“The power of love is a curious thing…” – Huey Lewis
Not that I need to tell you this, but Huey nailed it.
In the case of me and C.D. it not only led me to call her, a lot, talking about absolutely nothing. It also led me to “miss” my bus home from school and walk all the way down to where she lived and stand outside in the cold and snow until she saw me “walking by” and called out to me to come in. In short, it kept me faithfully devoted to someone who clearly had no interest in me being faithful or devoted. Looking back I think she thought of me as a good friend who was slightly disturbed and unusually attentive. Or weird.
Sadly this wasn’t an isolated incident in my junior high / high school experience.
A few years after I was released from C.D.s orbit I was infatuated with another girl, another good friend. She had a, uh, a way about her. In this case it was a little easier for me to keep my distance because she had a boyfriend and her picture was next to the word “fidelity” in the dictionary. Plus he was older, bigger and could kick my butt. But the proof of my infatuation and the awesome power of love was the day I let her talk me into buying, and therefore having to wear since she liked it, a pink shirt. Try being in the “Fine Arts Club” at school, wearing a pink shirt and not being tortured. Ah, love.
C.D. finally took a drastic step that completely changed our relationship. She moved hundreds of miles away to Chicago, Illinois. Well, she didn’t do it on her own, her dad took a job there and she moved with him, her sister and their mom. Sometimes I wondered what I would’ve done if it had been my dad who got the job transfer. Would I have found a way to stay put, move in with a friend and do the next 3 years of High School away from my family but near C.D.? Probably not. I say that with some conviction only because I didn’t follow her to Chi-town and take up residence in the crawl space or attic of her house.
We did keep in touch though. Not many phone calls but the odd letter now and then. Well, mine were odd, her letters were normal but friendly and full of details of her new life in the windy city.
Over the next couple of years there were other targets for my affection, a couple requited, some left unexpressed, a few more of the unrequited variety. But through them all I maintained connections with C.D. She’d occasionally mention a guy but, to her credit, never made a big deal about guys she liked or dating. The truth was that the most infatuating thing about her to me was that she laughed at my attempts to be funny. That never changed and over time I talked to her about everything and by the time I made it to grade 12 she was one of my best friends in the world. She was someone I shared history and secrets with, someone with whom I could be completely myself with and from whom I felt total acceptance.
Distance, in this case, had made the heart grow fonder, but the unrequited love had turned into a requited friendship and the whole boyfriend/girlfriend thing seemed like a crazy idea to me.
And then I went to visit her in Chicago.
…to be continued…