It’s common for couples have a “song” they share together, something that signifies their feelings for each other. In my lifetime, there has been just one song with one guy and that was this song, with Tony Manning
I met Tony over a half a lifetime ago when we were both barely turned young adults, trying to discover our way in the world. At first sight of Tony’s calm blue eyes, his luminescant smile dappered with mischevious dimples, his make-a-girl-jealous shoulder length hair, and hearing his velvety voice, it was hard not to instantly like him. I was having some troubling times in my life that Tony and I spent many a late night talking on the phone conversations that always made me feel better. He was a good listener and very sympathetic with a kind heart to match.
Though our relationship was short lived, I fell fluttering butterfly in the stomach hard and cared very deeply for him. He was the first guy that the word “love” ever came to mind and though he broke my heart by getting back together with his ex-girlfriend, I never held any ill will towards him and wanted him to be happy. After we broke up, I vowed to never have a “song” with another again, for fear it would be tainted with bittersweet memories of what once was.
I hadn’t seen Tony since before I moved to the Adirondacks about 25 years ago and we both went our separate ways and lived our separate lives. Even if we never talked, he often crossed my mind as I would wonder how he was, if Life was treating him well, if he was happy. Often when I would think of him, those butterflies would retern and remind me how I felt for him.
Tony passed away on October 8th, and it’s only befitting that his heart gave out, being that he shared so much of it during his short 44 years here on Earth. Reading all of the heartfelt condolances and tributes on his Facebook page and his online obituary guestbook, it is clear just how much people loved Tony.
I shall miss Tony’s quirky Facebook posts and quick witted humor. I’ll miss teasing him about being Red Sox fan, being that I am a Yankees fan. Secretly, I hope the Red Sox make it to the world series this year because I know that would have made Tony ecstatic. The day after Tony passed away, the Red Sox stomped the Yankees 14-1 and clinched their playoff spot by beating them again the next night I’ll miss hearing Tony play drums, which he did so well. Most of all, I will miss his bright smile that could light up a room, and the kind heart behind that bright smile.
Tomorrow is the day that Tony’s friends and family will gather to say there final good-byes. Though I cannot be there in person, I shall be there in spirit, joining everyone in their grief of having to let go of such an awesome human. To Tony’s family, my deepest condolances to you, and to his friends and especially our mutual friends, I share your grief. If any of you happen to read this, please feel free to comment your favorite memories of Tony so that we may smile on such a somber day. Much love to you all.
Fare thee well, Tony Manning…whenever I listen to “I’ll Never Let You Go”, I will always be reminded of the special place that I hold in my heart with your name on it, and I shall smile, as I reminisce about the first guy I ever loved.