“He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not”

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One of the earliest school games I remember was taking the petals off a daisy and repeating with each one “he loves me, he loves me not.” Of course we were hoping that we would end on “he loves me.” A similar game involved twisting the stem of an apple around in a circle. Each turn counted as a letter in the alphabet. When the stem finally fell off, the letter signified a boy’s name. It helped to long for a boy friend whose name was several letters in such as Fred or Gary. It was hopeless to get the stem to hang on until William!

We certainly found love to be a mystery, and I am not sure it ever became less of one as we grew into adulthood. We loved someone who didn’t love us back. Someone loved us who we didn’t love back. Two of us loved the same person. No one loved us. The angst went on and on it seems. Certainly pop music teems with stories of unrequited love. If all love was straightforward the musicians might have much less to sing about.

What pop music captures though is that sometimes the longing in unrequited love is nearly as satisfying as the desired reciprocity. Sometimes we could indulge in lengthy fantasies about someone without having to go through the actual ups and downs of a real relationship. This turmoil remains in my past. But here’s to the boys I longed for and never got and to the boys I passed over along the way.

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