When I was 13, I fell in love. Paul was dark, and brooding. He had struggled through a torn family. He knew brokenness and was acquainted with loss.
I loved to listen to his poetry and spent hours lost in his words and emotion. He would pour himself out, heart on his sleeve, and I’d swear he was the only one who could ever understand me. I believed we were two of a kind. He would always have my heart, I just knew it.
But like most young love, it didn’t last. It was my fault. I See that now. Although he was special, the world was so big. My wild heart thirsted for more. I let others in and heard other words. Other voices moved me and took me to unknown places.
Deep down, he was always changing. Even before I knew him, he had become someone other than who I thought. His heart was wild too. Seeking answers, always searching, it wouldn’t let him rest.
As I grew into a woman he was tasting truth. While I was becoming, he was saving the world. His wandering took him to a continent that changed his life. A boy whose name he can’t remember. Later, I’d follow, not really seeing his reflection as clearly as I should. But, I’d see my own heart broken in a wilderness and bush, by mountains and peoples and rain swept coasts. Africa would claim both our souls, completely separate, but equally forever.
At twenty one, his voice came back. Messianic, by his own admission. This time he spoke of freedom. His life slain on the altar of celebrity now. We were older, wiser. I listened differently. Deeply enraptured, but with respect and admiration in this season. He cut my chains, gave permission to leave the prison I’d made for myself. He was a reality I tasted when I thought my palate had gone dead.
But, even after I made commitments–pushed pin through leather, and pens cross paper–I walked away again. I grew up, grew busy. Slept. I gave my heart to another in marriage and danced even that day to the sound of his voice. Babies filled my womb and my home. I built a life.
Still, I thought of him. Every now and then. I’d pray. Knowing we served the same God. The one I’d come to know. The One he had long been acquainted with. On occasion, I remember the night we met. His gentle embrace, my star-struck silence. I often wish I could turn back time and say the words.
Thank you. Thank you.
I know I’ll get the chance someday. Eternity awaits, and we’ll have lifetimes to talk this through.