often think of my first love.
my head dipped in the water cooler at work, I felt, rather than
heard, the person who stood behind me. Biding my time until the
clock reached to going-home time, I wasnt in any hurry to
stop sipping the cool, refreshing water. But then I did hear the
clearing of a throat and, pushing my hair away from my face, I
there he stood. All six feet of him with eyes so brown I saw my
reflection in them. He smiled, showing a set of the most even,
white teeth I had ever seen. My face flushed. No, my face didnt
just flush - it must have resembled a ripened Winesap
apple. I attempted to return his smile, but my mouth still held
the last sip of water taken. Quickly swallowing it, I tried to
think of something clever to say to this Adonis. Youre
beautiful almost came out. Sorry I took so long,
were the only words I managed, and they came out in sort of a
slurp. I turned and got on the cloud which took me back to my
I ever see him again? Does he work here? Is he a visitor? Questions
swirled like eddies in my head. If I didnt find out immediately,
he could be gone forever. I hurried back down the hallway, peering
around the corner to the water cooler. He was gone...vanished...with
my heart. I swung around to head back down the hallway and literally
bumped into him.
got to stop meeting this way, he quipped. At least
let me have the name of the lady who keeps showing up. What
was my name? I forgot everything except his smile...it was
still there...and it was for me.
I came to my senses, I answered. Mary, I said. Mary
Stevens. I asked him the same. John, he said,
John Williams. Like any girl with her first crush
or first love, I wrote his name with mine in my head. Perfect,
I heard the word come out of my mouth. His laughter was contagious
and, after I sputtered some inane excuse for my blunder, I joined
Mary Stevens have dinner with John Williams? he asked.
or we could simply elope...whichever. I think Id like
that, I replied with some measure of sanity.
had dinner, which was accompanied by a summer of complete and
total bliss. Lunches together at the office, drinks after work,
dancing on weekends...we became inseparable. That is until the
said our goodbyes at the airport with no commitment, only promises
to call, to write, to see each other again. As he boarded the
flight that would take him around the world, I waved until the
airplane was out of sight.
so was he...never to be seen or heard from again. Dont
cry because its over, a friend said, smile because
it happened. I smile...but after fifty years, I often think
of my first love.
Ridings Bennett is a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner.
Born in a small town in Tennessee, she moved to Oak Ridge, growing
up in a strange and secret town and era, she proclaims. She has
written a column entitled "Life, Love and Laughter."
Aileen studied creative writing under Arizola Magnenat, a published
author and journalist. Her first novel, The Annie Chase Story,
was released in October, 2005 by Behler Publishing Company.
Aileen R. Bennett