Life, Love, People, Poetry

Better Loves Than We Had

(About a 2 minute read)

You were all of sixteen and uncommonly
Beautiful the year we met at the coffee shop.
Seems like you stood there for fifteen
Minutes grinning at me before your brother
Introduced us.

Mostly I remember how friendly you were
From the start, that you held yourself
Erect like a fighter, and had a light tan.

Nothing uncommon about you except
Your beauty could have knock down
An eagle from the sky,
Or raised one up to soar.

A year later we were hanging out
Daily at the shop, and all the boys
Would come by who knew me,
To sit with me to sit with you.

How many dreams did you share
With me back then before noon?
How many garage sales did we surf
By dinnertime each day?
How many times did you insist
We tango down the sidewalk
To the end of the block and back?
How many cartwheels did you turn
In the rain for me that summer?
How many times did we tell people
That you and I were “just friends”?

One Christmas you came by my work
With mistletoe from Black Forest
To hang above our heads
So we had an excuse to kiss in public.
Old and young, we needed an excuse
I guess.

I recall we kissed a dozen times.

The night you came to my place —
Seems strange now
You’d never been over before —
We shared a few beers,
You sat cross-legged on the carpet,
Your skirt up revealing no panties,
And I sat in my kitchen chair.

I rose up towards midnight
I needed to pee. You sprang
From the floor taking me
Full in your arms. “Paul, I love you!
I always have. I always have loved you,
I’ve cared.”

But when I returned from the bathroom,
You were gone.

It was never the same afterwards
I never figured out at all
What had gone or was going
Through your head.

I hear from your brother
You’re doing well these days
Up North with your own practice.
I wish you no less than a good life,
And better loves than we had.

10 thoughts on “Better Loves Than We Had”

  1. Such a touching look back. Lots of very sweet lines in this piece, too. Upon reading it, one gets the impression of a very kind presence/voice.


  2. Putting myself in her place, I’d say that your protagonist knew that if she didn’t leave, disappointment would follow. I’m not referring to any clumsy act of seduction on your part, or the resulting, no doubt laughable efforts at sexual congress – though I shudder to think of the mess you’d make of that; I’d be surprised if you know your way around a woman’s body, let alone which bits you are meant to employ for the purpose of mutual physical satisfaction which lifts you skyward in an explosive moment of…

    Sorry, Paul, I got a bit lost in my… you know. I have a serious point to make, one which occurs to me since your poem brought echoes of my life. She declares undying love and she leaves at the high point, before you commit to – or admit to – a relationship. A relationship where weaknesses, differences of opinion and odd quirks cease to be charming and become irritants, where quarrels ensue, followed by making up, leaving just a little resentment to stew each time.

    Better to walk away with the dream still intact, than to stay and watch it smash.

    It worked for me. There were times when my dream was the only thing that allowed me to feel loved.

    I hear passionate love songs, read rhymes where the author declares undying love that will only grow stronger in time, and I think “Wait till you’ve lived together for a couple of years, pal.” Yes, I’m a cynic, but just occasionally, I see an elderly couple walking along the street holding hands. I’ll see the secret they share, and I feel happy to know that sometimes love survives the daily grind of marriage.


    1. You know, Jane, you might be right about her. Perhaps the one significant detail I left out of the poem and that young lady — apart from the fact she was a genuine rocket scientist brainwise — was that she was married. Got married about midway through my knowing her.

      Here’s the thing: The marriage fell apart immediately. The two didn’t hate each other or fight or anything like that. But the just quit talking almost within days of getting married. Might have had something to do with the reason they married — she got pregnant, you see. Had a daughter that got sent to the school’s genius program.

      Despite it all, she got her both her undergraduate and her master’s degrees while raising her daughter and is now a therapist. I think she specializes in depression — depression being the affliction that her mother, and her two brilliant brothers had. But not her.

      Anyway, I’m thinking, “Jane might be right. She was smart enough and knowledgeable enough both to know where a relationship between us would go.”

      By the way, you flatter me with your over-estimate of my sexual prowess. I’m blushing.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Love the line “To sit with me to sit with you.” Very touching piece, and I think many people can relate to that “just friends” struggle.


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