Eileen was a gorgeous, wide eyed , college freshman when I met her in 1969. Being the noble fellow that I was, I volunteered to show her around campus during orientation week.
Later during that week, we joined a bunch of students on an evening hayride on a farm outside of town. While on the hayride, we snuggled to keep warm in the crisp evening air, and shared a bottle of Boone’s Farm wine. As we burrowed into the hay, we gently kissed.
Oh God, I was so in love.
Our magical relationship grew. We signed up for several of the same courses, studied together, ate our meals together, went to the movies, and shared wonderful moments of intimacy when possible. We went to countless concerts, both near and far away.
Incredibly, as she grew older, she became more attractive. And other men noticed, and hit on her.
The magic went on for two years. But at the two year point, I came to realize that things were a bit different. Some of the magic was lost. Less hand holding, less eye contact, excuses made to do things separately.
What I did not know, but soon found out, was that she was intensely attracted to my friend Pete.
Pete was a happy go lucky big old country boy, very handsome, with deep set blue eyes. Girls fell all over him. And he gladly bedded them all, but usually just for one night, and then he would move on.
So Eileen said to me the dreaded words that no one wants to hear, “We’ve got to talk.”
I don’t remember most of the conversation, but I do remember her saying the incredible breakup line, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
I was completely devastated. Didn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, played dozens of heart breaky songs on my stereo.
Within days, Eileen made her move on Pete, and spent the night with him. I know this because, incredibly, Pete told me. After Pete spent the night with her, he tossed her aside.
But Eileen would not give up. She engaged in a very public campaign to win Pete’s heart.
Knowing Pete like I did, I knew she did not stand a chance. One night was all that Pete ever offered. But I wouldn’t say this to her. She had to find out for herself.
After a couple of months, Eileen gave up on Pete.
At that time, I was working as a ‘milk runner’ at one of the college cafeterias .
I was making up a big bowl of salad, and looked up, and Eileen was standing before me.
She told me that she had been giving it a lot of thought, and she came to the conclusion that we should get back together.
I simply said, “No”.
No explanation, no “How could you have done this to me?”, nothing.
And she walked away, for what turned out to be forever.
Now to be honest, half of all college kids could tell the same story. Many of you have had similar experiences.
For me, it’s been 44 years, and I don’t think about it often. But I did think about it today.