several weeks ago i went home to attend a concert. my ex is a bass player and the band he was in when we dated 20 years ago was holding their reunion concert. he set aside two tickets for me and in anticipation of seeing this man after probably 15 years i hopped a flight, picked up my wingwoman (thank god for friends who will support you), and off we went.
we sat off to the right about 4 rows back and a couple in front of us spoke to a gentleman behind us. they both indicated they knew the bass player. it dawned on me that the man behind me was the guitar player from the church i attended so many years ago; he and my ex played in the church band along with several other musicians. i smiled. he had fans and i was of them.
these men hadn’t played together in decades, had one pseudo practice, and set the stage alight. it was surreal to see him on stage after decades of not having seen him at all. we’ve spoken via phone a dozen times in the last decade always saying how we’ll connect when i’m home or him saying he’ll come to visit. but this time was different. i cannot explain the emotions i felt looking at the band on stage, remembering the gigs they played, venues, his complaints about their lack of timeliness. our history was spooling like yarn before me and i was…not nervous, but uncertain about our reunion.
during the break the band exited the stage and i watched as people embraced him and he beamed with joy at the reception. i waited. finally he saw me. a grin broke across his face and standing there in the center of the aisle we embraced. we just held each other, suspended, for over a minute no words passed between us, but so much was said in that embrace. i love you, i miss you, i can’t believe you’re here, it’s been too long, remember when…without words we spoke volumes as we stood there arms wrapped tightly around each other. breaking our reverie, i whispered to him, i wouldn’t have missed this for the world. he leaned back, grabbed my hands and said, oh my god, it is SO good to see you, and pulled me close again. we chatted, laughed, and just basked in our reunion.
there is nothing like your first love. it matters not how you broke up, who ended it, or why. when the space between “the end” and “the present” is crowded with lessons, uncertainty, exploration, happiness, disappointment, and self-acceptance, the moment of reconnection is a shared understanding, knowing that the other person is not who you remember but is still familiar and you love them all the same.
after year of silence he reached out to me on facebook. it was december 2011 and the message caught me flat-footed. we talked then of a reunion, of this bear hug he would envelop me in, of cutting up in whatever city we met in. 7 years later we went back to where it all began. i smile at our youth, at the lessons, and at the adults we have become. he will always be my first love and i will always be his babe.