...Wow, rejection as I'd never known it
There was interesting reaction to my "Sylvia story" (see Blog Archives: Easy to kiss, easy to forget) posted a dozen items ago. Well, in terms of meeting a girl at church, lightening can strike twice. Unlike the first strike however, there is not an immediately obvious moral to the second bolt, or is there? You be the judge.
It was like deja vu all over again. A month removed from baseball in Florida and Georgia and still recovering from a love lost, there I was again sensing an angelic-like presence beside me as I walked out of a Sunday morning service at Knox Presbyterian Church in St. Thomas. "Hi! My name is Mallory (not her real name). I've seen you play baseball. My father is a real fan too and he has talked a lot about you." Conversation after that out-of-the-blue introduction seemed to flow easily and naturally. I could hardly believe this was happening again, so soon after an almost identical encounter a mere four months earlier outside a church in Cocao, Florida.
An hour and two miles of walking later I was saying goodbye to Mallory at her front door across town. We arranged to meet again the next evening for a movie and the beginning of a "going steady" relationship that would be the first for both of us. We got along well, had mutual interests and enjoyed each others' company. Like me, Mallory was a "spoiled" only child and very close to her family. She too was just nicely getting started in her first full time job as a secretary.
The year that followed was a period of emotional adjustment for us, experiencing many things for the first time and developing as individuals. As fate would have it, developing for me included a certain amount of wild oats sewing. I bought my first car, as did Mallory. I was meeting new people and even developed a short-term infatuation for a certain other young lady.
This was also a period of swallowing a bitter pill as I gradually realized that I was not destined to become the professional baseball player that I had hoped and, furthermore, I was not all that prepared for the working world. So much to deal with...So personally overwhelming. Eventually, at my suggestion, Mallory reluctantly agreed that we should split up and just be "friends". In retrospect, I know she was hurt, but maybe in the long run I did her a favor. I'm not quite sure.
Some time later, the clothing company that I was working for transferred me to head office in Toronto. I was in touch with Mallory on and off over the course of the next year and was even invited to attend her family's reunion at one point. As Mallory appeared to be growing increasingly distant, for good reason no doubt, I failed to recognize the writing on the wall. In the back of my mind I always felt that we would eventually get back together after I had "things sorted out" and there was a semblance of stability in my life. In fact, I confidently sort of took it for granted that she would always be there. In reality, I underestimated Mallory, allowed distance to grow between us, and lost a friend in the process.
The possibility of an anticipated picking up where we left off loomed large, however, when it was learned that I was being moved back to the St. Thomas store as assistant manager after a 20-month grooming period in Toronto. The first telephone call that I made upon arrival in St. Thomas was to Mallory. "Hi. I'm back!" I announceded excitedly. "Any chance we could get together tonight?"
"No" was Mallory's almost spontaneous reply.
"How about tomorrow night then?"
"Well, maybe sometime next week?"
A one word brush off, to be sure. Maybe it looked good on me!
I'm a slow learner, but I can (eventually) take a hint. I fought the impulse to add one more "...next month or perhaps next year, if you're available?" Instead, I just said "goodbye" and hung up the phone, shocked and confused.
As it turned out I would be busy the next year anyway. I'd be busy marrying a girl from across the street by the name of Anne!
The rest, as they say, is history.
Ah, the resiliancy of youth...and destiny.