Friday, March 29, 2013

A Journey Into Yesterday

"She was so beautiful and kind, an extraordinary lady" Tom often thought to himself over the years, as the memory of Jane, his lost love, made his heart flutter. All these years, he had kept Jane in his heart, thinking of what might have been.

But at 50 years of age, Tom had grown into a wealthy man, as nobody could have foreseen 30 years earlier, when he was a struggling student.

At that long ago time, Tom pursued his romance with Jane swept up in the ardor and passion of youth, only to be turned away by her father, who never believed Tom would amount to anything, let alone to become the overlord of a real estate empire.

Instead, when Jane graduated from college, she found herself paired with a man with great potential as his family had money, high standing in society including important political connections. Jane and he married, he became a prominent attorney and with time, they had two children.

But he had a roving eye for the ladies, developed into a heavy drinker and he had a lack of ethics. In the bitter divorce that followed, much of the family money was lost in the legal wrangling and in poor business decisions that jeopardized even the home Jane and her children lived in.

Meanwhile, Tom married and had a lovely wife and a daughter that was the joy of his life. But through the grapevine, Jane heard Tom's marriage was troubled.

When Jane sent Tom a note asking to meet with him again after all these years, he was intrigued, his mind perhaps clouded by his workaholic ways, that were causing trouble in his marriage, for it is not unusual for a person who begins with no money to overachieve by outworking everyone else.

Tom invited Jane to have lunch in his office, and as she walked through the door, Tom could see and feel what made her so attractive those many years ago.

But as they talked, he was no longer driven by the ardor and passion of youth, instead disillusioned by the angry and grasping woman Jane had grown into, a woman now driven by an ego deeply hurt by a bad marriage.

When she spoke of old times, and old mutual friends from a bygone era, Tom realized how little they had in common, and how for decades, he had fantasized about a woman that never really existed, but one he had created in his own mind.

After listening extensively to Jane, Tom rose to his feet.

"Thank you so much for coming," he said to Jane as their meeting came to a close. "I hope your life becomes more rewarding for you," he added as he gave her a hug and walked her to the door. "When will we see each other again," she asked, incredulous that he hadn't responded to her beguiling looks.

"We won't," he replied softly, careful not to lead her on. "We have little in common anymore. But I wish you a good life and it was so nice to see you again." With that comment, Jane turned and left.

As the scent of Jane's perfume lingered in his office, Tom uttered a sigh and shook his head. And then with a silly smile, he thought of the reality he had just observed. The fantasy he had held for so long was now gone and Tom began to focus on his wife and daughter, the people who are the real treasures in his life.

He then cancelled the rest of his hectic schedule to spend time with them.

As he drove home Tom began reassessing the workaholic priories that had long dominated his life. He knew that too was just a manifestation of a difficult youth and no longer necessary. It was now time to grow into the man he could become, one whose priorities would from now on put his family first.

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