A voice from my past …

by Laura

The picture

Laura & Richard, 1981

In order to tell the next part of my story I have to go back a bit in time. It may not make sense to you at first but stay with me. It will.

Back in the summer of 1980, I met a young Marine and fell in love. He was so handsome and strong and wonderful. He treated me like his princess and I adored him. We spent the summer riding around on his motorcycle, going to Disneyland and the beach. It was wonderful! But there was a problem… I lived 450 miles away. He lived in the same town as my dad and I could only see him when I went on visitation to my dad’s place. But love knows no distance. We corresponded and talked on the phone and every time I went to visit dad, Richard and I were an item. I really loved him and he felt the same towards me. We just fit each other like a hand in a glove. Every summer we had more fun than the last.

When I was back home with mom, Richard and I had an agreement. We would date other people, all the while knowing that when we were able, we would get back together. It worked out really well. He was like my best friend, boyfriend and confidant all rolled into one. After we had “been together” for a year, I knew that I was meant to be with him for the rest of my life. I planned to marry him someday, maybe after college. I wasn’t worried about it because I KNEW he was the one for me.

After two and a half years of this relationship, I met Dale. I was totally swept off my feet (and my moorings) by him and his religion. I turned my back on everyone who loved me and followed after Dale and his god completely. But I still had a special spot in my heart for Richard. He was my first love after all. Remember your first love? Most people do. Rarely does one forget their first true love. I sure didn’t.

Dale and I were engaged when one day we went to work at a craft fair in San Francisco for some friends of my moms. Richard happened to be there for his work. I hadn’t seen or talked to him for a while. I remember he came to the fair and met me. I took my lunch break and we went outside to talk, but not before I introduced him to Dale. They sized each other up as they shook hands.

Richard and I sat outside together and talked. He was worried about me. He cared so much for me. He didn’t want to see me throw away my dreams and plans like this. He took my hand in his and looked deeply into my eyes, “Just come with me right now. Fly back to L.A. with me. We can leave right now.” He was so worried about the path I was going down. He desperately wanted to do something to stop me.

I just looked at him and said, “I can’t”. And that was that. Many times over the years I wished I had gone with Richard. Many times I wished I had followed through with my plans and dreams. Instead, I followed a man and let his plans and dreams become mine.

———-

In 1993, about ten years after seeing Richard at the craft fair, I was in my kitchen when the phone rang. I was living far away from my family and friends. We were out in the country on the farm. When I answered the phone, I was stunned to hear the voice of my first love. Richard! I knew it was him as soon as he said my name. He had found me on the Internet and was wondering how I was. He was happily married and doing well. I was pregnant with my seventh child at the time and told him I was doing well too. We exchanged pleasantries and he told me where he was working. Then he said if I ever needed anything or needed to get a hold of him, I could always call his work. I thanked him. We hung up. I sat. And thought. I took emotional inventory of myself at that moment. As a Christian wife and mother, I was surprised and pleased that talking to Richard didn’t make me a discontented, depressed and “miserable to be where I was” person. At least not at that moment, not even that day.

The next day, however, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and my life and what I could have done, been, seen, accomplished, experienced. It was a very difficult time for me. As I looked around at my falling down house where eight people lived with only one bathroom, a house in the throes of a never ending remodel, and me with my swollen ankles and swollen belly, I was very discontent. I wanted to be somewhere else. That somewhere else included Richard and I missed him fiercely.

It took me a few days to get over that but I finally did. During my 25 year marriage to Dale, I never could completely let go of Richard. I would dream about him and then wake up terribly disappointed that it wasn’t true and feeling guilty that I felt that way. I would think about him on my first born’s birthday…as it was his birthday also. I would console myself at times singing the special song to myself that was “our song”. And I loved to talk to our neighbor whose name was also Richard because then I could speak Richard’s name and not feel guilty. I loved how it felt on my tongue.

In my heart, I knew I should have married Richard but now I was a “mom of many” and a Christian and I shouldn’t even be thinking about these things!!! Sometimes I could guilt myself into not thinking about him…sometimes I couldn’t. As Dale became more and more distant, it became harder for me to turn the memories of Richard away when they came to mind. I was so empty and emotionally distraught. I felt awful that I would have dreams about Richard but yet I was comforted by them as well. I’d tell myself that I couldn’t control what I dreamed about anyway.

