I read this quote last night when I couldn’t sleep, and it had me thinking.
I’m a weird realist-idealist hybrid. I grew up reading romance books and believing in love as a beautiful, magical thing. At the same time, I recognized that there was a difference between liking someone and loving them; the cute boy in class that made me laugh was likable, but there was no depth in my feelings for me. Love would be far more obvious, and far less fickle.
My first love was at the age of twelve or so. As an adult, that age seems really young and immature and silly; however, that’s only because we (adults) tend to forget what it felt like when the storms of puberty were raging. Adults often brush off the experiences of teenagers as childish and unimportant, as if they’re less real. It’s one of the biggest causes of disconnect between parents and their children, but I digress.
I fell in love with a boy who made me glow. He knew how to make me laugh and infuriate me; he also knew how to listen to my secret hopes and dreams (and shared his own). He was a sweet boy, staying with his aunt for about a year while his parents relocated or deployed or something similar; I never really paid attention to that detail. I knew our time was more temporary than the usual armybrat countdown, but that was okay.
My best friend at the time was a girl who lived two doors down from this boy. She had me sleepover regularly, and she was constantly trying to play matchmaker and get us alone together. The strangest thing was how upset he would get when she did that; he enjoyed being around me (alone and with others around), except when she tried to make him do so. It was confusing! I thought, perhaps, he didn’t appreciate her meddling anymore than I did.
Life was far more complicated than I’d imagined, and love was not kind. Long story short, I was betrayed. The boy had been dating my “friend” since before we’d met, but she’s sworn him to secrecy. He attempted to be loyal and keep quiet for her sake, and she had fun watching him squirm as I was tossed in his lap over and over. The day I found out was also his last day in our town; he’d intended to leave without saying goodbye, but my “friend” had decided that wasn’t any fun.
At the end of it all, after a few hours of explanations and arguments, I was left broken. My heart was broken, because my first love had been a long and elaborate lie. My trust was broken, because my closest friend had goaded me on for her own amusement. My self-esteem was shot, because I was clearly a foolish twit to have believed in anyone in the first place.
The next few months were quiet and lonely; I stopped hanging around that false friend and mostly dragged myself from school to home and back again out of habit. I wrote two long, detailed stories during that time frame; writing has always been a vehicle of escape from reality for me.
When I think back to my first love, I remember it all like a rainbow of emotions. Sharing the story reminds me of the love and fun and laughter, but it also reminds me of how betrayal tastes bitter on the tongue. I’m surprised, actually, that I didn’t develop trust issues from the whole damned thing!
That said, my second love is harder to pin down. I loved small for a couple of years after that, never letting myself sink in deep yet never closing myself off to the feeling. When I did dive into loving someone again, I ended up in a relationship that started with an inspiring amount of happiness and ended with my heart and soul in an abused wreck on the floor. The only good thing out of that relationship was the way it molded me into who I am today; every misstep and break and scar shaped me into the loving and gentle spirit I am now, and I’m grateful for it.
So… yeah. That quote. I think some people really do need that second love to remind them that love still is, that is still exists and is worth accepting and sharing with others.
But some of us will love with wild abandon, damn the consequences. Some of us will love over and over, kissing the hand that bruises our hearts and knowing that we are richer for the experience (good or bad). Some of us will never stop loving, because it shines out from us like the blazing summer sunlight, warming everyone and everything around us.
For some of us, the first love isn’t really the first; instead, it’s the starting gun in a race to love everyone and everything.