Ooooh ... you're a handsome devil. What's your name?

The Pjammer Chronicles

I have more hit points than you could possibly imagine.

Tuesday, June 26th, 2001
Diarist Award Winner: Best Romantic Entry
Saturday, 8:30 pm.

I'm lost in old memories, tipsy on old wine, with a glass in my hand and a heart full of sorrow. I’m drinking tonight. I’m drinking to the magic we’ll never make. To the kisses we will never share. To the nights I’ll never feel her breath on my ear as we sleep in the quiet hours before dawn. I’m at a wedding of two old college friends that I drove hundreds of miles to witness. My mood should be celebratory, but fool that I am, took a detour a few hours earlier to visit an old flame. Like summer rain sweeping everything in its wake, memories of sweet yesterdays pour forth as I walk the chapel steps outside the reception hall.

It’s cold tonight. Clouds roll in the night sky slashing the empty canvas of stars above me with streaks of curling gray vapor-trails, illuminated by a silver gibbous moon.

Old Ghosts

How does any tale of misfortune and loss begin? It begins when we least expect it, neh? It begins in winter four years ago - back in my final year in college - back in my happier yesterdays when the future was so pregnant with possibility.

Garrison Keillor once said, when asked if it was appropriate for a girl to kiss on the first date: "You should never go out on a date with anyone you didn’t want to kiss in the first twenty minutes."

But is it possible to connect deeply within a brief encounter? It's rare, but it can happen. Naïve and gullible people call it "love at first sight," but that’s not quite right. The more accurate description of that experience is ‘synchronicity of idiosyncrasies’; that recognition when you see significant pieces of yourself reflected in the soul of another - pieces that you believed all your life you’d never see in anyone other than yourself. It’s a wondrous, giddy feeling and a joy you hope you can hold close to you forever.

And, during winter 1997, this is when I met Caroline. Caroline with the broad friendly smile and gorgeous dimples, Caroline with the spirited tenderness and cheerful optimism, Caroline with the fiercely brilliant mind and an admission letter to one of the top medical schools in the nation, Caroline with a role as my spouse in a drama production we were both a part of.

Within minutes of meeting, she verbally tore into me - shredding the façade I wear to the world, playfully poking and bantering as if we old friends ... and I responded in kind. And oh, the energy of the exchange - rapid-fire dialogue shifting between English and Mandarin was like some deranged sweeps-week-quality multilingual episode of "Friends." Sharp wit, beautiful smile, bilingual Chinese speaker, and the fact that our very first encounter paired us up as a married couple.

Synchronicity? You're soaking in it.

Heaven have mercy on fools, I was smitten.

And the sun shone brightly on us in the weeks that followed - near-daily encounters for conversation (always great conversation) and shared meals, and talks from the serious and complex, to the absurd and silly, talks that regularly draw past the midnight hours. And that smile - that dimpled smile that lights up a room. And in my giddiness I told her a story I kept close to my heart all these years.

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Mood: melancholy

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