Sunday, 4 September 2011

Thank you for the summer of 1990

Who would have thought that exactly 21 years later, I would be writing about an ex-boyfriend (who I will call R) on this blog - an ex-boyfriend who I hadn't seen since our summer teenage fling back in 1990 - one of the most memorable summers of my youth.

It was the summer that I left school. The sun shone a lot, and my friends and I, and R, spent most of our time at the river having bbqs, swimming and laughing a lot.  I will always remember that summer.  I will always remember being besotted with R - the new boy in town... the boy that I bagged... the charming, confident, funny boy from away, the boy who told me that he would love me forever.

He then broke my heart, but in a very kind and gentlemanly way, in a way that made it impossible to hate him.  He had had a profound effect on me during that summer, and then it was over and he had run off with a school friend of mine.  And being a fickle teenager, I quickly moved on to somebody else too, and all was forgiven and forgotten.

I didn't see him again, or so I thought. Unknown to me he grew metre long dreads (having always been a short back and sides kind of guy) and so, without realising it, I probably bumped into him on countless occasions during my visits back from London.

Then last week I found out that in July, he was in a fatal motorcycle accident not far from here, and died at the scene of the accident.  I haven't been able to stop thinking about him ever since.  I find it hard to articulate why I can't stop thinking about him, specially as I haven't really given him a second thought for the last 21 years.  Perhaps it is because although I don't often think of that summer, I never forgot, and I held the memories firm, and now I feel that part of me and my past has been altered, and will never be the same again.

After some Googling, I found a Facebook page that has been set up for everyone to post up pictures, video clips and memories of R. This is how I found out about the dreads.  And apart from the dreads, he looked exactly the same; the same sparkly face, just 21 years older.  The comments were unbelievably touching, and utterly heartbreaking to read. He was obviously very well loved by his family and all his friends, and he was still the charismatic and funny boy I remember all those years ago.

If only I had known about the dreads, I may have recognised him in the local Co-op and sparked up a conversation with him.  And I would have been sure to point out to him his very dodgy hair.  It makes me feel very sad that I will now never get the chance, but perhaps if he hadn't died, I wouldn't have thought about him for another 21 years.  Who knows.

I am raising a glass to you R, thanks for the summer of 1990. May you rest in peace.  x


Irene said...

Some people make more of an impact on our lives than we realize at the time. I'm glad you have good memories of him.

Unknown said...

Hi Nora, that is so so true x

Jen Walshaw said...

I believe we are shaped my the people who touch our lives. First love can be so strong

Bo said...

Such a beautiful post. I will say I'm sorry for your loss because I do see it as that, even after such a long time. Mummy has wonderful memories of her first boyfriend like that. The relationship shapes who you are, even if you never see them again. She often wonders what she'd be like if she hadn't known him. Hold on to your memories x

Louise said...

An incredibly touching, well-written and poignant post.

Sometimes, it is only when looking back and possibly the benefit of hindsight, do we truly understand how certain people have shaped us (sometimes people who you didn't even realise at the time were having such an impact).

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