A few years ago, I returned to Spain where I had lived while in college. Back then, I met a boy with whom I fell in love. We dated for a year while I was there. Briefly, I considered returning there after college graduation, but I didn’t and so the romance was over.
A few years before the divorce, he found me again. I told the ex (we were still married) that this guy had reached out via social media (because that’s the type of girl I am). I didn’t keep secrets. The ex didn’t care because obviously the guy’s in Spain and not a threat to him. So, occasionally we would chat via social media.
When the ex left, I called him in Spain and told him what had happened. You must understand that back in the day, I thought we were going to marry. I thought I’d move to Spain to be with him, but I got cold feet. I didn’t want to be so far away from my family. He said he understood and later told me that he wasn’t the marrying kind.
But I went back to visit Spain a few years ago after the divorce. I told him when I was arriving and we made a date to go out. I saw him in the plaza outside of my hotel. I knew it was him even though I hadn’t seen him in almost 30 years. I knew his walk and mannerisms. So I stayed seated on the bench while he was on the phone walking in circles. When he finished the call, he looked around the plaza and when we locked eyes, I got up and started to walk towards him. He opened his arms wide and kept walking until I got up to him and then he held me in an embrace for at least five minutes. We kissed each other’s cheek, he reached for my hand and we began walking to a nearby restaurant, talking as if we’d not been apart for years. It was HUGELY romantic.
I spent the week seeing him while I was there. It was delightful, magical and wonderful. But I had a life here and he there and while I think now, I could have lived in his world, he could not have lived in mine.
Fast foward to since I last saw him and he still calls once or twice a month. We talk. He tells me how much he still loves me and I feel similarly. But things aren’t changing. There’s a love there that remains, an understanding and a connection. But our lives are so different that it remains a long, lost love. And I’m at peace with it. My kids are here and I don’t see me moving to Spain even after they move out.
In a poignant moment while we talking on the phone, I asked if I had returned to Spain so many decades ago, if he thought perhaps we would have married. He told me that there were no regrets because he’s not the marrying kind. He’s still unmarried. He went on to remind me that what we have is special and precious. And I agree. I love my kids and I wouldn’t have had them otherwise.
That week with him after 30 years apart was like a Hallmark movie except this girl got back on the plane to return home without him. But it’s ok. It was worth the memories we made.