THE BE-SIDES: MY FIRST LOVE
Mid March in New York is like a 19-year-old girl, temperamental and powerful: the ultimate tease. The frigid winds give way to buds in bloom and the promise of warm and sunny skies are just around the corner. I made it a mission to take full advantage of this seasonal version of blue balls last weekend and went for a midday run. While pounding the sidewalk in slow, steady beats, ‘Landslide’ popped up on my ipod and as my all time favorite song permeated my eardrums the timbre of Stevie Nicks’ voice sparked tenderness in my heart and suddenly the familiar tune prompted visions of a familiar face: my first love.
For anyone who has ever let themselves fall in love they had to have allowed themselves to do so a first time. The euphoria of that first brush with amor is unparalleled and the devastation left in the wake of a first heartbreak is never again matched. For me, the first love was a trusted friend on the brink of becoming something more and that is what it remained.
He was not my first crush, or my first boyfriend. He was not even my first lover, but he was my first love and my relationship with him changed the course of my life by simply taking place.
I have come a long ways since the days of harmless fondling on the living room couch in the flickering light of a late night movie. In the time since my youthful dalliances I have dated my fair share and in that decade I have met smart men. I have met sexy men. I have met accomplished, articulate, dynamic men. Yet, no matter how many of these men I meet, the boy from junior high still matters, still inhabits rent-controlled property in my heart. And no matter how many other men dance their way in and out of my life and gain and lose my affections the first tenant of my heart has left an indelible mark.
Often times when a man is staring deep into my eyes in some sort of feeble attempt at seduction or perhaps even genuine human interaction the baby browns of the boy from my youth come to mind. He was neither suave nor skilled in the ways of romancing, but he was fraught with the honesty and hope of youth and I loved him.
He once told me he loved me. While driving down the street in his mother’s minivan he turned to me and said, “I am in love with you,” to which I wittily replied something between a guttural moan and a sarcastic retort. Don’t get me wrong. I am no Kevin Arnold perpetually pining for my Winnie Copper, but I do feel that differently about him.
At the time of his profession I was scared. Scared to say it; scared to feel it, but years later the fear has subsided and given way to nostalgia and palpable chemistry – one we still share when confined in the same space. Although reticent back then, while still on the precipice of adulthood, I can now say with absolute certainty that, not only did I love the boy with the sly smile and baby browns, but I still love him, only now I love the man with the salt and pepper hair and crow’s feet.
Men may come and men may go. Love also ebbs and flows. But there is no comparison to the boy from junior high; my first love.
B.E. is a photographer and aspiring freelance writer residing in New York City.
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