Sunday, April 15, 2012

Goodbye Larry

I had a boyfriend when I was a senior in high school and he was a freshman in college.  His name was Larry Cohen. We went to the same high school, but he'd been "going steady" with another girl for years and they broke up when they graduated.  He was brilliant and incredibly funny, I always had a crush on him. 

When he came home on his first Christmas break, we started dating.  Our first date was on Christmas Eve and Larry borrowed a car from one of our teachers (I can't remember how that happened) but we ran out of gas at 10 pm, when it was snowing and there weren't many gas stations open.  I remember Larry left me in the car and walked to find a gas station.  It was not the best first date, but we became a couple and I really liked him.

Almost every day I would receive a small white envelope in the mail from Larry that first year.  The letters were short and funny, all about college life - he went to Cornell - and he liked it, but pledging fraternities was a nightmare for him.  He ended up getting into only one - and it wasn't one of the fraternities he wanted to be in.  At the end of the school year, he dumped me, right before my senior prom, because he was having "an identity crisis."

I was crushed, it was probably the first time my heart was broken.  We got back together two years later and we had some great times, but in the end I broke up with him and his heart was broken.

We lost touch over the years - he got married very young, in grad school and he became a clinical psychologist and a professor.  He and his wife had two kids, a son and a daughter.  The daughter was born with infant seizure disorder and it was devastating.  She's grown now, but she has many physical and developmental issues to deal with.  Fifteen years ago, Larry had colon cancer, but he beat it.  We got together a few times over the past ten years or so, meeting for lunch or speaking on the phone.  We hadn't spoken since 2008 and recently I had been thinking of calling him. 

I found out yesterday that he died on April 1st.  He was a professor at the University of Delaware and I imagine his students loved his intelligence, his kindness and most of all his sense of humor.  I don't know too many people who could make me laugh the way Larry did.  We hurt each other, but I think we also loved each other.  I'm so sad that I never made that call.  Larry, I will miss you.

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