I did when I returned home to Berkeley, California.
That initial e-mail was the beginning of a profound connection, the answer to her fifty year old prayer and the sourse of deep gratitude on both our parts . . . which I frequently attempt to express in words . . . I share two of the many poems that have come from our reconnection, from our remarkable, one might even say miraculous love . . .
You do not make me who I am
any more than I make you who you are
but there is a miracle that happens inside of me
when I know and feel your love,
that I can only liken to a moment of conception,
that split second when a whole new being begins—
two become one and divide and divide and divide
and take shape around a mystery, yet to be known.
Peas in a pod
Listen, I am thinking, now,
of the two old people,
so young at heart
that they might, at any moment,
catch the other's eye
and break open with smiles and giggles
at the pure joy of being old
and having found each other.
"Peas in a pod," he says,
from time to time,
at a delightfully unexpected convergence
of feeling, of idea or experience shared—
the end of loneliness
and an unstoppable upwelling,
like spring water rising
through the fissures and the cracks,
this gratitude welling up
and breaking through the years
that have been laid down upon the years—
Thank you their mantra—
words spoken by each to each,
spoken to everyone
and spoken to no one in particular,
forever fresh and always young—
these two words, thank you.