Monday, January 18, 2010

Donna and Dan - 19

Dark Dan
Originally uploaded by paynehollow
Another post in the countdown to Dan and Donna's 25th anniversary this coming June, which I began a few weeks ago. It is my plan to post a story, remembrance and/or poem once a week for 25 weeks leading to the big date.

I broke up with Donna in the summer of 1982, less than a year after first meeting her. I know that the break-up was especially painful for her. She wrote letters, she cried, we spoke on the phone... we continued to communicate and I know that it was a dark, cold time in her life and I felt miserable for it.

But I tried to put that behind me (easier for me than her, of course) and move on. "You'll be better off without me," I told her. "It's not you, it's me." "We can still be friends..."

All the normal lines.

We did our best to carry on.

She poured herself into her studies, I poured myself into my band. I found a job and life, as it is wont to do, moved on.

Donna began considering missionary work in the Baptist world or perhaps even going to the Southern Baptist Seminary (in my hometown of Louisville) and study their Church Social Work program. She would make a trip to Louisville occasionally to that end and sometimes on those trips, we'd meet to talk things over. Amazingly, we did seem to remain friends, mostly thanks to Donna's grace towards me.

We'd meet and she'd show me a song she was working on or talk about this guy she was thinking about dating or about her possible plans at the Seminary. I'd talk to her about the band.

In September of 1983, she came up to go to a conference at the Seminary. I hadn't planned on seeing her, but at the last minute, I decided, "Why not?" and I drove over to the Seminary just to say hi and see what was new. I talked with her on the phone and she told me where I could find her.

We met on the campus at the Seminary as the sun was setting and as I walked to meet her, I noticed her eyes sparkled in the night. She looked especially beautiful this fall evening, rather like seeing a deer unexpectedly in a dusky field and being amazed at her surprising shy glory.

We walked around and talked a bit, she told me how there were now TWO fellas vying for her attention. She spoke animatedly about the possibility of doing work with the poor, the marginalized, the least of these.

She was amazing and I, well, I discovered much to my amazement that I was captivated.

I had gone to meet her as a last minute fluke and here I was, unexpectedly entranced by her beauty and charm and passion. Had I made a mistake in breaking her heart and ending our love?

And, if so, what could I do about it now?

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