Monday, September 7, 2009

Old Flames

For the last two weeks Los Angeles has been surrounded by terrible forest fires. More than 155,000 acres have burned with thousands of firefighters from all over the west coast working around the clock to protect our communities. And those brave men and women are slowly, but surely, making progress.

It is not a pleasant scenario. But for me, the fire season always triggers a trip down relationship memory lane – reminding me of the men who have been an integral part of my life and the role they have played in shaping who I have become.

And mostly because my first love – and possibly the first guy to love me – is a firefighter. He is married and still lives in the town we grew up in; and we haven’t been in touch for a long time. But I was there when he decided to devote his career to fighting fires, and without fail, when a big fire erupts in Southern California, I turn my thoughts to him and wonder how he is doing, who he has grown up to become, and if he might be just around the corner, fighting the fires that threaten the city I now call home.

Since I am still single, it is often easier to remember all of the nonsense that happens during years of dating. But tonight, while looking at the full plume of smoke hovering on the horizon, I have sweet thoughts of the 15 years of men - beginning with the firefighter - who have been a part of my life.

None of these guys was the “the one” for me, but much of what I know about loving another and what that involves, I learned from them. What they have given me in life experience, friendship, and lessons learned is invaluable for recognizing the right one when he comes along. A small part of each of them is intrinsic to who I have become and how I approach dating – and no matter the circumstance of how it ended, they all have a special place in my heart.

So wherever my old friend is tonight – whether back home in Vegas or over the hill fighting the Station Fire that has consumed LA, I wish him – and the others - well and take a moment to be thankful for all they have contributed to my life.


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