When they were neighbors
a story about love and adventure. it will always lead you home.
They were next door neighbors on the army base. He was six, she was five. Their parents became quick friends leading to the kids spending a lot of time together. They were on the same soccer team, little league team, swim team, until they reached the age that there were no longer co-ed teams. She started dancing, he went on to play baseball. All the while fearing that one day their parents would tell them the dreadful news they would be moving.
Although neighbors, they were best friends. He didn’t know what life would be like without her, nor did she. In sixth grade History class he passed her a note. His heart racing. She looked at him with those big blue eyes and immediately felt nervous. She opened the note “be my girlfriend? Her smile reached her ears and her cheeks turned a pretty shade of pink. He knew the answer. She nodded her head quickly keeping her smile.
That summer was the best time of their lives. They planned on getting married and dreamed of having a big house on a lot of land where she could ride horses and have a dance studio. They wanted lots of kids. Enough for him to start his own baseball team. She was shy when he first held her hand. “Don’t be nervous, it’s so that everyone knows you’re mine.” He had told her when they were in the school cafeteria. Later, he took her behind the big oak tree on their joint properties and kissed her. She didn’t know she could feel so light. He didn’t know how such a small thing could send shock through his whole body.
Then it came. During family dinner on their typical Sunday evenings their parents said they had something important to tell them. Both of them knew what was coming.
“Son” His dad said with that gruff voice. “we’re moving.”
He wanted to hide under a rock. Far down into a hole so he never would be found.
“Are we all moving together?” She asked her parents in a shaky voice. Her mom stood and sat by her, wrapping her arm around her shoulders.
“No honey. We haven’t been stationed anywhere but here for now.”
Her heart broke knowing that she would be here without him. Nothing would be the same. School would be different, the neighborhood would be different. They had grown up together. She saw the sadness in his eyes. She loved him. She’d love him till the day she died.
Years went by and they both had survived several moves around the country, taking them farther away from each other. Eventually, it got harder to keep in touch and soon enough the letters and phone calls stopped. They kept themselves from the pain by diving into the activities they loved. She found places to dance wherever she went. He would find a team of buddies to play baseball with. They both dated several times in high-school. She went to prom with her boyfriend and they made Homecoming Queen and King that year. He dated several girls but always compared them to the girl he first fell in love with.
He was twenty-six when he got the call that their was work for him in his home town from so long ago. His heart leaped with anticipation as he had dreamed of going back to all those memories, but heartache knowing she wouldn’t be there. She was twenty-five and longed for adventure. She took a vacation from teaching dance on the other side of the country and decided to go home. To the place that had raised her and shown her love.
Their was a favorite bar in town that her friends loved to go to. She was welcomed in with a huge reunion. He and his old buddies had spent a day playing baseball and needed a drink. The bar they frequented had a party going on. He ordered his beer and looked around. She saw him first when he had walked through the doors. Her heart raced. He then looked right at her. His heart sunk to his gut. She walked closer to him.
“Hi” she said slowly.
“Hey” he looked at her ring finger. “married?”
She giggled. “no”
“Got a boyfriend?”
Another giggle “no. You?”
“a boyfriend? me? nah.”
They laughed hard and she wrapped her arms around his neck. He took her to the dance floor and they shared their journey’s since the time they parted. Swaying to the music, he knew there was a reason he came back. She let him lead and her heart knew there was no way she could leave him.
A year later they were married. Buying that big house they talked about in sixth grade. Another year they were starting the first of their baseball team. They were living the dream.
Fifty years later and they were sitting on the porch swing cuddled close and reminiscing. Their lives had gone perfectly. They didn’t miss a beat. She was seventy-five, he was seventy-six and more in love than ever. Grand kids dancing in the yard. Their own kids sharing moments with their spouses. Their hearts were full.
And it all started when they were neighbors.