Come Hither: Moving On After a Loss (Pt 1)

If you live long enough you’ll realize that finding a special love is no easy feat. When we come across that man or woman that makes our days brighter it never crosses our minds that the day would ever come when they are no longer there at our side.

A loss, no matter how inconsequential, is a trauma on the human psyche. An unexpected loss can make a person’s feelings of security and stability feel deeply and suddenly threatened. Confusion, anger and an overall distrust of one’s perception can cause some people to never be the same again.

In life, things can and do change drastically, but what do you do when you’ve experienced a loss of love, or the loss of a loved one and it feels like you don’t want to go on alone?

I’ve had plenty of losses, so when I tell you that I understand dam near any and every situation that may be the cause of your hurt, please believe I’ve earned the ability to mean what I say.

From the heart wrenching to the innocently contrite, I know your struggle, and there have been many. My very first blow occurred during my Freshman year of high school, his name was Andrew Wrigley, but everyone called him Puffy.

He was the first guy who I put aside my introverted and shy demeanor to pursue. Like others, I had been told that a girl should never chase a guy, and that they’re supposed to chase you.

Leaving my desires up to another person to satisfy not only seemed passive, it also seemed quite stupid to me. Once I came to this conclusion, I had a decision to make, sit still and wait or pounce?

I liked him. I liked to have what I want and I am a taker. Spoiled by my father, and aware that a little thought and leg work can create opportunities, I set off to investigate Project Puffy. He lived nearby, hung out with mutual friends of mine, and had two or three other girls vying for his attention.

Once I figured out who he hung around, it wasn’t long before I also found out that he rode dirt bikes under the Pulaski Sky way over pass. I knew about the bike trail back there, I had heard about it, and located it and had ridden some of the trail. The local boys weren’t too keen on having a girl back there showing her ability to do what they considered ‘boy stuff’ but my bike was just as fly, and I could trick on it just as hard as any of them could.

I dusted off my bike in search of my future husband. It took about a week of riding my bike up and down certain streets before I found him, we played a game of catch, after some taunting on my part. He chased me and copied my bike tricks one by one; sweat poured from brow and I pumped and pedaled my way into his line of sight.

Fast forward…..we’re a couple and so far, so good. I’ve met his mother, and he’s met my parents, including my father who nodded his greeting to him as he threaded past us on his way up the stairs of our apartment building. We were together every available minute of every available day that we could spare.

Soul mates or best friends, don’t ask, I don’t know.

A lot happened that summer we were together, we were really close and had so much fun together bike riding and playing hand ball with random groups of people in the neighborhood. It seems like my tomboy activities always came in handy when it came to guys; I can do what boys do, and so we do these things together while my female competition would stay mad on the side lines watching. I played hard and gave everyone a run for their money, guys knew me by name, and they knew I was Puffy’s girl.

One of our favorite things to do was lay on our backs in the park, while using the midnight sky to guide our thoughts of what life is like when two people are in love, when you’re not someone’s kid, and you have money and freedom. We wondered about adult things, but it was all so far away back then. How could he find a job to help support his mother, how could we make money so we could be together and get married later on?

I fell victim to an incident with a he said/she said that involved Puffy and a few of the local girls, without even taking what he had to say into consideration, I believed what I heard and gave up a dramatic performance over my hurt feelings and bruised ego. At about the same time, my name was suddenly attached to a local guy whom I had only had a public conversation with.

Suddenly, Puffy and I no longer felt the urge to locate each other. Something changed between us, and I’m still not sure of what.

Life moved on, and though I had other guys, no one could make me feel like Puffy did. I would think of him from time to time and wonder where he was in life. I regretted flying off the handle, and I wished I had at least listened to his explanation of the rumors.

It had been so long and so many things had changed. If he had come around to look for me, we had moved. Our phone number had also changed, the friends who we knew mutually had scattered in the wind since we had graduated from grammar school and moved on to different towns, high schools and states.

I never thought I would see him again until one day my mother and I were driving to our local grocery store located ‘at a place called ‘the Hill’ section of Jersey City.

She was pulling off and just about to turn a corner when a familiar face caught my eye. I had caught the eye of the familiar face as well, .002 seconds of recognition caused me to fall prey to my impulse control.

Without thinking, I opened the door while in a moving car, and hit the ground running in the opposite direction. I ran in the direction of the familiar face.

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