I have been in love thrice; this is the story of my first love, in 1996. This was written before I met the 2nd or 3rd person.

We met, morbidly enough, in the usenet newsgroup "alt.suicide.holiday"; I at the time was a sophomore in college and she had recently divorced (age 23) and was living in Texas working for a phone company. I was working for my school's CS department to earn money for my expensive japanese food habit and thus was in the graduate research building for many hours after 10pm. Both of our jobs consisted of sitting at a desk watching monitors for problems and thus we were able to spend hours and hours on the phone every day for nearly a month. I had never before experienced such an immediate connection with anyone; we talked about everything ; political science, psychology, biology, physics, mythology, weather, people, cities, the flow of concrete around plants and vice versa, the changing sky outside, satellites, birds, everything and anything. Many times I would be or she would be woken up at seven in the morning by the other's voice screaming wake up, wake up into the phone; we would fall asleep talking, talking. She would write sestinas and sonnets and I would write ones back, never generic or soppy, usually sarcastic or silly or ... anything, really. She had the most incredible mind I'd ever encountered; in a month I read more books than I'd read in the previous year, just to keep up with the barrage of references that footnoted her every communication to me.

At the end of the month we could wait no longer and in the midst of finals I flew out to Texas and spent the most glorious week of my life, with her ... her apartment that she had lived in for six months was a mess, an artist's studio of metal and paint and cloth and paper and ink and a loom and prisms and mirrors and ceramic and books, books everywhere, more than a thousand books scattered haphazardly and each one paged through until the bindings were soft as cotton. The Texas heat was overwhelming and we would stay inside sleeping all day and go out at night, drive two hours to Corpus Christi and we wrote in the sand and we learned sign language from a video and got stranded by the tide on a sandbar and walked through the Alamo noting the corporate presence of Coca-Cola inside the fort and blew bubbles over the gulf of Mexico. She was not the first person I'd slept with but she was the first I'd made love with. The warmth in her eyes as she looked at me was intoxicating; never since have I ever felt that kind of love, never since have I known so surely that the love I felt for someone was returned.

Texas was too far. She through some miracle of compression fit all of her possessions into her small Civic -- and quit her job and walked out on her lease and did it all because she knew she had to, in the words of Joseph Campbell, follow her bliss. She drove two thousand miles and began a new life with me. We were so happy... we had sublet a small room in a house a few miles from school on a shady street with an expansive backyard and we went from garage sale to garage sale in search of a croquet set and we played croquet with the neighbor's children and we learned Esperanto until it made us dizzy and and ... we ... she found a experimental farm looking for volunteers and we moved into a finished room in a barn there and she did field hand work, weeding, and she loved it; she would work in the sun all day in the green fields and would eat strawberries and green peppers right from the ground and at night we would go outside, followed by the barn's cats, and lay together in the short soft moss at the far edge of the field and watch the moon transit the sky, make love with the moss, the breezes, the summer lightning and thunderstorms, and the sun would rise and we would trek back to the barn and shower and I would hitchhike up to town for class and she would go out and work another day doing what she loved, feeling her body become strong and competent after so many months working in a cold, dismal room full of computers...

and then the storm came.

Something that had been positive snapped, decided it couldn't be so any more. We began to become colder and more distant and even as I felt it killing me I was powerless to stop it...

Things fall apart the center cannot hold ... and we fell apart and I didn't know how to stop it and the most beautiful love I've ever known simply vanished and for no reason at all . we parted in tears, neither of us understanding what had gone wrong , and I still see myself standing in the morning fog on the farm road. I kissed her goodbye through her open car window and watched her drive off, disappearing into the mist and with her every dream I'd ever had.

I stood there in the predawn hours in a trance. I felt as if Death had come for me and then neglected to finish the job. I stayed on that corner staring down that road for seven hours. Sometimes sitting on the grass, sometimes curled up against a granite glacial erratic, but I couldn't leave that spot. why should I, ... where would I go? My purpose was lost, my life my love ... everything I had built my future around was gone with her.

I went back to the farm, eventually, and lay down in our bed, my bed, and cried. I stayed there for a week, not eating. I was brought water and juice but I refused food I couldn't think I couldn't do anything my love was gone my life my world shattered.

We became friends again in 1998, and have kept in touch.

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