Sunday, June 3, 2012

In My Life I Love You More. . .

I was walking up the stairs outside the student center, when I first saw Gil. It was only two weeks into my college career and already I felt pretty confident.  All the nervous energy that I brought with me dissipated and with one of my best friends from high school by my side, I felt braver than I might have, had I been flying solo.

He was on the top step leaning against the railing.  From his vantage point, he could easily watch the throngs of students, like industrious ants, rushing in and out of the surrounding buildings. His father’s Filipino heritage was more dominant than his mother’s English background and the result was striking and exotic good looks. His layered, shoulder length brown hair added a whisper of a rock and roll edge.

He had a large heart embroidered on the front of his bell bottom jeans. Without hesitation I said the first thing that came to mind,  "Hey that’s a cool heart.” My own heart skipped a beat when he gave me possibly the warmest smile, and revealed the straightest, whitest teeth I had ever seen. He was easy to talk to and before I knew it, I was handing him my phone number and making a date for the following Saturday night.

When Saturday came around, after a flurry of beautifying activity, I waited for his car to pull up. Seven o’clock came and went with no Gil in sight. By seven twenty, I grabbed my keys and got into my car to leave. I recently made myself a promise never to sit and wait for anyone.

The last three years of high school I was head over heels in love with an older boy.  Unfortunately, six month into our relationship, his number was picked in the last lottery draft of the Vietnam War. Before we knew it, Uncle Sam scooped him up and stationed him four thousand miles away in Germany.

Thankfully, he did not see any action, but the three years we spent apart were emotionally charged with a cycle of joyful reunions followed by tearful goodbyes.  Letters flew across the globe on a daily basis and at least three times a week the phone would ring at 6AM.  From a deep sleep, I would jump out of bed, bolt down two flights of stairs and answer it before the third ring. I missed out on most of my high school social milestones because he was away. I didn’t go to any event geared toward couples.  I missed dances and my prom.  I felt that it was worth it, because after the wait was over, we would be together forever. We planned to marry, move to Oregon where he would  become a Park Ranger and I a writer.
I was ecstatic when he managed to get a leave from the army, fly home to surprise me for my graduation.  When the leave was over and he was getting ready to return, he dropped a bomb. He had met a German girl and they started dating the month before.  My high school was over and so was my relationship. I missed out on so much and vowed from that moment on,  never to wait for anyone again.

Gil’s face was one of complete shock when he turned the corner and saw me driving away.  After he explained that he was stuck in traffic, I parked my car and we went on our first date.  He would never be late again.  That night, like so many nights to come, we sat on the beach and he played his guitar and sang to me.  He had the sweetest voice and could play as deftly as Jose Feliciano.  Sometimes he would sing his original songs, other nights he would give me a personal concert under the stars with tunes from The Beatles, Eric Clapton, James Taylor and Cat Stevens.  Hook, line and sinker I was in, and in love!

One day I was set to make a presentation in my Communications class about relationships.  Even though it was only a couple of hours away, I didn’t have a clue how to start it. He told me not to worry, he’d figure it out.  He had a math test at the same time as my class. He ditched it and a couple of hours later, Gil sitting cross-legged on a desk in front of the class, played guitar and sang the Beatles song,  In My Life  To this day whenever I hear There are places I remember all my life, it’s always Gil’s voice I hear.
A few months later, a well-known manager in the music world heard Gil's band and invited us to his home to talk about possibly representing them.  His best friend from childhood Joe, also a band member, Joe’s girlfriend Cathy, Gil and I sat in his living room in awe listening to his stories of all the famous groups he had plucked out of obscurity and catapulted into stardom.  He told the guys that he was going to shop their songs around and would let them know what the next step would be. We left with our heads spinning and our feet never touching the ground.

Two days later, Gil called to tell me that he had great news to share. In the time it took for him to drive over, I planned our rock star future. When he arrived, he was flushed with excitement.  I made him sit down and take a few deep breaths.  He finally calmed down enough to tell me that Joe had decided to join the Marines and since he and Joe were inseparable, he enlisted too.   

I couldn’t believe my ears. Who in their right mind, only four years after The Kent State Massacre and six months after Nixon resigned would ENLIST?  It was unheard of!  My last boyfriend didn’t have a choice, he was drafted-- but Gil had volunteered to leave me.
Thoughts of putting the next four years on hold while I waited for him to come home and the thousands of letters that had to be written to maintain the relationship as well as the heartbreaking loneliness that I would surely experience in his absence, did not allow me to hear him out  I didn’t give him a chance to explain, I just couldn’t.  I told him if leaving me was so easy, he could just leave then and there. Before I closed the door, I told him not to contact me again.
The next few months, I threw myself into schoolwork, friends, boys anything that would anesthetize the pain of my broken heart.  When Gil came back to town on his first leave, he begged me to meet him for just one cup of coffee.  I sat opposite him in the coffee shop. I couldn’t get past his crew cut or shiny dress uniform to look into his eyes or hear his words of apology and love.

Years later, I realized that what I thought would happen, did not. I was convinced that there was a world of guys like Gil out there for me.  I was wrong.   So, in the pre Google, post-divorce days, I searched for him.  Nothing ever came up.  Every few months from the mid-nineties on, I tried.

A dear friend gave me a book the talented author, Amy Ferris, wrote entitled Marrying George Clooney-Musings from a Midlife Crisis. In it she talks about having insomnia and googling old boyfriends in the middle of the night.  I told no one  for years I did just that, always searching for Gil.  After reading the book, I decided to give it another shot.

On April 30th after the umpteenth time, I googled him again. THERE WAS A HIT! My heart raced and my hands trembled in anticipation as I clicked on the link that lead to the site,

Gil, who was born on October 13, 1953, passed away April 18th only twelve days before. The obituary spoke of his talent,kindness and generous heart.  Things I knew so many years ago. . .

There are places I'll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
In my life, I love you more

Like this blog? Don't miss out on any future posts--just click: BECOME A MEMBER and you will be notified of new posts!
Alison is the award-winning author of The Lily Lockwood Series: The Seeds of a Daisy and soon to be published The Silver Cord.

The Seeds of a Daisy is available paperback and digital download: Amazon, and iTunes


  1. Your piece reminds me of my lost loves. We all have them. Thanks for opening my heart again and closing it.

  2. Heartbreaking and beautiful. I love your writing!

    1. That means the WORLD to me, truly Julie! <3<3

  3. thanks alison, boy can i relate to that and found out the same thing.