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You see the couple. They are the ones at a party or a function who are so lovey dovey as though they are in competition with everyone else who has the most perfect relationship. I find in my experience that the ones who are most overtly lovey dovey tend to be putting on a show.

There are many couples who I find have solid relationships and I wish for that for myself. However, even the best of relationships have problems. No relationship between two people is ever perfect, however there was a time in my life when it came damn close. It's too bad it only lasted 3 hours.

I have loved only three women in my life and have adored many others. But every one of these had its problems not the least, some bitter breakups. There was one exception. Her name was Fiona and she was 16. I was 18.

It was 1985. I was in Ireland, courtesy of a graduation present from my parents. It was the first time I spent more than 3 days away from the security of them. It was both scary and exciting. I arrived by plane in Northern Ireland on a Thursday and because of a scheduling conflict I had to take a train trip to Cork in the south of Ireland.

I had to take two trains to get there. The first one left Belfast and stopped in Dublin. It was an unusually warm and stormy morning. Unusual by Ireland standards. The skies erupted with lightning flashes and rumbling thunder. This may have scared some people from traveling because when it came time to board there was hardly anyone there.

I watched the lightning strike on the horizon through the train window. I wandered through the train cars to find a good place to sit. I passed by some private cars thinking I wasn't allowed to use them. On the way I passed only a few people including a vision of loveliness with black curly hair with intense red highlights. I went on my merry way until I got to the caboose. I backtracked my way through the various cars including the dining car and found myself in the first class compartments again. It was then I spotted this beautiful girl standing at the doorway of a first class compartment. The sliding door was opened and she was gazing wistfully at the compartment. She spotted me and asked if we allowed to use the compartment.

I felt bold because this splendid gift from God was talking to me and smiled. I said it couldn't hurt to try. So we lugged our baggage into this old fashioned wooden compartment and sat down in plush seats facing each other. The interior was made of dark stained wood with ornate molding. The seats were soft and dark red much like those round couches you see in those old hotels. I wish I was more appreciative of my surroundings but nonetheless my mood was light. I was enthralled and did not even notice the train starting to move.

It was warm and cozy in there. I was a little self conscious because I was wearing the hand me down clothes of my cousin who was 6 years older than me. I opened my mouth to talk and gave away my American background. We introduced ourselves and started to talk. My Aunt Eileen had recently gave me advice about eye contact and I could not think of a better opportunity to take this advice. Fiona's eyes were gorgeous. Bright, bright, bright blue. They were framed by the prettiest lashes I have ever seen on a female. Her voice was like the most beautiful song I have ever heard. Anyone who has been to Ireland and heard an Irish woman speak knows what I am talking about.

She was dressed casually which could not disguise her overall loveliness. She wore a wool sweater that hugged her body in a way that I can only dream. She wore a thick material skirt that ended half a foot below her knee. Although I was quite charming with my American accent I did not express myself in a way to do Fiona justice.

I was still naive to the romance game. I was still a virgin and had never even dated anyone at that point of my life. Nonetheless I was able to hold Fiona's attention throughout the trip. We laughed and I bought a Coke for each of us. The Coke was never more refreshing.

The train rumbled along and the sky opened up its warm sun. The scenery was beautiful but it paled in comparison to the sight that sat across from me in the compartment. The conversation never steered beyond naive flirting. I was new at this game, but did okay. I did the "reading palms" thing and was treated to the smoothest set of hands I would ever have the pleasure of holding. We gazed into each other's eyes...

We rumbled into Dublin. The train ride seemed like it accelerated more as we got to know each other. This unfortunately did not allow for me to get a phone number or address gracefully. So, when we pulled into the Dublin train station the relationship would end. She was to meet her friend and I needed to rush to another station to take another train to Cork. I helped Fiona get her stuff off the train and watched as she greeted her friend. She gave a quick glance in my direction and she was gone...

I stood there for a few seconds that seemed like an eternity. I watched as she went around the corner and disappeared from my life. I trudged my way to the other station and boarded the train to Cork. The trip was longer, more lonely, and was on a train that had less character. The train was not as nice, the coke less tasty and the scenery less beautiful.

I believe in destiny, though I don't know why. Destiny never seems to work in my favor. I would never see Fiona again, nor have I ever met someone who came close to giving me the joy she gave me.

I never had to worry about her materialism. I never had to worry about her parents approval. I never had to worry whether she cheated on me. I never had to worry about her going into huge debt. I never had to worry about her going out with my best friend. I never had to experience her nagging me. I never had to impress her with my wealth. I didn't have to worry about being a father. I did not have to plan a wedding that gets canceled.

In other words it was perfect for a guy who is afraid to expose himself to rejection.

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