why i googled my first love (a valentine's day confession)

I have a confession. I spent a few minutes this morning, on Valentine’s Day of all days, looking up the first boy I thought I loved. A little embarrassing. But really enlightening.

Twenty-five years later, I still think of him occasionally. Not because he was the one that got away. Not because I’m unhappy in my marriage (quite happy, thank you!). But because I always hoped he found the good in him.

On the surface, we were polar opposites. He was Danny Zucco, I was Sandra Dee. Classic tale of the good girl falling for the bad boy as she looks into his sparkling brown eyes and sees straight into his soul…kind, wounded, craving love. I know, I know. Soooo cheesy.

But totally true. 

The cards were stacked against that boy and, deep down, he knew it. His family life was chaotic. School work was a struggle. He was in trouble far more than he wasn’t. I wondered, even at 14, how and if he’d rise above it all.

We were sitting together on the school bus, heading home, when he quietly told me I was too good for him.

I can still feel the bounce of the bus, the hard green plastic of the seat beneath us, the whir of kids screaming and laughing around us. Time stopped for a second. My heart ached. At first, I thought, I didn’t want to be too good for him; I wanted to be just right. Maybe even dim my light to meet his. But no, I knew even then that wouldn’t be fair to me…or him. So instead, I wished I could prove him wrong and convince him of his goodness. I wanted him to thrive, to hang on to the sparkle in his eyes.

The next day, he wasn’t at school. Nor the next. He and his family had suddenly moved, and no one knew where or why. Despite the hurt, it was a great gift from the universe: I had no choice but to move on. And yet I must admit, I’ve wondered on and off over the years, if the sweet soul beneath that bad boy exterior managed to find the good within and thrive.

My angels and guides nudged me to finally look him up today, 25 years later.

It only took 30 seconds to find him on Facebook and just a couple of minutes to get up to speed, to see that the road for him has, indeed, been tough and troubled. But there are recent posts about new beginnings, new choices, a new path. There are messages from people who love him and are inspired by him, including his kids. And there are pictures that reveal there’s still a sparkle in his eyes. I was surprised by the relief I felt over this, over knowing he’s finding his way to something better, in his own time.

I am reminded today of this wisdom – soul balm for me – that Spirit shared during Into the Light:

“You do not know what another’s life is meant to be or do. Some are brought here for a short time to create ripples in your stream, waves big enough to push you forward or change your course. Others are a steady force in your life, companions in rivers that flow parallel to yours. And there are others who thrash in the water, seem to crash into you at times, riding recklessly through their lives. They are each on a journey that you cannot control, no matter how much you feel you love them, even if you despise their choices. The tragedy is not in how they live their life, but in whether you stop your own flow in an attempt to rescue them from themselves. Neither of you is rescued, but rather both of you are pushed off course.”

I didn’t know this at 14. Sometimes, I forget it at 39. This morning, I wasn’t sure why I felt guided to Google the name of the first boy I thought I loved…but now I am. I needed what I found today; to tie up loose ends in my heart and let my 14-year-old self off the hook, erasing her sense of responsibility for anyone’s path but her own.

I am too good for that. We all are.