From Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul

Real-Life Fairy Tale

Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“My first girl! My first girl!”

It was our forty-fifth high school reunion. Bob Grove’s arms were extended as he headed toward me. It was only a moment before he had me in the biggest bear hug I had ever experienced.

His twin sister, a close friend of mine, had called and told me he was coming, so I was watching for him. We hadn’t actually talked to each other since 1938—forty-seven years before. What a thrill to have such an exuberant greeting!

He had been my “first fellow,” too. He had been in my geometry class, and he wore glasses. I had just started wearing mine, and I was extremely self-conscious. Although I was worried about people making comments about my appearance I told myself, At least he won’t make fun of me. He’ll be safe!

As our friendship had grown, he had carried my books from class to class, had come over to my house to play cards and had taken me to parties. But we had never even held hands.

His sister told me he was now single and retired, and my husband had died over two years before, so we knew we were both unattached as we spent the rest of the evening together. He held my hand everywhere we went. By the end of the evening when it was time for me to go home (since I lived in town) he said, “Hey, wait up! I’ll walk you to your car!”

He took my hand again and we headed for the parking lot. “Here’s my car,” I told him as I unlocked the door.

His hand had a tighter grip on mine as he pulled me back toward him, murmuring quietly, “When we were going together I was too shy to do this,” and he kissed me gently on the lips.

I was taken by surprise, but enjoyed the feel of his warm lips on mine so much I returned the kiss before I hopped into my car.

Driving home I realized my heart was pounding, and it continued to do that all through the night—I could hardly sleep. And it is only the first day of the reunion, I kept thinking.

The next day we hung around together with old friends, then in the afternoon he asked, “Will you go with me to the dance tonight? I don’t want to go alone. I want to sit with you!”

“Sounds good to me.”

That night, while dressing for the big affair, I was looking forward to how great it would be to have his long arms around me. My two years as a widow had been devoid of any close, touching relationships, but I had adjusted well and hadn’t been looking for a man. I couldn’t believe how exciting it was to be with him. It’s just a fling. He’ll be flying away before long, I kept telling myself, hoping to calm down.

It wasn’t long before he showed up dressed in his dark blue suit, his Stetson hat and cowboy boots. He was still a cowboy at heart even though he was a retired mechanical engineer.

Music from a small band filled the air at the party. It was more fun than I had imagined. Then a booming voice came over the loudspeaker, “Breakfast will be at 9:30! No need to get up early!”

“Too bad I won’t be able to go to the breakfast,” Bob said.

“What? You mean you aren’t staying?”

“Nope, my plane leaves at 10:30, so I will be gone.”

“But the breakfast is the most fun of all. I can’t believe you didn’t plan to stay for it!” I was upset, and I’m sure it showed.

He looked straight at me and made me an offer. “If you’ll promise to spend the day with me, I’ll change my reservations.”

“Of course I’ll spend the day with you. I’d love to.”

That meant we would have all day Sunday together, just the two of us.

When he drove me home, I invited him in. We chatted a while, but it was getting late and soon he was leaving. This time when he kissed me goodnight, I returned his kiss with enough enthusiasm that he acted pleased and surprised.

Next morning I was so happy I went around the house singing “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day!”

After the breakfast we took a drive out to our favorite desert vista, then returned to the hotel.

Sitting at a table in the bar was an old alum friend of ours. “Come on over and sit here,” he said. “What’s going on with you two anyway? You look so happy together.”

Bob spoke up, “This is just the most fun I ever had!”

“Me, too,” I chimed in, still excited over the way our day had gone.

“We decided to spend the day together,” Bob explained. “I live in Corvallis, Oregon, fifteen hundred miles from here. No way can this last.”

“What do you mean it can’t last? Neither of you has any family to stand in your way. So what if you live fifteen hundred miles away? That’s no excuse.”

In those few minutes he convinced us to stop thinking of our fun times as a temporary situation. It hadn’t taken much encouragement for us to feel closer from that moment on. It was a real “turning point” in our lives.

That night we had a late dinner and a romantic evening neither of us will ever forget.

Between phone calls and letter-writing, meeting each other in San Francisco three weeks later, and my going up to Corvallis to spend Thanksgiving with him (where we were snowbound for three days!), we made up for our lost years of togetherness.

We were married in March 1986, five months after we had re-met. Both of us were sixty-three years old.

At one time in my life, a long time before, I had wished that somewhere, sometime, I would find someone who would love me for the person I am, who would share my soul—a fantasy future. To think my wish came true!

It is still a thrill to be able to spend my “golden years” with someone so dear to me. We’ve been truly blessed to find each other again. There aren’t many people our age (seventy-nine) who are so lucky!

Norma Grove

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