My twenty four-year-old son was head over heels in love with a girl from down the street. Its funny but when she was younger, he wouldn't have noticed her much, and may even have considered her an annoyance. She is about the same age as his youngest sister.
She attends the same college as my son but rather than living at home her parents pay for the dorm (3 miles away)
Growing up brings changes and she soon found her way into his heart. He was wary of getting too close to girls due to having invested time and emotions into them and finding out he was investing more than they were or were interested in receiving. Girls were empty-headed and fickle minded they interfered with surfing, skateboarding and your bank account.
Then Lori came along. We were surprised to see him get involved and fall in love. After a year or so, he bought her a pre-engagement ring. His sisters hated her. She was a spoiled brat who got everything that she ever wanted and was not good enough for their brother. She did not deserve his kindheartedness, generosity.
My wife and I loved this picture. He was so happy and in love. It was nice to see. It was taken on the Ocean City Boardwalk on a summer night.
Kris could never say no to her, even when working hard at his studies, he'd stop at her wish and command to come out and play. She was still in the mode left over from high school, where she could bat her eyelashes and expect good grades. Kris had to work hard for them. She would come to him the night before a practical engineering project was due: can you help me?
It's been almost two years since she broke his heart. Can we still be friends? Then she went to Costa Rica with a guy my son would like to mop the floor with.
He met a few ladies from his counterparts on the woman's rowing team at school.
I told him you're young so are they. Have fun. They don't want a commitment from you; they would just like you to return their phone calls. Be a gentleman and do it. Go out with them have fun. Are you crazy three young creatures calling and you don't call back?
(Especially ones with higher GPAs then your ex girlfriend?)
One day three girls showed up at once. As he was getting ready to go out with them, Lori showed up. "What's going on?" She asked. My wife politely but sternly told her "sweetheart you gave up the right to ask that question"
This year he went to a Super Bowl party at a buddy's house. She showed up, he walked home. He could not stand to be in her presence. I know that he cried, and all the world seemed out get him. No car, no girl, still living at home, no money he felt like a "looser". I felt so badly for him.
(I did not even know that he was home in bed until he came out at half time.)
Him and I watched the second half of the game together then we talked. "Kris, you have three jeeps that you bought and paid for with cash that you earned. They are idle now because you are spending all of your money paying your own way, for tuition and books for college. You have an A/B average in Bio- Chemistry. You have taken two lab sciences and calculus each semester. You have the dream job of every male American; you are an ocean lifeguard on the beach. Babes that you never met give you their phone numbers! You get to see the most beautiful women in the world parade past you every day! Most of the student body at your school is there on "Mom and Dad's money. You are far from being a "looser"
I took him to work this weekend and we talked along the way. Lori lives down the street, she "roller blades" past our house and stops by occasionally. She is so totally clueless or maybe she isn't (as my girls believe) as to what she does to Kris. Kris's friends have either graduated or gone home for the summer. He still has his two very close buddies, but Anna and Chrissy are gone now. They provided him with good friendshipâ€¦and I don't know what else, we don't get into that.
He still loves her. His heart still aches.
Monday as we worked together on his jeep, he was playing a CD. It was a soundtrack from "The Big Lebowsky" that we gave him as a gift. He sang along to
"I Got It Bad, and That Ain't Good"
Later, he and my wife sat and talked on the steps to our house as our hamburgers cooked on the grill. She told him some of the same things that I did.
As we went inside to eat a late lunch, Kris stayed back. I walked out the door to call him then quietly stepped back inside. He was leaning against the fender of my truck, staring into space, while listening intently to an opera song on the CD player. It broke my heart. I told my wife then stopped her at the door. "Leave him alone"
It was Ilona Steingruber singing "Gluck das Mir Verblieb" from the German Opera
"Die Tote Stadt" or The Dead City. The main character in the opera was a man who lost his wife, and missed her dearly He found a new love in the form of a younger singer and saw her as a resurrection of his love. Die Tote Stadt is a story about love and loss, regret, resignation, rejuvenation and hope. Truly, this is a neglected masterpiece! It is a poignant story about love, loss, and ultimately, letting go of the past
My son had no idea what the opera was about or even which opera it was, but he understood that most love duets in operas are shared by lovers doomed in some tragic way. Tonight as he went to visit a friend and see him off for along time to come, I worked on restoring some of the chrome engine parts to his jeep and left them where he'll see them before going to bed. I don't know what else that I can do for him but be there.
Copyright ©2002 - Nils Hagen