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First Love, New Perspective

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Old 05-21-2007, 09:38 AM
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Default First Love, New Perspective

Leslie Frick was my high school girlfriend who broke my heart.

The other day I read Leslie's biography at Classmates.com and she sounds like a very happy woman. This news had an unexpected effect on me: instead of sour grapes, I felt genuinely happy for her.

I confess I was bitter about Leslie all my life, but reading her bio somehow purged me of that feeling. Her father convinced her to break up with me in high school and I think I understand why for the first time. Like me, he realized Leslie was a very special girl and he wanted only the best for her. I understand why I didn't look anything like the best prospect to him when I was 17. To be painfully honest, I wasn't even close.

Leslie was the All American girl who has lived the American Dream. In India she would be called a Brahmin, a member of the highest class both economically and spiritually. She is a descendent of Henry Clay Frick, a late-19th century Pennsylvania coal mine and steel tycoon who hobnobbed with Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.

Leslie transferred from a Catholic school to my high school and at first she had no friends except me. But later she became a cheerleader who was very popular. Although she wasn't the most beautiful girl in our school, she was attractive in an athletic sort of way and she had a special quality that everyone soon recognized. I fell head over heels in love with her and I was ecstatic when she returned my feelings.

According to her biography, Leslie earned a college degree and she has been married to same man for decades. They had two children who are grown now. Leslie and her husband live in a country home in rural Pennsylvania where she keeps horses and cats.

She says she has accomplished more in her life than she ever thought she would -- but not more than I thought she would. She was more intelligent than me and I always knew she would be a success in life.

As a wife, she would have been ideal for me because we like the same things: literature, movies and theater, music, gardening and nature activities like hiking, camping and fishing. Her current friends describe her as cheerful and easy-going. She was exactly like that when I knew her in high school. She balanced my negative side, providing the yin for the yang in my personality.

But we just weren't meant to be together and I think I can finally accept it. No matter how much people wish they were in control of who they love and how things turn out, that isn't the way life works.

Leslie was my first love and I guess part of me still loves her and always will. I know I loved her more than the woman I married. As a tribute to Leslie, I dedicated my first published book to her.

I'm very glad she has had a dream life. Since I realize she wouldn't have been as happy married to me, I'm grateful she found someone else to make her happier than I ever could have. When you love someone, you want the best for them. Leslie's father felt that way and so do I now.

"The earth was made round so we can't see too far down the road and know what is coming." -- Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa
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