Some love stories end happily, while others end tragically, but in Linda Moseley's case, it was a mixed bag, where she did meet her first love 44 years after they split up, but not really...
Linda sat in her living room, scrolling through Facebook as she had done every evening since her neighbor's daughter showed her how to use it.
Linda was 62 years old. When she was her neighbor's daughter's age, the most popular form of communication was the letters she and several of her friends used to write to their lovers and romantic partners.
As Linda was using her phone that day, it vibrated suddenly, and a notification flashed across her screen. Linda opened it, stunned by the messenger's name. But when she read the entire message, her eyes welled up, and a strange excitement, as well as sadness, lurked in her heart.
Linda split up with her first love while they were in college | Photo: Shutterstock
44 years earlier...
It was early January and Linda received a delivery of red roses. Her grandfather had recently passed away, so the flowers didn't seem completely out of the blue. But the name on the note that came with them did. The last place she had seen that name, Henry Zimmermann, was in her university yearbook.
"Dear Linda," Henry's card read, "I am a senior of yours, though I don't believe you know who I am. I'm sorry, but I'm a little shy, so I didn't have the guts to ask you out on a date right away. But you are the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. Would you like to go on a date with me?"
Linda blushed like anything when she read the note. Much against what Henry thought, she knew him too well. In fact, her entire batch did. He was famous for being an introvert, but he was a genius. Debates, quizzes, and anything and everything that had to do with extracurriculars, Henry was at the top of it.
She gently picked up the bouquet, went to her room, and placed it on her study table. When her mother asked her who sent it, she lied that it was for her grandfather. "Sorry, I lied, grandpa," the girl whispered a quick apology in her head, and then continued reading the note in her room.
Henry sent flowers to Linda | Photo: Pexels
"If the answer is yes, please meet me at the Hemington Road cafe at 10 a.m. I'll be waiting for you there. I look forward to seeing you there."
"Let's meet you, Henry," she thought as she set the letter down. She was interested in learning more about Henry as a person. She reasoned that, if nothing else, it would be a nice chat with him. But when she arrived the next day, she discovered Henry wasn't the one who'd sent the flowers.
It turned out he did have a crush on Linda, but he was too shy to admit it. He had told everything to his friend Paul, who set them up on a date. Linda couldn't stop smiling as she noticed Henry's nervousness that day, but that encounter did, in fact, mark the beginning of their romance.
They began seeing each other more frequently after that day, sometimes going on dates in cafes and sometimes casually, strolling through parks holding each other's hands when it was dark, and no one could see them.
Henry and Linda were madly in love | Photo: Pexels
However, Linda's mother spotted her and Henry together one evening, and it was that moment when everything fell apart for them.
"Have you gone insane, Linda?" her mother screamed. "Don't you realize he's a black man while you're white! Do you want us to suffer in the same way as the black people?"
"Calm down, mother," Linda retorted. "I love Henry, and I want to marry him! I don't care if you or the law tries to stop us. We're in love, and nobody can separate us!"
"Linda, don't be a fool!" her mother warned her. "You're not going to see him again, and that's the end of it! I'll talk to your father about it tonight."
Linda's father was a high-ranking government official at the time. He knew if anyone found out his daughter was dating a black man, he'd lose both his position and power, so he threatened Henry's family to stay away from his daughter, unbeknownst to Linda.
Linda was devastated after the breakup | Photo: Pexels
Henry was a scholar, and he was afraid that if he disagreed with Linda's father, he would lose his scholarship. He came from a very humble background, and his father ran a small car rental business.
So when he saw Linda days later, he broke up with her, lying that he no longer loved her and that whatever they had was just a casual fling. Linda was devastated, to say the least, and accepted her father's offer to relocate to another state to study. And that's how fate succeeded in parting them.
However, Linda's heart never agreed with what Henry had said. Even after moving to a different state, she continued to write him letters hoping he would respond one day. When that did not happen, she resolved to go back and find him. However, it was too late.
She discovered Henry's parents had died in an accident, and the boy had vanished without a trace.
Henry had vanished without a trace | Photo: Pexels
44 years later…
The name that flashed across Linda's screen was Charlotte, Henry's niece. Linda had come across a post on her friend's timeline a few weeks prior to this, where the young girl had posted a picture with Henry. She had recognized her man right away. How could she not, after all? It was Henry, her Henry. Her first, last, and only love.
Linda immediately sent a friend request to Charlotte that day, and luckily, she accepted it a few days later. Linda introduced herself as Henry's friend and expressed her desire to meet him. But a few weeks after she texted Charlotte, there had been no response, and Linda had begun to lose hope that she'd be able to meet Henry again.
However, one evening, Charlotte replied, and Linda's eyes welled up when she read the message.
"Hi, Linda!" it began. "I'm sorry it took a while to reply to your text. Unfortunately, Uncle's health was not doing well, so he was admitted to a nursing home a few years ago. I'm so glad to finally talk to you. Uncle always kept telling us stories about you."
Along with the message, Charlotte had attached the address of the nursing home. Luckily, it was in Texas, where Linda was currently staying. So that evening, the woman boarded a cab and headed to the nursing home without further ado.
Henry was staying at a nursing home | Photo: Pexels
However, when she arrived, she discovered Henry was in a terrible state. He appeared frail and weak, and his once-joyous face now bore a strange expression, as if the man was dead.
"Henry!" she exclaimed, tears welling up in her eyes. "How are you? It's me! Linda!"
Henry's pale expression brightened into a smile. "Do you know me?" he asked.
"Of course, Henry, I do. Remember when we met in college and you proposed to me..."
"But I never went to college," he cut her off. "I'm waiting for my parents. I don't know why they're taking so long."
Linda was taken aback. She couldn't figure out why Henry was bringing up his parents. "Henry...Your parents…."
Before she could finish her sentence, a voice cut her off. "There's no point in trying. He will keep saying the same thing," it said.
Linda turned around and saw a woman in her late 30s standing there. She was Henry's caretaker at the nursing home.
Henry's caretaker revealed he was suffering from Alzheimer's | Photo: Pexels
"He's suffering from Alzheimer's disease, ma'am," she informed Linda. "He's been here for 5 years. Sometimes, his brother's family comes and meets him, but otherwise, he's alone. He doesn't have any wife or kids. The trauma he experienced at a young age had a significant impact on him, and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease five years ago."
When Linda heard that, her heart sank. Now that she finally met Henry after all these years, he couldn't recognize her.
However, she was not ready to give up. She returned to the nursing home the next day and the next, sometimes with the same flowers Henry had sent her, and sometimes she'd sit beside him and tell him all of their stories, hoping he'd remember her, which he eventually did when he recognized her.
Linda was overjoyed that day, but when she went to see him the next day, it was the same old story.
Unfortunately, Henry never recovered, and he only had a few moments where he recognized her. But Linda never left him. Instead, she started their love story from the beginning.
Henry and Linda relived their youth | Photo: Pexels
She met the new Henry as a new Linda. They initially became friends, and Henry gradually developed a close bond with her. He recognized her as the old Linda at times and didn't at others, but they spent years together until Henry died at the age of 90.
Linda was obviously sad, but her heart rejoiced at the prospect of reuniting with her first love, who, like her, had never married and had been waiting for her.
Charlotte had told Linda the entire story when they first started talking that day, so the woman knew Henry always loved and respected her as much as she did.
What can we learn from this story?
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