They say you never forget your first love, and I guess that’s true. Danny was mine.
Danny and I grew up in eastern Canada and began dating when we were 16. Although it was back in the 1960s when we first got together, I remember it like it was yesterday: The days of jukeboxes and youth centers, when teenagers hung out at restaurants with their friends before going to teenage dances. Danny and I dated for several months, but then it fizzled. You see, Danny had a bit of a “bad boy” reputation and my mother didn’t want us dating.
We both graduated from high school and went our separate ways. I moved to another city to do office work. Before long, Danny came back into the picture again and we dated until we went our separate ways.
Six months after our second breakup, I moved to Toronto. Four years soon passed since Danny and I had last spoke.
I was living on the top floor in a house in Etobicoke and although I had dated a few other people during the four years Danny and I were apart, it was always Danny who had my heart. One day, I had a strange feeling that I would see Danny that night. Somehow, I just knew.
At 10PM, I was getting ready for bed and decided against putting my PJs on because something was telling me Danny would be coming by. Every time I saw the reflection of car lights in the window, I would look out and check. Finally, at 1AM I fell asleep with my regular clothes on and Danny nowhere to be found. That was when the lady who owned the house I was living in angrily knocked on my door and told me there was someone there to see me.
It was Danny!
We rekindled our love and dated for six months until we split up for the third time.
Twenty-eight years later, I learned Danny was recently divorced. As if the stars were aligned, I had just broken up with my own partner. I was living in Florida at the time when Danny and I reconnected. I packed all my bags and moved to Georgetown, ON just to be with him. The move was sudden, but it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made. When I arrived, Danny gave me a gift: 28 red roses with a card that read: “28 roses – one for every year we’ve been apart. May we never be apart again.”
We were together for seven years before Danny became ill. Years earlier, Danny sadly lost a part of his kidney to cancer. Unfortunately, the cancer returned, this time in the esophagus. Sadly, we didn’t catch it early enough and Danny passed away one week after his diagnosis. He was 58 years old.
Even at the end of his life, Danny never lost his quick wit and sense of humor, qualities of his I am so honored to have experienced until his dying day.
It has been exactly five years since Danny left us, but I remember him every single day. In September, I will walk 25KM in the Shoppers Drug Mart OneWalk to Conquer Cancer benefiting Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in his memory. I wish we didn’t have to be apart so we could walk hand in hand. As our history reminds me, though, even if we may be apart, his memory will always be in my heart.
If Danny were here right now, I’d say to him: “If I could have one lifetime wish, one single dream come true, I would wish with all my heart for yesterday and you.”