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The One Who Got Away
Lola, despite her name, which evokes showgirls and other sexy minxes, had never been very popular with boys. She didn't date in high school or college, she wasn't much for parties or clubs. After graduation, she shared an apartment with a friend and got a job in a nursing home.
One summer night, her college sorority was having a reunion with their brother fraternity. She was sitting alone, outside on the porch. A young man walked up to her and started talking. He was short with thick glasses, but he had "the most beautiful voice" Lola had ever heard. After an hour or so, the conversation moved across the street to a bar and went on for several hours more.
"When he brought me home, he said he'd call, and I thought, 'Oh, sure.'"
But he did. He called the next night, and they talked for hours. Donnie asked Lola for a date, but she turned him down. "I was afraid of the whole dating thing." But she finally agreed to go to dinner with him.
"I loved listening to him. He was involved in politics and so knowledgeable about current events. He made my world bigger; he made me think." The dinners and the talks continued for two years. Although they remained platonic friends, Lola realized she was in love with him.
But there was one thing bothering her. Donnie's mother had died of alcoholism, and she felt that he drank too much, too.
And then she met Mike. "He was a doctor, and I thought he was the man my mother had always told me about." He asked her to move to California with him and she agreed. "I told Donnie I was leaving Chicago. He let me go."
It turned out that Mike was not the man of Lola's dreams. He was a womanizer. Lola was miserable and 2,500 miles from home. Donnie kept in touch, but her pride wouldn't allow her to tell him how unhappy she was. "To him I was happy and in love."
Once Donnie came to visit Lola. "He came to my house. I came out and talked to him on the street and got rid of him as fast as I could. Then, as his car drove away, I almost chased it." That was 11 years ago.
Mike is now a hazy memory. "I never give him a thought," says Lola, but Donnie, well, he's something else. "I've never quit missing him. I almost hired a private investigator this year, but I guess I'm afraid he's married with kids. Once in a while I read about lovers reunited after 20 or 30 years by some quirk of fate and I find hope for myself."
Donnie, are you out there and available? If you are, Lola says, "I love you."
Are you carrying a torch for the one who got away? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to email@example.com. And check out my new ebook, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."
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