Lost Love

By Michael Armijo

I stood there in the courtyard, I waited.  Her little eyes, her bright smile, her warm hugs, I was waiting for them all.  It would be just a few minutes before that bell would ring, it would be just a few minutes before my little love of life would run out smiling, wrapping her arms around me proclaiming, “Daddy, I love you.”

The bell rang and I stood there.  I watched, I waited.  I sought her out, but she didn’t show.  Hundreds of kids ran by and I made eye contact with each and every one of them.  There wasn’t a chance in life that she would’ve gotten by me.  My mind knew what she looked like, what she resembled, any similarities in her characteristics.  I was like a machine, scanning the crowd, like a robot with a mission.  I was waiting for someone who made my life complete, who I had given my heart to, who I trusted my feelings, my spirit, my life.

After the four hundredth kid passed me by, I felt a sensation of panic.  I felt a sense of fear.  I was afraid that I had lost one of the only things in life that I trusted, an entity in life that I knew loved me, unconditionally, and who would be there to the end.

When I felt that panic, when I felt the fear of losing someone I really loved, I wondered why?  Why did I feel so fearful, why was I so afraid?  Why did I feel such a sense of panic?  And then I remembered what had happened …

I remember my mother, my father, my family.  I remember how much they loved me, how they took care of me.  I remembered giving my eight-year-old heart to those who I thought I could trust.  And then I remembered how one day my life changed.  I still don’t recall how, and I still can’t understand why.  But for some strange reason, when I was growing up, my life was filled with love and joy, and then one day it was all taken away.  All that I knew as a child, all that I trusted, was ripped from my heart, and then ripped from my soul.  And no one explained to me why.

After the inconsistency of that environment, I found new love from girlfriends in high school.  And then they too, like my family, left me, and took parts of my heart with them.  I remember, at 16 years of age, standing in the aisle of Sav-on stocking shelves, while tears poured from my eyes.  I was hurt, I was devastated, I was alone. Again, someone whom I gave my heart to had taken a piece of my inner self.  And again, they left without a word.

It took so long for me to love again, to fully trust people, but somehow I did. I began to give my heart, or what was left of it, to others whom I felt I could trust.  I slowly began to rebuild my life, and finally I had.  Or so I thought…

The way I felt that day when I couldn’t find my daughter, that sleeping giant of fear woke up and looked around.  I remembered the pain, and the sorrow of how I felt, I remembered how much love hurt.  I guess that when I waited for her, those feelings of abandonment returned, and I was so afraid of losing yet another love in my life.  I didn’t have much heart left to lose, I couldn’t stand to go through what I had experienced so many times, and so many years ago.  But I faced those demons of fear and abandonment and grew from my pain.  I simply refused to let my past interfere with my future.  I’ve worked too hard to let irresponsible acts of yesterday interfere with what I’ve built today. That day, I found my daughter, and I faced my fears.

And as each day passes, I thank God for the opportunity to feel feelings and emotions that some people will never feel.  I thank God for being able to enjoy my life with a smile and a hug.  More importantly, I thank God for allowing me to understand that someday I may lose the ones I love, but not to fear, because today is the day I enjoy their presence, their love, and their joy.  And when they’re gone, I still have wonderful memories that I will make today, so that I can remember tomorrow.  And some day, I know God will give the world a beautiful place in their soul, like he has given me.  A place that sits in my heart free from past pain, free from fear and abandonment, and free from lost love.