———-

In January of 2007,I had been counseling with Glenn for about a year and a half. I was in my kitchen when again the phone rang. A man’s voice said, “Is this Laura Caplan?” “It used to be.” I replied. I knew who it was as soon as he spoke my name. It was Richard…my old boyfriend…my first love..the man I had thought I would marry one day. I couldn’t believe my ears!! I hadn’t heard from him in 10 years and here he was telling me a bad joke. (Celine Dion walks into a bar. The bartender says,”Hey, why the long face?”) It was so like him! Oh wait….he was asking me something..something about meeting him for lunch. I had a hard time focusing on what he was saying. The sound of his voice was almost intoxicating. I was so stunned! Now what was he saying?? Focus Laura! Oh yes, he was going to be in my area for work and wondered if we could meet for lunch? WOW! I paused and I said I would let him know. I had to ask Dale for permission but I didn’t tell Richard that. We agreed that we would email and I would tell him soon if I could meet him or not. I got off the phone with my heart racing and the flush in my cheeks quite noticeable, I am sure.

Now here I was, faced with the opportunity to see this man again after twenty something years. I wondered what he looked like, if his smile was still the same, if he still told bad jokes. I wondered if he had changed as much as I had. I was certainly a different person from the wild horse of a girl he used to know. I was excited and terrified to approach Dale about it. But I did it anyway.

I asked Dale if we could talk a minute in private. In our room, I said, “You’ll never guess who just called me!” He said, “I know who it was, it’s written all over your face. It was Richard.” I was shocked that he could tell. I mean, it could have been anyone but Dale knew that it was Richard. I charged on…I told Dale what Richard had proposed and asked if he thought it would be okay if I met him for lunch. Dale was getting ready to go back to Brazil for five weeks. I was in favor of his leaving this time because he seemed so lost and without purpose since his return from Brazil two years earlier. I wanted him to just figure out what he wanted to do and do it. He was going to see if he could find some way that we could minister as a family in Brazil. He would be out of the country the day that Richard and I would meet for lunch.

Dale really couldn’t have stopped me from going as he wouldn’t even be around. I really didn’t even need to tell him…. but being the dutiful, submissive Christian wife, I asked his permission. And held my breath. He said, ”I know how hard it is for you to let go of anyone and how you always like to keep in touch with people. So, if you don’t think it will cause you a problem….go ahead.” I am sure inside I clapped my hands with glee and squealed for joy. Outside, I thanked him and went about my business.

I emailed Richard and told him yes, I would meet him for lunch. The date was about 3 weeks away. Richard and I started emaling each other. At first it was “do you remember this?”, “remember when we did that” and those sorts of innocent exchanges that one would have with any old friend. Yet as time passed, the tone of our conversations changed. I was still being rejected and felt abandoned by Dale. I was still crying myself to sleep at night feeling like I was being punished by having to sleep alone. I was still crying out to a god who didn’t seem to hear me and my heart was so dry and withered. I felt so ugly, fat and unnecessary. Unloved and unwanted.

And here was a man, saying nice things…I was in trouble….

Laura’s Story:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13

More from Laura:

  • Anonymous

    You – fat and ugly? You are so attractive!

  • Anonymous

    You – fat and ugly? You are so attractive!

  • Pearl

    So, I’m assuming that this Richard you speak of and the Richard you’re with now are one and the same? If so, that would be (dare I say) romantic! (Okay, I usually don’t say such things, but I couldn’t think of another way to word it).At the end of my previous relationship, I started to get close to my now-fiance, and I was experiencing things similarly to how you described – especially the dreams. I’d start to wake up thinking I was next to him (thinking my then-boyfriend’s sleeping form was his), be thrilled, and then the grogginess would diminish and I’d feel incredibly guilty when I realized what it was. I was in a happy, healthy relationship, but I now admit that it had lost its spark and it would have ended, sooner rather than later.So long story short, I have an idea of what you felt on those mornings, but can’t imagine how much worse it was for you being in an abusive relationship and feeling unloved and unwanted.

