Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Long Lost Loves

This past summer, Kate and Jane and I watched a lot of movies.
We started with Tarzan one night and kind of challenged ourselves to watch every Disney movie we could. I finally saw Tangled and Brave and Matt finally saw Frozen.
In between Disney movies, we watched the movie version of plays to prepare ourselves for Les Miserables, on Broadway.
We watched Evita (for the 10th time) and Grease and Les Miserables, of course. 
We also watched the Fantastiks.
Oh, I love love love The Fantastiks.
The name of my blog is a reference from a Fantastiks song that didn't make the movie version.

I've only seen it performed once, it was playing in NYC last summer, but I didn't know of it until the last night of the show. 
Matt took me to see it in the outdoor theater at Sundance. I'd had it on DVD for years. (Joey from the NKOTB plays the lead and he is still so very cute.)

If you've never seen it, it follows the tale of the young Luisa and Matt, neighbors whose fathers hate each other- a fact that fuels the romantic hopeless love between the two of them.
They live each day writing poems and living in a fantasy world of the day they can be wild and free and in love forever and ever. 
Little do they know that their fathers do not hate each other, and they've been scheming to get the two kids to fall in love. The feud is the perfect foil. When they believe the kids are so in love that the timing is right for the feud to end, they hire a man from a traveling carnival to pretend to kidnap Luisa, so Matt can rescue her and be her hero for always.
Crisis solved, damsel rescued, Luisa and Matt can begin their life together, but they quickly find out that real life is the end of the dream. They are both real people with flaws, weaknesses and even....gasp...bad breath. 
Luisa goes running to the exciting and dangerous villain, who, in the kidnapping- thrilled her and excited her. 
Matt goes to retrieve her and finds that his belief that he was a hero was all folly and he's nobody. 
How does it all end? 
Ah, Spoilers. 
See it for yourself. 

At one point, Luisa sings a song about the romantic dream life she will one day have and it will include her being a the kind of girl who is "kissed on the eyes."

When I watch this play/DVD, I smile and think of myself when I was so much younger and I lived such a life in my head. 
I remember being that girl and I remember the boy who first kissed me on the eyes. 

Today, for some reason, I was thinking about that boy and decided to Google him and see what he grew up to be. 
It was 1987. I was 14. He was 16.
His name was Todd.
I was too young to be kissing a boy, but he was so handsome.  
He was troubled and moody and new.
 I was naive and young and so insecure. I'd never been noticed by a boy before and Todd was like something out of a fairy tale to the blank slate of a heart I was wearing those days.
He'd tell me I was beautiful, he'd tell me that one day I could get away from po-dunk Idaho and have a different life. He'd talk about how sad he felt and how much anger he had towards his dad. He'd rest his head on my shoulder and sing "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling" softly to me because he was obsessed with Top Gun and Tom Cruise. We watched "Legend" together and he told me that I was  Lili and he was Jack and even though I was trapped in a nightmare life, I'd make it right and I'd escape the evil trolls and my future would full of light and magic. He told me to seek fairy tales and follow fairies and sprites, whatever form they came to me.  He said I could go anywhere, I could go to California or I could go to New York and I could leave Meridian, Idaho behind. 
And I believed every word. 
He'd trace the lines on my hand and stare at me, saying nothing. 
And he was so handsome.
 He played football at another school, he was tall, blond and blue eyed and I could not figure out why he chose me, but I also spent a lot of time in a dream, just thinking "Todd held my hand all day and he kissed my fingertips......" 
One night, he took my face in his hands and kissed me on the eyes.
Oh, that Luisa knew what she was talking about. 
That was it for me and I would close my bedroom door at night and sing "I feel pretty" and wanted time to stop forever.
But it doesn't, and when time ran out he left my life and I never saw him again. 
My heart ached, the ugly, jagged wound kind of pain that seems to accompany those relationships that never had the chance to experience the mundane, the flaws and the bad breath.
We ended it because at that time, neither of our parents were going to let us be together and when you are young, in the world before the Internet- distance ends things and you lose people forever.
It was a dark season of my life and I wasn't really okay afterwards.

As I mentioned, I believed the things he said to me and knowing he was lost to me, I put them in my secret place in my heart, buried them deep, but safe. Treasured up and made holy.
 I look back now, and I see that I spent every day of my life after that, getting away from Idaho.  
My family moved, I grew up and had children and divorces and bad years and fat years. I had beautiful seasons where everything was perfect and fell in love with the man who makes every other man I have ever known seem as dull as a dirty nickel.
Matt outshines them all, and I am happy, unreasonably happy.
 Love and loss, sickness, health, joy and sorry.
 More good days than bad, even though those bad days are sometimes so bad. 
And every day, I have created more distance between my life and that nightmare I lived in as a kid. 
It would appear to be a completely foreign, alien world to my children.
I made things right, or at least, I did the best that I could.
And I went to California, I went to New York. 
I choose the man who tells me I am beautiful every day and who also once kissed me on the eyes. 

And what became of my Google Search on Todd?

Todd died three years ago.
He stayed handsome and affectionate and he kept writing poetry.
He had two children, one is Zane's age, the other, younger than Romy.
 He had two divorces and never left that suffocating town he was living in. He had never believed he could leave, he told me he'd never get out but I...I could fly away.

And oh, the things I have seen from my view, soaring through the clouds, my friend. 

He never could have known how the things he said to me, the way he treated me and loved me changed me. I never thought much about it myself, but it caused me to make a slight course adjustment that changed the entire life journey for me.  It was he who first planted the seeds of challenging the world I lived in and making a new life for myself, so different from the one I knew as a kid. I lived believing that above all else, life was a changing thing and that even though those changes can be hard and break your heart- there is so much joy to be found in taking giant leaps of faith and in seeing things differently, in living the life YOU want and chasing sparklies. 

Today, I'm going to lie in my bed and cry some of those tears I saved up in my heart from when I was a younger girl.
 There is a new, jagged tear in my soul and and even though I tell myself it's absurd, it still hurts to know that the his story is over.  I have yet to see the beauty in death and every single time, it feels like a sucker punch. I know as I grow older, it will happen again and again and I don't know how I'm going to deal with that.  It feels horrible. It makes me cry and today, with the rain pouring down and the skies appropriately gray as far as the eye can see- I am crying, but I am also thinking of what I will do when I take my next running leap with Matt.

Goodbye, Old Friend that I lost so long ago. 
Try to remember, and if you remember then follow.

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