Memories of another time, a different me

Tonight is a time of reflection. I find myself remembering an old boyfriend from college, Rob Greenway. He was that bohemian personality who was a musician with a genius IQ. I used to say that he belonged to the philosophy of the month club. He liked to try on different Eastern philosophies for size then, when you asked him why he did or didn’t do something anymore, he would reply that it went against …. (fill in the blank) philosophy. During the short time I was with him, I think he went through three different philosophical venues in about 3 months. His brain just couldn’t stop searching for a version of the truth that he could accept. He was a very gifted musician and song writer. He kept several spiral bound notebooks of songs he wrote with their annotated key/chord structures and his guitar tuning for each one. He loved to listen to various acoustic guitar players, then would sit sometimes for minutes, other times for hours figuring out just how they tuned their guitar to create the pieces that they did. Until I met him, I was naive about guitars and thought that they only had one way to be tuned, silly me.

Rob was a kind person, a romantic with a very quirky sense of humor and his own sense of honor. During that time I was going through an extremely shy stage of life and was fairly quiet.  I was that girl that would long for something but never quite get up the courage to go get it. While I was with Rob, he taught me that I was placing boundaries upon myself that I didn’t need. My grandmother said that I never quite learned how to smile as a child, but the neighbor said I smiled with my eyes only. Rob taught me to smile with my entire face, to let the joy out. We would sit under the oak trees on the old North Campus of UGA where he would play his guitar and sing to me the songs that he wrote while squirrels pelted him with acorns. He swore that they aimed just for him. I went along with it just to tease him.  He encouraged me to do the things that I only dreamed of but didn’t do because I had been trained to never step out of the box in public. He told me that acting outside of the box was every bit as fun as thinking outside of it was. He would laugh at and with me on those late nights when I would “set the balloons free” on North Campus after they had orientations and such. It was a simple joy, but so much happiness was derived from watching the balloons float up to the stars.

I haven’t seen or heard from him in 16 years or so. I ran into him at the Ren Faire one year as he was racing to his performance. We hugged and caught up as much as five minutes will allow you. He had traded in his sweet tenor voice and guitar for the penny whistle. He said that too many nights performing in smoky taverns had destroyed those perfect, clear notes of his. He went off chasing his dream, his performance, his love and craft. I wonder where he is now and then and if he finally found that dream of his.

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