Old flame back again

Old flame back again

Getting older means, among other things, accumulating a splendid pile of memories of other times, other places, and perhaps most poignantly, other relationships experienced over a lifetime, especially romantic attachments, some fleeting, some frivolous, and some deeply felt. Memories of most of these are a little misty, but the more intimate encounters are remarkably vivid. Playmates in childhood, school chums, high school and college flames and flame-outs, serious relationships, marriage and divorce, remarriage and relationships in between, all of these floating in the cavern of my mind making periodic appearances, sometimes imagined, sometimes in real time.

Not long ago, I experienced a real time reunion with an old girlfriend who had played a pivotal role in that curious point in life (I was 42) when one takes stock of the road traveled and the prospects for the road ahead. At this precarious juncture, this 30-something woman escorted me onto a less-traveled road that brought me face to face with unexplored territory. I loved it. I loved her, but the challenges of uncharted territory were, in the end, too much to overcome for both of us and we parted ways, separated for nearly a year, living at some distance from each other. The last time I saw her (some 30 years ago), I traveled to her home where she greeted me at her front door holding a newborn infant, and just inside, a muscular young man nested on a sofa, barefoot and in shorts, looking like he was definitely part of the household furniture. Invited inside for a brief conversation, I mumbled something about being glad that she seemed to be “doing so well” and then noted that I needed to be getting along and quickly left.

Life moved on and I with it, and in the course of time I met, courted, feel in love, and married a wonderful woman with whom I have shared a happy and compatible partnership for the past 27 years. And then about two years ago, out of the past, I encountered the woman with whom I had shared an intimate, tempestuous journey. It was a moment of closure to that journey, a turning point, too, in that it made me acutely aware of the unanticipated ways in which life’s adventure unfolds. It also made me realize how fortunate I have been to experience the many highs and lows that life dishes out and to end up now in the place I need to be. Meanwhile, the memory of that first fateful encounter and the unexpected reunion is still vivid. This is a fragment from my memory bank that I’ve tried to summarize in an outburst of poetic energy:

Old Flame, a memory
Once my lover, my mate, my muse
Long ago…but rarely out of mind
Someone I put inside
Out of sight…Not quite

Old Flame out of the past
Out of the darkness you came
Leaping over time and space
You jumped into my sight
You rattled my frame last night

Old Flame back again
Back again that crooked smile
Back again that sidelong glance
Back again that wayward curl
You rattled my brain last night

Old Flame in my dreamy view
I saw your auburn hair
I saw your rounded hips
I saw your open lips…
Then everything changed last night

Old Flame flared and flickering
Your cold, cutting words
Your frosty voice chilled my dream
Old Flame…flickered out
Last night out of sight

Here to stay today
A deeper love at my side
My mate, my muse
In my space, in my dreams
Old Flame…gone away
Out of mind…Not quite

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