Amadeus was on tonight, and since it was one of the first movies that I remember recommending to friends, I thought I should watch it again. What’s not to love? Timeless music, outstanding performances, costumes to make any wannabe Oscar winner salivate… But as the beautiful music played while the beginning credits rolled, I thought about the guy I went to see the movie with.
I was 18 or 19, and was enjoying meeting new guys in Little Rock where I lived with my dad and stepmom after high school. I met this guy through some friends, and he was very nice. I think he had a crush on me, and kind of worked up to asking me out. That always makes a girl feel good. Especially a girl who wasn’t all that popular in high school… We had a great time at the movie, and I remember that it was raining when we left the theater, and he picked me up and carried me to the car – over the threshold style – so I wouldn’t have to walk through the water in the parking lot.
Sounds great, right? Why aren’t we married!? What a nice little walk down memory lane… but wait. What was his name? I am disgusted to say I have no idea. I went out with him a couple of times, and I hung out with him when we were out with our mutual friends, and I have this great memory of seeing Amadeus with him, and I can’t remember the poor schmuck’s name.
How shallow is that?? I mean, it’s not like I was a dating machine. I didn’t go out with a different guy every weekend or anything. I wasn’t a party girl or a heavy drinker… I’m just the kind of girl that doesn’t remember perfectly nice guys’ names. Sure, it’s been over 20 years since I had two dates with this guy. So, am I making too much out of this? Maybe he doesn’t even remember going out with me at all, let alone what MY name is.
A few years later I was madly in love with another guy, an architect I met in Dallas and who subsequently I visited in Memphis when he moved there. I was crazy about Michael. I was write-my-married-name-in-notebooks crazy about him. After having a kind of start and stop relationship with him and visiting a few times long-distance, I asked him if he thought we were going to ever get serious. He didn’t think so. He was so sweet, and wrote me a letter later explaining why he thought we weren’t meant for each other. He said that although he would search for attributes of mine in the girl he would eventually marry – like my sense of humor, and love of life – he always felt that when we went out he had to get to know me all over again. Like, he wasn’t able to get past the first date in terms of emotional connection. I just didn’t let him past a kind of barrier I had up.
It was a real revelation for me. I had to think about all the relationships I’d had up to that point (not many, I assure you) and consider why they didn’t last very long. Every single one of them had the same thing in common that Michael referred to. I loved meeting someone new, I loved going out, I loved having a boyfriend. I just didn’t know how to get to know someone. I mean, really get to know them. I just kept everyone at arm’s length. I didn’t do it on purpose, it was just as far as I could go. It was all I had to offer.
I’m not sure if there just wasn’t anything interesting to let anyone learn about me, or if I just didn’t know how to let anyone in. I may have had some abandonment issues as a child of divorce. I may have been afraid to get too close to someone and be hurt, or that they might find out I wasn’t as cool as I thought I was. I don’t know. I think if I regret anything (and I try not to regret much) I regret the way I treated some people when I was younger. I wasn’t intentionally mean or hurtful. I just didn’t know any better. I was self-centered, yes, but I think there wasn’t much inside at that point for anyone to know. I was pretty much existing on my exterior.
Funny what a little Mozart can do to a person.