My First Love
In everyone's life there are different experiences; one of them is the first love. My first love was dazzling yet aching. Every time I go back to those memories, my eyes water and I feel like I could have done so much better. My story began six years ago, when I was only eleven. I was inexperienced and naive; I thought that there was no heart break in this world.
It was a Saturday when I first saw him. His brown caramel eyes made my heart skip a beat for I had never seen anything so breathtaking. His skin was a russet color and his hair was a shady black. That first moment when we saw each other is engraved in my head. I can still hear my heart throbbing loudly in my chest as his eyes landed on me in that small room. We stared at each other as he made his way to the seat in front of me and a smile flicked on his lips to seal that moment.
It took a year for me to talk to him; we became best friends but nothing more, nothing that I wanted. His life was mine, his thoughts were mine, he was my world and he didn't even know. Everyone said that we had something between us, he always laughed because he never notice how I shatter every time he notice someone else, but what really destroyed me was the day he broke the news that he was leaving and maybe never coming back.
Years passed and I never heard from him and because of that, feelings almost vanished along with him but there were still memories hunting me for what I once felt. Now that he is back, it is he who looks for me, it is he who begs for my lips after that one time our lips met for a first kiss, it is his heart that breaks, for I once promise myself that I would not drop another tear. As much as I want him vanish from my life again he would not go, and every time he's back I fall in to his arms becoming that delicate girl that I once was.
My love for him is like the waves in the sea, it comes and it goes. His name is now carved in my soul for he is part of who I am now. He made my cry but he also made me laugh. He was my first love and as much as I want that part of my story to end, deep inside I know that it isn't over.
I know. No one should begin a blog post on the topic of vulnerability with “Last weekend, in a yoga class…” But I’ve been trying to practice the fine art of not giving a shit this summer so I’m going to do it, even though I know you might stop reading right here.
So, last weekend I was in a yoga class, and the room was set up so the instructor was in the middle and the rows of mats on either side faced the center of the room. What this meant in practice was that once the room filled up, my mat was very close to my neighbors’ mats. And when we were in cobra pose—bellies down, backs arched, gazing forward—my face was just a couple feet from someone else’s face. I cannot imagine who thought arranging the room this way was a good idea. Apparently everyone else in the class was a Sunday morning regular and perfectly content to updog right into someone’s post-coffee breath.
I like yoga because, like all writers, I spend a lot of time in my head and yoga forces me to remember that I have a body. I like it because it’s good exercise, but it doesn’t have the existential demands of, say, rock climbing. (While doing yoga, for example, I never wonder if I might break my ankles). But I like it much less when the spritely instructor asks us to come into a deep lunge, raise our arms high in the air, and make eye contact with someone across the room. And then, if we want, to “turn up the corners of our mouths.” Here one is forced to either smile gamely at some sweat-soaked stranger across the way or to actively avoid their serene faces and out yourself as the one very uncool, very un-Lululemon-ed member of the group.
I harbor certain useful illusions about myself as an open person. I write about my life for public consumption. I am lazy about closing the bedroom curtains. If you asked me to tell you a secret, I’d have a hard time coming up with something my friends didn’t all already know. Once I was on a date and I mentioned that sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I lie in bed and say the prayer I said every night growing up: Now I lay me down to sleep…. “It’s not that I think someone is listening,” I said. “But I find the words soothing.” “Wow,” he said, “That’s a pretty revealing thing to say on a second date.” This had not occurred to me–given the context of the conversation, it seemed relevant to share. Conversations like this inflate my sense of my own openness.
the bride- and groom-to-be
Lately, however, I seem to be bumping up against the boundaries of my openness. This experience has taken various forms, but the most prominent one is my utter terror at giving a speech at my sister’s wedding. My sister is getting married! In two-and-a-half weeks! And I am so happy for her. I think this is the right thing for her right now. I think her boyfriend is the right guy (or, to be technical, because I staunchly oppose the soul mate myth, I think he is a right guy; I think he is great and they are great together).
When people ask me if she and I are close, I always tell them that she is my favorite person in the world. She is. It’s no exaggeration. I’ve even thought about mentioning this in my speech. But the idea of articulating even this minor anecdote in front of a room full of the most important people in her life makes me want to cry-slash-puke. It’s hard to explain my anxiety to people. They say, “But you’re a writer.” Or, “But you talk in front of groups of people for a living.” Yes, but I don’t regularly stand in front of my students and verbalize my deepest, most sincere joys and anxieties (while wearing a floor-length tulle gown, no less).
I am the oldest and my sisterly protectiveness seems to take the form of deep empathy. When she cries, I cry. I’ve done this my whole life. When she’s happy, I experience her happiness as if it is my own. I tell my sister I love her almost every day, but a wedding speech demands this love be articulated in a very specific format. It is essentially an invitation to publicly declare to the people you love the most that you find their happiness so overwhelmingly good that you can hardly stand it. This is a version of openness I am struggling to grasp.
For me, the gap between writing these things and stating them is expansive–expanding. I am pretty good at one and petrified by the other.
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