‘I’m Thursday’s Child,’ she had said to me in her very first message. OK, Thursday’s Child, what does that mean? I had never heard it before, but must be something obvious, something modern that I’m missing….”
by michael estabrook
The first boyfriend/girlfriend relationship is one of those unique relationships. There is only one first marriage, one first date, one first kiss, one first dance, and one first boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Unique, only happened once. So it has unique circumstances and behaviors surrounding it. And the rules are not clear.
My first girlfriend (and I was her first boyfriend) lasted about 10 months. But I was older, 15, and she was only 12. We went to different schools, had different friends and interests, lived far apart in the same town. After 10 months we broke up, actually she broke up with me, returned my “going steady” ring, dumped me, plain and simple as that. Being dumped stays with you a long time, a long, long time, particularly if you’re a guy – 47 years in my case, 47 to be exact. For it took 47 years for us to reconnect again, on Facebook of course, where else?
But now what? What do you do with this particular unique relationship, 47 years after the fact, and considering you are very happily married to another woman? What? Get in trouble that’s what. She’s single, divorced (twice), and surprise, we’re still in different schools, have different friends and interests, live far apart but not even in the same town or the same state for that matter. But when she sent me a message on Facebook I asked my wife if it was ok to respond. I would never have responded without asking her permission first (I’ve been married 41 years after all). “Yes, that’s fine, I’m fine with it,” she states, then adds, “But I don’t expect you to carry on any lengthy communications with her over the months.” Well of course I have no intention of doing that. Just want to be in touch, see how her life has gone all these years.
So I did, I responded. And it was fun “catching up” with her, finding out what she’s been up to over the nearly half-century that has passed. But, my wife didn’t think it was so much fun (she has my passwords and was reading our Facebook posts) and after only a couple exchanges she told me I need to stop. She was not so comfortable with me reconnecting with my first girlfriend after all. So I did, I stopped it, immediately. Told her we couldn’t be reliving the past. She got upset, “You don’t want to correspond with me any longer?” Well, no, I can’t, I said. My wife isn’t happy with this at all, I’m sorry. So, 47 years later, my first girlfriend and I broke up again (you couldn’t make this up, seriously). But this time it was me doing the breaking up. Payback can be a bitch, I couldn’t help but thinking. But honestly, I felt so bad for hurting her feelings.
“I’m Thursday’s Child,” she had said to me in her very first message. OK, Thursday’s Child, what does that mean? I had never heard it before, but must be something obvious, something modern that I’m missing. I’m a practicing poet and music lover and yet, what’s wrong with me that I’ve never heard of this? I google it. Seems it is a line in an old nursery rhyme: “Thursday’s child has far to go.”
So I did, I broke up with her, just as my wife demanded. But was that good enough for her, my lovely wife of 41 years? Of course not. Is anything ever good enough, really? I guess she doesn’t yet trust me, even after all these years: “What if I did this to you, got in touch with an old boyfriend? Maybe I’ll reach out to Everett from the senior class play.” (Everett and Patti were the romantic leads in “You Can’t Take It With You.” They even had to kiss on stage. It drove me nuts at the time. He was, of course, the class president and on the honor roll and one of our high school’s football heroes, tall, dark, and handsome, a real heartthrob, that Everett was, a real frikkin lady killer. It drove me more than nuts at the time.)
“What if we started corresponding,” she’s nearly yelling now. “How would you like that! If Everett and I started reliving old times, being in the play together, reading scripts, kissing?” Well, she knows that I wouldn’t like that at all. She knows that is not something I would tolerate for five seconds. But then I’ve always been jealous and possessive of her, keeping a close eye on any guy who came within 1,000 yards of her. She’s a beautiful woman after all, truly a beautiful woman, and me, well let’s just say I’m no day at the beach, I’m no Everett. So here she was throwing this guy, this macho hunky guy, this fucking football hero from the old days, right the hell in my face! And from my perspective at least, I hadn’t even done anything wrong. Never led my old girlfriend on, never said anything provocative or intimate, just tried to keep it to some light banter about today and the good old days.
But, then the light goes on in my head. What the hell? Who am I truly to be prohibiting my wife from doing whatever she pleases, seeing and being friends with whomever she wants. “You go ahead, go right ahead and become friends with Everett. I dare you.” Now I’m getting angry. She’s threatening me with infidelity, or at least with flirting with another guy. Fine, fine and dandy. “You go ahead, go right ahead and do whatever you need to do with Everett or anybody else for that matter. Let’s see where that will get you. I dare you.” I’m angry now, but at least I’ve found out who my potential rival might be. Because married or not, there are always rivals, always competition for your woman, particularly when she is as beautiful as mine still is.
So we’ll see what happens. But for me, I’ve learned my lesson. Time to shut down my stupid Facebook page and begin acting my age again. Instead of all this nonsense, I’ll write a letter on paper using a pen and then put a stamp on it and mail it in an actual metal post office box. Yes, that’s it, I’ll write a letter to my Cousin Linda, who doesn’t even own a damn computer. Thursday’s Child indeed.
(painting: kurt eisenlohr)
Seems I’ve been writing poetry for so long that Methuselah should be taking notice, but in reality, time is simply doing its thing streaking ahead blithely pulling all of us along for the wild ride whether we like it or not; reminds me, I’ve published 15 chapbooks over the years, the last one being “when Patti would fall asleep” by Liquid Paper Press in 2003, guess it’s time to work on another one. — Michael Estabrook. More stories from Michael Estabrook can be found in the Vault of Smoke.