Love, Young Love
His name was John and he was visiting from England. He had twinkling blue eyes and a slow, easy grin. He was absolutely gorgeous. I was in my mid-twenties and I was living in Boston; I was in-between apartments and ended up staying at a local inn. One night there was a knock on my door, it was Barbara, the Manager of the Inn inviting me to dinner in her downstairs apartment. Barbara was an amazing cook and soon we became best friends. We ate huge, Italian meals by ourselves or with an expanded set of friends. We laughed, we partied; Barbara would sing for us with her rich and beautiful voice; we watched ice-skating together and ate fabulous home-cooked meals. During the day, after my work, Barbara and I clutched each other as we skated on the frozen sidewalks picking out French pastries for dessert. In a short time we all had become each others’ family.
One day she introduced me to a young man named John, from England, who was staying at the Inn. Barbara, kind of heart and spirit, always invited “orphans” for dinner. I met John and I didn’t like him, and he didn’t like me either. We fought and argued and disagreed about most everything. Apparently when the fighting was bad, Barbara asked our friend Steven (known as Stella to his close friends) if she should separate us at the dinner table. Apparently, Steven, sensing something, said “absolutely not.”
Honestly, I don’t know how, why or when the switch was flipped but soon John and I had quite a bit to talk about. We were laughing and smiling, hardly realizing there were other people in the room. When it was late and dark, John asked if he could walk me home and I said “yes.” Stella smiled smugly as we left holding hands.
We spent all our free time together, getting to know each other well in the upcoming weeks/months. On our first official date John arrived bringing a bottle of wine, flowers, a tiny stuffed bear and a T-shirt that he actually had made up for me. The T-shirt was beige with big red and black letters that read: LLBBF: 11:11 (initials for a nickname John invented and my favorite time in the world, 11:11pm.) Only Barbara, John and I knew what the nickname stood for. I had never been treated with such sweet kindness ever before.
Thirty years later I still have the tee-shirt, hidden deep in one of my closets. I haven’t thought of it in a long time but today it reminds me of a wonderful, warm and magical time in my life. Romance was blossoming, I was young and John and I walked, arms around each other, amid the glittery, sparkling snowflakes.