First Love

Robert Flournoy

Copyright 2022 by Robert Flournoy   

Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash
                                       Photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

Lying in bed with a broken leg, I would look out my second story window at the kids getting off the school buses on the street behind my apartment building. I first saw Carole as a brief flash of scarf covered beauty as she hastened into her own building. I would watch and wait for her to make that brief dash to her door that winter of 1960, when we were military brats, in Germany, 7th graders, yet to meet. But, we would that summer, and share a brief love affair before her family returned to the states, leaving me lost and broken as only 13 year olds can be when experiencing cupid's first arrow.I never forgot. And then, 50 years later, thanks to the miracle of the internet.

He arrived at the deserted park on a sunny blue Fall day that had just the right amount of crispness to it to give him boyish hopes of wrapping the girl in his blanket, snuggled close to his side.  He spread the blanket and placed a reclining pillow (large enough for two) in the middle, placed the wine on a flat rock, sat down, and waited with an expectant smile on his face. The warm sun eventually made him drowsy so he laid back and drifted off into a sweet sleep that swept him into a dream that would span years and eventually decades. His dream was a whirlwind of color and noise, emotions, confusion, love and loss, a tunnel of time condensed into an Autumn day's nap that he thought was his life. During that life he would smile at unexpected times, emembering the sweetness of someone from long ago who now accompanied him in that long dream. He would look at faces in crowds, open phone books in strange cities, and stare at blue eyed brunettes that touched something in him and made him restless, but hopeful.

As he began to awake, it was dark, and he was confused because he was not yet aware that he had been dreaming, so deep was he into the life he had lived there. He reached out to see if she had arrived during the dream and was sleeping at his side. He became aware that the dark was actually the dawn, and in that sleepy morning half awareness that tries to remember details of dreams, he smiled and smiled because he knew that his life, his dream, had finally ended with a sense of peaceful closure, because even though she was not by his side on the blanket, he was filled with wonder that she had finally come back to him in a way that only dreamers understand. He strolled peacefully out of the park as the first soft glow of the sun smiled at him with a wink and a nod, as if to acknowledge his new found satisfied easy heart. He knew where to find her now, and could not wait to tell her everything.

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