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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.

Her sisters had been killed by a drunken driver and the whole issue of alcoholism just became too much for her.

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 And check out my new ebook, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."



6 Comments | Post Comment
This sounds like one of those situations where you remember an old flame, where you dwell on all the good stuff and forget all the bad. She thought Donnie drank too much. That is a very valid reason for rejecting him. Eleven years later, rather than married with kids, he's probably a serious alcoholic. In a choice between those two guys, she's better off alone. Seriously.

As for hope, look for someone else. You know what you don't want: a heavy drinker or a womanizer. There are nice guys out there, but you have to look, and make yourself attractive.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Madelyn
Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:57 PM
Madelyn brings up some really good points.

I have two that "got away" and then came back (or tried to) and what I found was that the reason they "got away" became glaringly clear very quickly. And in one case, the reasons that I found him to be attractive in the first place had gone away.
Comment: #2
Posted by: nanchan
Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:56 AM
Could have been, could have been -- regret. If only, if only -- pride. Regret can eat you up if you let it and pride can stop you from making that first step. Two big lessons here: take care of your regret and don't let pride stop you. Donnie came 2500 miles to see you so he must have had some pretty good feelings about you. Call him see what he is up to. He may be that alcoholic or he may be someone you'd be interested in and at the same time do as Madelyn suggested -- look for the nice guy.

I hate that term "nice guy" women tag nice guys as being boring.
Comment: #3
Posted by: J
Sun Jul 20, 2014 12:52 PM
In college, there was a guy who liked me, and we went out a few times. I had very strong feelings for another guy, who I knew was wrong for me, but I didn't feel it was fair to lead this other guy on. He was the perfect gentleman, looked like my current favorite actor (who was pretty much a complete unknown then), and also musically talented. And I kind of liked him. His only "flaw" was he called me too many times one night when we were going to go out, and, being 21, I thought that was unforgivable. We gradually drifted apart, since he probably got tired of me not responding to his advances. A few years later, I called him again, realizing that I'd made a mistake in not realizing what a cool guy he was, and secretly hoping something could happen between us. He said he'd gotten married. The woman he married was in the same major as I was, even though I didn't know her that well. I am genuinely happy for him, but every now and then, I wonder, "what if?"
Comment: #4
Posted by: Cheryl
Mon Jul 21, 2014 10:03 AM
Madelyn is right-------her choices were either someone she felt drank too much (and possibly had the gene for alcoholism) or a womanizer. Since she knew about the drinking but didn't know about the tendency to womanize, she chose the latter, and found it was a mistake. Besides those two choices, though, I'd say she had two more choices-------pick someone who is neither a womanizer nor someone who drinks too much, OR learn to be content with not having a guy.
Now time has passed, she is possibly lonely, and Donnie looks pretty good; the feelings she had about his drinking have been pushed to the background. Maybe he did NOT become an alcoholic, who knows? But since the last time she saw him she couldn't wait to get rid of him, and he probably picked up on it-------AND he hasn't made contact in 11 years------I think you could safely say that ship has sailed. I know it's fun to wonder how something would have turned out IF--------but the reality generally turns out to be nothing like the daydreams.
She has, in effect, dumped Donnie twice. Now he is nothing but a nice nostalgic memory. If it's fun for her to fantasize about him, well, good for her, but I hope she won't let the dream blind her to reality if she happens to meet someone who is in the here and now.
Comment: #5
Posted by: jennylee
Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:46 AM
This is one of those cases where you really should speak up when you like someone. Tell him you like him very much and would love a future together but you feel he drinks too much and see where it goes from there. It's better for it to end completely then to keep carrying a torch. If things had ended appropriately or succeeded, it's possible she'd never have bothered with Mike.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Laurie
Tue Jul 22, 2014 2:00 PM
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