Monday, October 30, 2006

Oh, Michael.

I am happily married to my husband of 16 years. I have a really neat 10 year old boy, a moderately successful career, and several really good friends. By contrast, college was a very rough time in my life. I had no idea how to be me, just could not get comfortable in my own skin. I left college behind for the most part. Thank GOD for my thirties! That said, I did register with, and every so often check out the site to see who else has registered. This is how I learned that Michael Lawrence Maguire died. July 14, 2003. All these years later, why should this news bother me at all?

Over 20 years ago, when I was a 19 year old freshman at The University of Maine at Machias, I met a 26 year old senior named Michael Maguire. I think it was around late October, but I'm not sure anymore. He comforted me over a break up with a different guy. My hero. Fell head over heels in love with him. We went everywhere, did everything together, it seems. we rented an apartment (right next door to my Ecology professor) the summer after my freshman year, to the complete horror of my mother. He graduated midway though my sophomore year. It broke my heart, and I handled the separation, ahem, very poorly. Self medicated with wine and sex. We got back together, he visited me in NY, then the breakup was permanent. He left. No explanation, no goodbye, nothing. Just gone. I was 21 at the time.

Twice in the intervening years, once as recently as about 2 years ago, I thought sure I saw him. It stopped me in my tracks. He made such an impression on me. I remember how he held a pencil, his handwriting, what he ate (and sometimes drank) for breakfast, the way he walked, wore a baseball cap, the car he drove. My forty year old self mourns the loss of this man anew. But in a different way. Not the love sick idiot I was then, who couldn't handle a hangnail. But with a little more sight. He was a good man, with a good heart. Somewhat haunted. Clever. Smart. Funny. VERY Irish. An Alice McDermott novel waiting to be written. I hope he found some peace. I wish I could have said goodbye.