First loves are perfection. They’re the kinds who look like Adonis. They court you, shower you with compliments, and hold the door open for you. They know all the right moves and the right things to say to sweep you off your feet. They romance you as if you’re the last one on earth, besides them of course, and recite poetry to you for hours on end.
They tell you how beautiful your smile is, and how enchanting you look in your sweatshirt and dungarees. Oh, yes! They see right through your teenage veneer and angst, and right into your soul. And, all they see is desire. Their’s, mostly.
First loves only have eyes for you and often, when Cupid’s arrow hits, you don’t even see it coming. Which is what happened to me.
I was 16 and in the 11th grade. I was a volunteer in the high school library. Having memorized the Dewey Decimal System, I was charged with putting back on the shelves all the books that had been returned to the library. Thankfully, my job was made easier by a little cart on which I could stack the books while I weaved my way around the aisles.
And, that’s what I was doing one day in early October when a senior, who I’d never met before, but had seen from a distance, approached me. He was just under six feet tall, with sleepy, twinkling brown eyes, and longish brown hair, reminiscent of Buster Brown, the mascot featured on the shoe by the same name. He also had a pock-marked face.
“Well, hello, honey. How come we’ve never met?”
Of course, when it’s your first, you have no idea how trite that sounds.
I turned around, looking to the left and to the right to make sure he wasn’t speaking to anyone else. And I replied with a “pithy” line of my own.
“Uh…I don’t know,” I said shyly. (I was very shy. VERY.)
He stood, blocking my cart, so I could not move to the next aisle.
“Can I help you find something? A book?”
“No,” he smiled broadly as he winked at me. “I think I’ve found all I need right here.”
As someone with olive skin, I don’t blush, but I’m pretty sure I turned six shades of red right then. “Well, um, excuse me, cause, um, I have to put these books away,” I practically fell over in embarrassment, I was stammering so much, and tried to maneuver around him, which was difficult, given the cart.
After my shift was over, I left the library to head to my next class. There he was, waiting in the hallway for me. This time, he pinned me to the wall and wouldn’t let me leave until I agreed to go out on a date. I explained that there was a school football game that weekend and I was part of some sort of pep team. He said he’d meet me there. Which he did.
The rest, as they say, is history. We were inseparable. I fell hard for my senior, who happened to have a car of his own, an Oldsmobile Plymouth or something to that effect. I was so smitten, I was sure we’d go off together into the sunset, and marry upon graduation.
He was a big fan of Shakespeare and would read sonnets to me, spending hours on the phone as he recited them all. He’d also write me notes of love. It was corny, I know. Worst, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. More than once, a teacher would pull us apart in the hallway between class, shaking his head about our PDA’s. But I didn’t care. Neither did he.
And, then came spring break. My parents insisted the family take a trip to Washington, DC, and see the sights. When I returned to school, a week later, my knight in shining armor had found someone else. She was a pretty, petite girl, with a head of soft brown curls, a turned up nose and a smattering of freckles. In other words, she looked like the proverbial girl next door, and, like him, she was a senior.
As he explained to me, they were deeply in love. And, just like that, it was over.
Let the agony begin.
So tell me, do you remember your first love?