  • Pearl

    So, I’m assuming that this Richard you speak of and the Richard you’re with now are one and the same? If so, that would be (dare I say) romantic! (Okay, I usually don’t say such things, but I couldn’t think of another way to word it).At the end of my previous relationship, I started to get close to my now-fiance, and I was experiencing things similarly to how you described – especially the dreams. I’d start to wake up thinking I was next to him (thinking my then-boyfriend’s sleeping form was his), be thrilled, and then the grogginess would diminish and I’d feel incredibly guilty when I realized what it was. I was in a happy, healthy relationship, but I now admit that it had lost its spark and it would have ended, sooner rather than later.So long story short, I have an idea of what you felt on those mornings, but can’t imagine how much worse it was for you being in an abusive relationship and feeling unloved and unwanted.

  • madame

    Laura,Do you write sitcom and soap opera scripts? (I’m not comparing your story or your writing to the quality of a soap opera!). You know how to create suspension, my dear!

  • madame

    Laura,Do you write sitcom and soap opera scripts? (I’m not comparing your story or your writing to the quality of a soap opera!). You know how to create suspension, my dear!

  • Edwinda

    Oh goodness! I am intrigued! And although I have a feeling that I know where this is going, I can’t wait to read more…

  • Edwinda

    Oh goodness! I am intrigued! And although I have a feeling that I know where this is going, I can’t wait to read more…

  • Anonymous

    Richard is a hottie. And you are absolutely adorable.Michele

  • Anonymous

    Richard is a hottie. And you are absolutely adorable.Michele

  • Jadehawk

    *gets distracted by picture* rawr…..ahem. what I actually wanted to say was: I am actually really surprised that Dale said yes, even though he seemed to know quite well what was going on in your head…? strange.well, anyway, I’m starting to understand some things about your situation. after all, neglect is invisible except to the one being neglected, while “cheating in your heart” etc. apparently isn’t. so while I don’t agree, I can now understand a bit more why your kids feel the way they do (i.e. at least what they’ve written on this blog)*hugs*hope it’ll all work out in the end!

  • Jadehawk

    *gets distracted by picture* rawr…..ahem. what I actually wanted to say was: I am actually really surprised that Dale said yes, even though he seemed to know quite well what was going on in your head…? strange.well, anyway, I’m starting to understand some things about your situation. after all, neglect is invisible except to the one being neglected, while “cheating in your heart” etc. apparently isn’t. so while I don’t agree, I can now understand a bit more why your kids feel the way they do (i.e. at least what they’ve written on this blog)*hugs*hope it’ll all work out in the end!

  • Lou Ann

    Laura, I am so happy for the two of you, that you found each other all over again!Ah, First Love…what a blessing! May you have asolutely YEARS and YEARS of being together and loving each other.Lou Ann

  • Lou Ann

    Laura, I am so happy for the two of you, that you found each other all over again!Ah, First Love…what a blessing! May you have asolutely YEARS and YEARS of being together and loving each other.Lou Ann

  • aimai

    One of my cousins by marriage, married to a cousin of my grandfather, had a long married life and when she was about sixty or seventy her husband died. And her old boyfriend from highschool bumped into someone who knew that she was living in Paris. And he went to Paris to get her. And those two old people, in their seventies, moved in together and had twenty more wonderful years together. Sometimes something is just right, and if you are lucky you get a second chance.aimai

  • aimai

    One of my cousins by marriage, married to a cousin of my grandfather, had a long married life and when she was about sixty or seventy her husband died. And her old boyfriend from highschool bumped into someone who knew that she was living in Paris. And he went to Paris to get her. And those two old people, in their seventies, moved in together and had twenty more wonderful years together. Sometimes something is just right, and if you are lucky you get a second chance.aimai

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad it ended up with you reuniting with your first love (after 11 years I married my first love with whom I started out having a long distance relationship in highschool). I have to say though, I’m not surprised Dale gave his permission. Sounds like an answer to his prayers, a way to end the marriage without making him the “bad guy” without him appearing to have done anything against the principals of the community you were in, it gives him the perfect victimized out if you leave him for Richard. It also puts him in a righteous light for the custody battle. I’m glad that it ended up meaning freedom for you, but I have a hard time seeing him saying yes as anything but more manipulation. Hope I’m not giving away the next chapter!-stbc

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad it ended up with you reuniting with your first love (after 11 years I married my first love with whom I started out having a long distance relationship in highschool). I have to say though, I’m not surprised Dale gave his permission. Sounds like an answer to his prayers, a way to end the marriage without making him the “bad guy” without him appearing to have done anything against the principals of the community you were in, it gives him the perfect victimized out if you leave him for Richard. It also puts him in a righteous light for the custody battle. I’m glad that it ended up meaning freedom for you, but I have a hard time seeing him saying yes as anything but more manipulation. Hope I’m not giving away the next chapter!-stbc

