When I interview people to create an heirloom family history book as a legacy for future generations I am often hired by an elderly couple’s children who want to have certain questions answered. A common question that kids want me to ask is how their parents met and fell in love. It’s fun to interview a husband and wife separately as they will emphasize different parts of their love story. Some couples hand me a written love story, or participants in my life story classes tell their own love story.
In the next 2 or 3 blog posts I will demonstrate different ways to make your life story unique. A story can be told in first person, or as I did in the following story, a third person account allows for a new perspective. The way the passage of time is written about can also give your life story a unique quality about the ways you’ve viewed a relationship over many years. I would love to hear your own life stories or your parents’ or grandparents’ stories in the comments below!
The girl looked to the top of the bleachers which seemed to graze the stars. Her frayed bellbottoms swept the dew off the grass at the old football stadium, shuttled into history by the big new stadium east of campus. She held hands with her boyfriend, he pulled her close, his head bowed towards her, brown hair long, waving around the pilled collar of his gray sweatshirt. They strolled through the gate and started the climb to the top of the bleachers. She looked at the back of her boyfriend’s red suede Puma sneakers as they thumped up the seats of the metal bleachers, leading her higher and higher. Then she held back, resisting the pull upwards. She watched him reach the top, hugged her sweater against the cool breeze and followed.
They sat at the top, alone, hip to hip, his arm holding her close. He looked at her, brown eyes seeking hers. She looked down, fingers playing with a navy thread as she worked it loose from her sweater. He lifted her chin. Her brown eyes avoided his. He kissed her. “I see our future, Linda, up there in those stars.” She was a freshman and things were moving too fast. She murmured and looked up, all her hopes and dreams strewn along the Milky Way. She blinked back a tear, her heart uncertain. She felt pulled inexorably toward him, away from her charted course, losing herself. Sweet kiss, yes.
Her future was wide open and her feelings were unsettled as the young man stumbled around a profession of love. He was a senior, his stars hung lower in the sky, dreams ready to be realized; plans for the future lining up. She was part of his plan. The stars climbed slowly in their charted paths as the earth moved, oblivious to this young couple, paths merging.
The young man and the girl clambered down the seats of the bleachers and he spread a blanket over the wet grass and they lay flat on the grass to watch for shooting stars. The black heavens were ablaze with stars, quiet and mysterious. The bright sparkles seemed both benign and omniscient, harboring secrets in the dark. No revelations, no comet with their futures strapped on its back, just the random shooting star passing silently into other worlds. Her heart rose to meet them, resisted this man; not yet. Her thoughts and feelings were amorphous, unformed, the night sky a backdrop for her confusion. A loud clang disrupted their reverie, a man swung the gate shut, a padlock clicked shut and he walked away. Too far away to flag him down, too embarrassed to try, they sat up and contemplated their fate.
The young man loped to the gate and shook it, rattled the lock. The girl looked to the top of the gate high over her head, the sky marred by metal links. Trapped. The young man said, “No sweat, follow me” and within minutes, sneakered toes wedged quickly in and out of the chain links, he swung his leg over and shimmied down the other side and landed on the grass. He looked through the fence at the girl, body and face neatly hatched by the pattern of the links, perplexed look on her face. Her heart beat fast, she looked back through the links at the young man, on the right or wrong side of the fence?
She reached up, curled her fingers through the cold metal diamonds as her toes caught the holes. When she crested the top she hesitated, looked down at her boyfriend so far below, rooted safely to the grass which was beaded with evening dew. She teetered, her jeans caught on the spikes of metal twisted at the top. She heard the soft slur of a tear, felt the prick of barb on tender skin and carefully disengaged her jeans, finally able to swing her leg to the other side. She slid down, lost her balance and landed on all fours. She stood up, rubbed her wet hands on her jeans, adjusted her sweater and took the young man’s hand reached out to her. They laughed at their plight now that she was safe. Safe? She looked back up at the stars which blinked back, silent, secrets pinned to the black sky.
The earth glided 35 elliptical paths around the sun while the stars rose and fell gracefully through the sky, moving through time with the aging man and lady. The man and the lady had three children, a lifetime shared, the good and the bad. She looked up into the night sky. The Milky Way beckoned, a shooting star whizzed into the black recesses of space and she was lost in the memory of the night on the bleachers, on the field with the young man so many years ago. Had she been listening? Were there untold secrets, paths untaken? Had the stolen kiss tempted her fate? The man called from the house. Blinking back a tear she went to him. Tear of joy, tear of sadness, tear of loss, tear of thanksgiving? Yes.