“I worked so hard for that first kiss
And a heart don’t forget something like that
Like an old photograph
Time can make a feeling fade
But the memory of a first love
Never fades away.”
Sometimes certain conversations are a last and you don’t even know because in your mind it’s still the beginning. At the age of fourteen, unaware of what it’s like to love or to be loved, losing each other is the last thing that came to my mind. But apparently, there’s always the last conversation, the last kiss and yes, the last goodbye.
My “first love” wasn’t the perfect one but it wasn’t completely imperfect either. There were flaws but it had its beautiful moments too. When I think about it, I wish at times that I could just dial that forgotten number that was once the first number on speed dial and dig into that long lost memory and just catch up. Not to romance each other but just to “catch up”. How hard could that be? From being inseparable and madly in love, like we claimed, to not wanting to even talk? Maybe, at the time, ceasing all communication was the only way to get over what we once thought was our future.
We met at church. I first saw him at catechism classes and still remember feeling a tight knot in my stomach the first time we caught each others’ gaze. That whole day, I wondered why. I had no guy friends, I didn’t believe in the concept of teenage love or anything of that sort. I would laugh at my friends and all the drama they dealt with when it came to boys. But that one look seemed to change it all. For the following Sundays, all I did was look out for that boy singing in the choir with his shirt tucked in, hair in place and those eyes that grabbed my attention for a long while, a really long while. Each time he passed, I would shy out and not realise. In the bargain, yes, I did make a fool out of myself because everyone noticed. But when does that ever stop you from scanning the place with the corner of your eye in search of that someone?
Time passed, we had cordial interactions. There were times when I couldn’t say a word as opposed to me being the one who has so much to say otherwise. And I would hope that he made a move, that he noticed me someday, one day. And that day came and we talked and then…I was his girlfriend. The sound of that gave me a thrill I never felt before.
Over the two years that we knew each other, we broke up a couple times but somehow found a way to get back together. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, but it happened and not once but far too many times until the final blow in my face. From the boy I liked to the boy I knew, I’d say that was a journey I’ll always remember.
I will never hate him, I never can because he will always be my “first love”. He is the boy I shared my first kiss with, he’s the boy I would dream about at night, he is the boy I wanted to hold hands with and when we hugged I wished that moment would never end. And it may have been different for him but that didn’t change a thing for me.
He doesn’t mean much to me anymore. Nothing beyond the boy I once fell for and loved. And when I think back, I still remember him as that boy who was walking down the road and crossed my path. I had my share of anger and I have a “John Tucker Must Die” adaptation run in mind over a thousand times but then realised what I should have in the first place. That it was it was over and that I wanted him more due my stubbornness anyway. I loved him at one point in my life but not anymore – it’s different now.
He was the one who taught me to love and enjoy being loved and I will remember the first time I held his hand, his voice will remain in my head but as memories that built up that phase of my life. I won’t blame him for our relationship going awry, I can’t blame him for that because it’s not like I was blameless.
He broke my tween heart but that only helped me build my teen heart which experienced life differently and opened up to far more exciting experiences than ever before and I will always be grateful to him for that. In an unknowing way, he did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.
If we ever run into each other in the future, there’s bound to be an awkwardness and a rush of old memories, at least for me and there will be an embarrassing silence between us. But I guess, that’s just how we’ll always be now.
I don’t wish to be his friend again because we never started off as friends in the first place. But I don’t wish for any animosity to exist either. We may have been immature but there was a time when we planned our futures together and made many promises to each other. We failed to keep most of those promises. But when I said, I wished for his happiness and hoped for great joy to come his way, I meant it. And that’s a promise I hope to keep. When I hear about him being happy and in love, I smile. And the thought lasts just for a while. Knowing that it doesn’t affect me now, I can tell I’m in a better place now, one that’s good for me.
I’ve reached a stage where I hate telling myself that it wasn’t meant to be. At this moment, I believe, it was meant to be but just for that time. It was meant to be one of the many life lessons yet to unfold.
And after three years of that “first love” dissolving into thin air, I write about it today not because it affects me but because I realised that no matter what it will always be a part of me and coming to terms with that is what I need. There’s no one I can talk to about it. Those who were my friends at the time aren’t as close anymore and those who are close now would never understand. So in the hope of having someone somewhere read and understand what I mean when I say I will always love my “first love” and not be hated for that because I do not love him in the present but I love the boy I met down the road who I once fell in love with minus the apprehensions, unafraid of what to do. I will always love the thought of “that” boy.
I know that I can never love like that again, never as bravely as I did at the time. And many think that I’m being too careful when it comes to falling in love again but that’s far from being true. I’m just afraid.
Each love brings with it its own story and I look forward to a new script without signing off my rights to the old script because I owned it after all and I will always reminisce it. And so whoever it may be, I hope not to be misread but understood instead. I am not living in the past but he will always be a part of my present.