Mo grew up in Seattle. She had never been to San Angelo before I came along.
As we drove into the state park here, she ran into her childhood boyfriend.
What are the odds of this? Where’s Jenster when you need her? Likely at a bar in North Carolina lamenting her breakup with cerveza.
And still, there he was.
This park is a wonderful gem I never even knew existed. Fifty miles of running trails. Single-track, dirt, amazing. Three buffalo, a couple of longhorn steers. And an old flame.
She explained he wasn’t really a boyfriend. She just had a crush on him when she was young. But I could see it in her eyes. They lit up in the same way they do when she watches Eddie Vedder play ukulele.
They were childhood friends. They read “Ranger Rick” together. She even named her first, and only, teddy bear after him. She still has it. And in a planet of 6 billion or so, here he was, greeting us in a small state park in West Texas. In-freaking-credible.
She jumped out of the car and ran up to him. It was the typical awkward encounter with someone you haven’t seen in 40 years. He was polite, but a bit aloof. Hadn’t changed a bit, she told him. He just looked surprised. I grudgingly had to admit they were an awfully cute couple.
They stood around for a few minutes, but I guess there wasn’t much to say. So much had changed. A few photos together, and then so many years later, another goodbye. We left to find the trail.
It was a quiet hike. I knew I couldn’t compete with this rush of childhood emotions. I didn’t even try.
I guess you never forget your first love. Nor should you. And you can’t prevent your wife from drifting back to an old flame.
All you can really do is prevent forest fires …