  • EmK

    –stbcI thought the exact same thing! You expressed it so perfectly, I don’t have to.As soon as Laura wrote about asking Dale for permission, I imagined the gears in his head clicking and him thinking of Brazil again–not in the literal sense that he thought “now I’m free! My evil plan is perfect!” I actually don’t even think he had to necessarily think about it on a conscious level. To me, it seems likely that it was all subconscious and that he may not even have known WHY he might have felt some relief at telling you “yes.”Oh, and Laura, this story sounds like it’s heading toward one of those “too strange to be fiction” stories that involve happy accidents and marvelous coincidences. I know I have no clue about the details, and I reconize the incredible amount of pain all involved must have gone through (you, Dale, the kids, Richard, and perhaps Richard’s wife)…But even given all that, from where I’m standing, it really does sound like a breathtakingly romantic love story.And dang, but you two make one good-looking couple! What an amazing pic.

  • EmK

    –stbcI thought the exact same thing! You expressed it so perfectly, I don’t have to.As soon as Laura wrote about asking Dale for permission, I imagined the gears in his head clicking and him thinking of Brazil again–not in the literal sense that he thought “now I’m free! My evil plan is perfect!” I actually don’t even think he had to necessarily think about it on a conscious level. To me, it seems likely that it was all subconscious and that he may not even have known WHY he might have felt some relief at telling you “yes.”Oh, and Laura, this story sounds like it’s heading toward one of those “too strange to be fiction” stories that involve happy accidents and marvelous coincidences. I know I have no clue about the details, and I reconize the incredible amount of pain all involved must have gone through (you, Dale, the kids, Richard, and perhaps Richard’s wife)…But even given all that, from where I’m standing, it really does sound like a breathtakingly romantic love story.And dang, but you two make one good-looking couple! What an amazing pic.

  • cogito ergo patior

    I love this pic because it really shows how emotionally close you are. There is a communion evident, even though you aren’t looking at each other. :) It is a wonderful blessing to be loved. :)

  • cogito ergo patior

    I love this pic because it really shows how emotionally close you are. There is a communion evident, even though you aren’t looking at each other. :) It is a wonderful blessing to be loved. :)

  • Maria F

    OMG, He is hot (& I'm a lesbian ! LOL) Sorry I don't have more articulate things to add, but other posters have. I'm in school and my brain is fried, but I wanted to say "Hi"

  • Maria F

    OMG, He is hot (& I'm a lesbian ! LOL) Sorry I don't have more articulate things to add, but other posters have. I'm in school and my brain is fried, but I wanted to say "Hi"

  • Anonymous

    Richard sounds like a truly sweet, caring, wonderful man. And your story is so well-written and beautiful. KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    Richard sounds like a truly sweet, caring, wonderful man. And your story is so well-written and beautiful. KR Wordgazer

  • Sam

    So, does Richard still look like he could grace the cover of a romance novel? Congratulations on finding each other again. May you have many happy years together.

  • Sam

    So, does Richard still look like he could grace the cover of a romance novel? Congratulations on finding each other again. May you have many happy years together.

  • Anonymous

    He is hot, and really a sweetie, and always a great guy. Laura got a great catch and he got the one that got away. I should know he’s my brother. I am going anonlymous because I can’t figure out how to select the profile. Oh yeah he’s always been tech savy to, I should ask him! The youngest “chick”.

  • Anonymous

    He is hot, and really a sweetie, and always a great guy. Laura got a great catch and he got the one that got away. I should know he’s my brother. I am going anonlymous because I can’t figure out how to select the profile. Oh yeah he’s always been tech savy to, I should ask him! The youngest “chick”.

  • Anonymous

    LauraThis is better than Days of Our LIves. And I was always glued to that soap….Can’t wait for the next episode. My life is SO boring.

  • Anonymous

    LauraThis is better than Days of Our LIves. And I was always glued to that soap….Can’t wait for the next episode. My life is SO boring.

  • Anonymous

    We should all click on this link below. I was reading quite a bit of Vyckie and Laura's blog today and when a friend shared this with me I thought of so many things, one was the words of this song are so appropriate. Never count anyone out. Oh if you are over 40 this video is not optional.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nox2DRCAKxk&feature=relatedOregon again


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