I met Luke on my first day of classes. Prior to this entry, we’d been together, give or take a few brief break-ups, for 18 months – my longest relationship ever at that time. Our friends expected us to get married. Our parents prayed we wouldn’t. He was so much a part of me, I feared I’d shatter without him.
Although Luke was an art major, he was as much a writer as I was; he kept voluminous journals in spiral-bound notebooks. We talked about movies, literature and life for hours. On the day we met, we talked for 11 hours straight. He was a year ahead of me in school with a natural air of authority. I took everything he said as gospel.
His help with the play was invaluable – there wouldn’t have been a play without him. He didn’t stop there. He had no interest in learning Swedish, but he drilled me on my Swedish vocabulary anyway. He’d already read the classic Greek plays, but he read them again – aloud, with me – which brought them to life. He didn’t write my papers, but he read them and offered suggestions to go deeper.
We were college students with few responsibilities and endless hours to get to know each other. It got harder in post-UCLA real life. It takes time to trust people, let alone get close to them. It’s probably no coincidence I met my husband of 41 years when we were in college (he was in law school, I was in grad school). We were young and free with hours of free time to spend together. With every passing year since then, when hit with life’s inevitable disappointments and betrayals, I bolster my defenses. That’s not to say I’m a rock or an island, as in the famous Simon and Garfunkel song. Family life with three children forces me to be flexible.
Luke and I didn’t have that glue to keep us together. We could walk away from each other and never look back – and we did. We haven’t spoken or seen each other for decades. We loved each other once. How did it go so wrong?
Anais Nin writes,
I don’t disagree – but each death is a little bit different. I’ll dissect this demise in future diary blogs. Do I sound cold and cynical? That’s to hide the hurt. Don’t get me wrong, I believe my life worked out the way it was meant to. I love the man I’m married to and wouldn’t have it any other way. Still, even after all these years, I miss what Luke and I had, I miss the way we were. Maybe I miss the girl I used to be.