Monday, September 8, 2008

Renewing Old Flames

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of watching my aunt and uncle celebrate their 25th anniversary by renewing their wedding vows. The ceremony was doubly moving given their history together – teenage sweethearts who married young, divorced after three years, then found their way back to one another.

As I watched them promise to always be there for each other, I couldn’t help thinking about second chances in love, and about some of the old flames that I’ve revisited over the years.

Brooklyn-born financial analyst Larry set a standard that few other suitors have been able to match in terms of both courting and smarts. His dizzying intellect captivated me (and had me consulting a dictionary on more than one occasion despite my background as an English major), while his insistence upon making an event out of every evening we shared took us on a regular tour of NYC’s most romantic restaurants.

It took two breakups—precipitated mostly by a 16-year age difference that found us at different places in our lives—for me to walk away from this teddy bear of a guy. We nevertheless kept in touch, and nearly a decade later, rekindled the sparks between us. Unfortunately, timing was once again our foe, as I was on the rebound from another relationship.

Southern Illinois native Steve and I first crossed paths as I was wrapping up my Midwestern stint as a local TV reporter. The intoxicating chemistry between us led me to change my return flight to New York three times. A true romantic with the soul of a poet, Steve reawakened my heart after a long, lonely year and a half of being alone and trying to come to terms with my mother’s death.

Geography, among other things, got in the way and we called it quits after a few months—until finding our way back to each other the following year. Though part-time paramours is all that fate ultimately had in mind for us, I’m glad we didn’t let that stand in the way of trying again. We remain good friends and Steve is now happily married.

Though reconciling with Larry and Steve didn’t culminate in happily ever after, my aunt and uncle are living proof of the joy that can come from revisiting old flames. After all, love is always worth the gamble.

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