I came across an old photo tonight - a set of photos, actually. Three of them. In each I'm wearing the same costume as my eighteen-year-old self poses with King Arthur in one, with Lancelot in another and with the director in the third. The play is Camelot; I played Guinevere and am in my Act I, scene 1 dress with my hair done up and my bearing, regal.
Looking at the pictures of Arthur and Lancelot made me smile. I used to call the two of them my two towers because they were both six foot two and I was (and am) five foot four. Standing between them at the end of Act I when we're all decked out in our rented costumes, I felt alternately protected and small.
But it was the one of my director and myself that, for some reason, struck a chord with me tonight. I'm pretty sure it was a secret to no one that I had a tremendous crush on him back then, despite my protestations to the contrary. He was off-limits, though, for several reasons, one of which was that he was a teacher and you just didn't flirt with teachers. The other, the big one, was that he was a Brother - an Irish Christian Brother - and had already dedicated his life to God. Those of you who've read "Love at Third Sight" know I consider going against another woman to be fair game, but going against God? No dice!
Still I kept in contact with him via letters for a few years -- until I met the man of my heart as well as my dreams. It probably isn't coincidence that both my former director and my husband are both tall, dark-haired Italians (my husband's shorter than my director, though. I don't hold it against him) who were holy men. I wrote my director to tell him I'd met Steven and we were going together, but the letter came back. I'd lost the address and had guessed -- and guessed wrong. I never tried again.
But this is my retirement year. I became a teacher, too. And seeing that photo made me wonder if he's still teaching or if he's now retired. I remember his youthful energy and spark, his love of learning, his artistic talents...and find it hard to imagine him old enough to be on the other end of his career. Yet here I am, so therefore, he must be as well.
It's funny how, when people drop out of your life, they cease to age. In your mind they remain the same as they were when they left. I certainly don't look like the girl in those photos. My hair is grayer, childbirth has added pounds to my frame. I found a recent picture of my King Arthur. His hair is shorter now and his lanky-ness has grown into maturity, but I still see my Arthur in his eyes. If I were to see him on the street, I think I'd recognize him, so maybe we haven't changed too much?
I spent some time doing an online search for my director - just to see if I could find him. I couldn't. The Irish Christian Brothers have gone through some hard times and will, I hope, emerge wiser for it. But their website doesn't list placements. If he's even still a brother.
And I find it doesn't matter. I'll paste the photo into the new album and think of those times fondly. I hope he's had a good life, one that has brought him happiness, friendship, and love. Mine has. It makes me wish the same for all.
I'll close tonight with my traditional admonition, but know my thoughts are decades in the past, at a time when I knew I wanted to write but didn't yet have the courage to try, a time where a young, handsome teacher understood the growing pains of a young woman and guided her in a more suitable direction, a time when I was the queen and several bowed to me...
PS. If you'd like to read "Love at Third Sight", it's in the Timeless Love collection, on sale for a limited time only!