Widow Crushes

The first time I fell in love I was five years old. His name was Steve, and we were in Miss Smith’s morning kindergarten class together. A pixie of a boy, I can still picture him. He had these gorgeous brown eyes. The eyes have always had it in for me. Window to the soul perhaps, but my Achilles’ heel since day one. We played tag. He was the only boy I couldn’t catch. My other weak spot. A man who was unavailable.

I have long since stopped chasing men. If they don’t stop, it’s because they really aren’t that into you. But I haven’t yet managed to avoid being sucked in by a sexy set of peepers. And it’s not the color, the shape, or face they inhabit that make someone’s eyes so alluring.

The last pair of eyes to suck me in defied my ability to color code. The furtiveness of the glances made it difficult to catch them out. It was nice to be the object of a man’s interest again, but despite my best efforts since, it has gone nowhere, and I am disappointed.Most women will not admit this, even to other women, but we secretly mourn the loss of butterflies when we are finally settled down. They say that men have a hard time with commitment because they suffer from the “grass might be greener” thing more keenly than women do, and while this is probably true, we women are very aware that we will never again feel that blast of first lust and the thrill of a first kiss.

Indeed, kissing is one of the first things to go in a monogamous relationship. As much as I loved my husband, it was hard sometimes to think I would never experience a first kiss again, or make out like a teenager, or explore a man’s body after making love for the first time. Heady stuff. Hard to put to rest even when you are happily married. So it feels like cheating to be so eager for those things again right now, but I can’t deny that I am.

There is a website for young widowed people that I lurk on where most of the posters are vehement about not dating during the early days out. Early days is a widow term for those of us who are in are first year. According to the Holy Stages of Grief, we shouldn’t be ready to date and if we are, or are merely wishing we were, we are in denial of our grief. It’s kind of like being red-shirted.

If I could deny anything, grief would be at the top of my list. There is no other feeling that I would rather be able to stuff down so deep that it might never see daylight again. And as suffocating as my grief often is, it hasn’t stopped me from wanting to put myself in danger all over again with someone else.

There is a song that Faith Hill sings where when of the lines is “I never thought I’d give myself again to someone I could lose”. The catch that comes to mind when I think about what I am contemplating. Could I love any man again enough to hold his hand while he died?

I did it once. My fear is that I might not be strong enough to do it again. And still, it doesn’t completely hold me back. So what does that say about me? Every time I have fallen off this horse, I’ve gotten back on. When I was 16, I fell in love with a baritone player in my high school’s marching band. I went to great length’s to secure his affections. I even joined the band and amazingly learned to play an instrument. Why? Big brown eyes with the longest black silk lashes I have ever seen on a man.

But, he had a tiny problem he neglected to mention to me. He was a tad conflicted about his team membership. It kinda went back and forth. Not the kind of thing a girl could talk to her mom about in 1981. Didn’t fall from that pony so much as I was flung. And not for the last time.

The stallion prances and beckons, and we jump on. Like bronc riders at a rodeo, arthritic and held together with pins, we can’t seem to call it a day. I know that sooner rather than later I will be sitting in the chute again looking for 8 seconds.

The terror of that pulled me up short a month ago. He was a very nice guy. It probably would have been a butterfly heaven of a first kiss. Missed opportunities like this are a little like dark chocolate, sweet but they don’t satisfy the way milk chocolate does. Next time it is a Hershey’s kiss for me.

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