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Ode to a once adored girl, a romantic remembrance
"Michelle, ma belle, sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble". The immortal John Lennon and Paul McCartney song didn't come out until 1965. By that time, you and I had long parted ways. And even though the lyrics were not part of the same time capsule as our personal melody, they couldn't have been more appropriate. Your name is Michelle. "Ma belle", beautiful you certainly were, and I would like to think you still are. And once you were mine. So Paul and John were right, these are words that go together well. Just like you and I did...
I don't remember how or when you entered our small, rather exclusive circle of friends. One day, I looked around and you just happened to be there. It wasn't love at first sight either. You grew on me and it took a while before I really opened my eyes. But when It finally happened, I really liked what I saw. Do you know you're just about the only blonde I was ever really attracted to ? Of course you don't, how could you ? What I remember very vividly, though, is what made me fall for you : everything ! Your petite size, your elegance (I always thought you dressed better than any other girl), your long blond hair that you would sometimes wear down so it would reach your waist, your silhouette admirably proportioned. Your beautiful, loving green eyes and the way you looked at me. And of course, all of your specifically feminine attributes. But most of all, like nearly everybody who crossed path with you, I fell for your adorable angel face and your unending kindness. I remember thinking of you, many times, and with fondness, as a perfectly scaled down version of a woman. Because no matter how we look at it now, we were still children in many ways.
One day, I took your hand. Another time I kissed you. You kissed me in return. Then we kissed each other. Much later, I fondled your breasts. You never stopped me. You would have done anything for me. Anything ! I know that much. If I had asked, you would have given yourself to me, without any reservation. It would be nice to think that I never asked out of respect for you, but we both know it'd be a lot of bull. It didn't happen because at the time I was too shy, not because I didn't want to. How romantic ! We attended the same school so everyday, twice a day, we would ride the same bus, as we also lived in the same hometown, some eight miles away from school. Life was simple then, and for the most part worry free. After school, we'd hang out, walk and talk, go to a quaint cafe together, and always kiss a lot. I liked your mouth, always fresh as a mountain spring, and your vivacious tongue felt like a wild trout. Sometimes, we'd go to your home where we would spent the afternoon all alone, listening to music. On week-ends, there always was some party to go to, and we danced together. I liked dancing with you, both your hands resting on my shoulders, your head cherishingly nestled on my chest. I remember some of your clothes. You had a black skirt , a straight one stopping just above the knee. I loved when you wore it, especially with one of those contrasting thin woolly sweaters that made your breasts stick out. You looked so grown up then and it made me feel so much like the man I aspired to be. You had another skirt I remember, an ample pleated one, which I didn't really like on you. But whenever you wore it, I was able to slide my hand under it without anybody noticing. That's how I know you wouldn't have stopped me if I had expressed the desire to go further. We could have lived like that forever. I was happy, you told me you were. I loved you and you adored me. But the best of blue skies eventually gives way to the darkest clouds.
One day, I spotted another girl, and I looked at her. She gave me the doe eye and that's all my young ego needed for the peacock to ruffle his feathers. So, I started hanging out with her, just the way I had done with you. And little by little, one day after the other, I spent less and less time with you, and more and more with her. Eventually, I stopped seeing you completely. I know we were young and this kind of behaviour had to be expected. It happened to pretty much everybody and I didn't even think twice at the time. After all, it had been done to me before. Which makes it even worse, because I knew it hurt like hell. To make a short story shorter, I broke your heart, that's all there is to it. It took me a long time to realize what I had done to you. And when I did, I wasn't proud of myself. I mean, let's call a cat a cat : I had been a complete fatuous jerk, and no pathetic excuse or explanation could ever make up for it. And it has not. I mean, I was your first love, you told me so, and a first love you never forget. But I hope you did, as I don't want you to remember the pain I have inflicted you, a pain that I could see in your eyes, a pain that was reported to me by your girl friends, a pain that had no justification, but over all, a pain I was solely responsible for. So I know you didn't forget me ! How could you ?
It wasn't until I had reached adulthood, or at least the appearance of it, that I started looking back and really feel the extent of the damage I had done. I tried to fool myself thinking you had moved on, as I'm sure you have, but what kind of first love is that to remember ? With the advent of the internet, I started to look for you, but to this day, I still have no clue of what became of you. Please just be all right, wherever you are. I only hope that in spite of the cruel false start you experienced with me, your life so far has been a good one, because you certainly deserved it. I would like, someday, to sit down with you the way we used to do and I promise this time I'd keep my hands to myself. I would just like to spend maybe an hour with you and tell you face to face, looking you in the eye, how sorry I am, how sorry I have been for all these years...Do you know that I wrote a story about us. Of course, I changed the names to protect the innocents we no longer are. The story picks up where we left off, but with a twenty years gap. We meet again by accident as adults, and fall in love anew. And in the story, you forgive me for the wrong I have done you. I wonder if life imitates fiction or if it is the other way around ? Two years ago, they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening of our school, and it was a big affair. I was in France at the time, but didn't find out about it until I came back, so I didn't attend, but I looked at the picures online and talked to several former students : you weren't there.
Somewhere, deep inside, there is a small part of me that will always love you, in spite of everything. But a part big enough not to be ignored. We're not getting any younger, so I hope I'll see you around...Michelle, ma belle ! These could have been words that went together so well, if only...
Copyright 2012 by Austinhealy, his heirs and assigns
- The Power of Two, a short story inspired by life
One person alone can change a lot of things. But when two men who don't even know each other and live thousands of miles apart team up, they can pull a miracle.