Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Shall we?

Let us speak of first love.

You know the one I mean. Whoever it was--his or her name sprang immediately into the front of your mind. No matter how long ago, how far away; no matter how very different you were, then.

For the most part, I think the notion of romantic love doesn't do us many favors. I'd like very much to say I don't even believe in it--that it's really a mixture of pheromones, chemistry, and youthful naivete. I'd like to say that . . . but I don't entirely believe it.

The really strange thing is that no matter how you go on--how well or how permanently you love, later in life--you never forget. Somehow, the memory doesn't detract from other loves, other places, either; rather, the memory only adds to who you've become.

For me, it was Nina. I think I was all of about 20 years old.

She lived in the room next to mine, my last year in the dorms. She played the strangest music, very loud, at the most ungodly hours.

She had thirteen piercings in her left ear, seven in her right. She wore a lot of black, smoked Virginia Slims, and drove this horrible and enormous green car that she had named; for the life of me, I can't remember what she called it, though. She piloted the thing very fast, and in highly alarming fashion--stomping the accelerator and laughing like a lunatic at the smaller cars and pedestrians scrambling to get out of her path. I mostly clutched the dashboard and the armrest, and tried to seem both relaxed and worldly-wise.

She got me drunk one afternoon, kidnapped me from my advanced symbolic logic class and took me to the mall where she had the top of my left ear pierced.

It was excruciating. I very nearly passed out in the chair right there in the earring kiosk, in fact.

But I still wear a discreet stud through the hole, even now, when I am closer to 40 than to twenty.

To my enduring regret, I never told her how I felt.

Your turn. Tell me about your first love.


Stacia said...

Oh, sure. Next time ask something personal.

Hmmm...I guess Chris. Looking back I still see why I was so crazy about him. And I still see how I might have had a chance if I hadn't fallen so completely head-over-heels in a nanosecond.
That was the first unrequited one.

The first real "We're in love" was Emil. Totally and completely. We even wore each other's clothes (not as hard as it sounds, because we were both rail-thin.) I quit my job when we very first got together and we didn't spend a night apart for months. And we were eventually together for two years. And it was a blast.

And then...things just change, and we both did, and we were very young (both 21 when we got together), and I wanted someone more responsible and he didn't want to be that someone. So there you go.

And now I'm married and all that stuff. But he wasn't a first love, so I'm not talking about him.

Lisa Spangenberg said...

Reader, I married him.

I wasn't at all interested in serious dating, or marriage.

But then, I met him . . . and, well, he was interesting. And he stayed interesting. And I liked being around him . . .

Anonymous said...

I, uh, Mac, are you nuts! I mean that kindly.

Hmm. Well, mine is no longer alive. Danny died 11 years ago this month.

It was an interesting love to say the least. He didn't know what he wanted until it was too late.

There have been numerous infatuations before and since, but, nothing like Danny.

As for now, the future, who knows.

Anonymous said...

I married mine, too. He's smart, witty, adorable, sexy, romantic, does laundry, never throws his clothes on the floor, helps constantly with the chores, loves to help me cook (sometimes cooks for me!), helps me sleep late on weekends by keeping the cats out of the bedroom, keeps my tea pitcher replenished, and has an uncanny ability to know when it's the right time to say, 'Hey, let's go out to dinner' or 'away for the weekend'. He doesn't understand being a writer, but he supports it just the same. He'd put himself between me and Hell.

And it's been that way for 28 years now. I believe I'll keep him. ;)

uniquematerial said...

His name was Danny Poole. I think he was 6 and I was 4. He was my next door neighbor and then he moved. I remember visiting his house once after they moved. I don't think I ever saw him again after that.

You never forget your first.

Mac said...

Hmm--December, what emotional markers do you associate with unrequited vs requited, when considering relationships far enough past that they no longer carry the power to wound?

Lisa, Jen--how wonderful is that? *smile* Good for both of you for having the sense to recognize something worthwhile.

JM--see? That didn't hurt so much as you were afraid it would, did it?

Unique...heh. Nope. You never forget your first.

Dawno said...

My first love: we were 15 - he was (still is) blonde, beautiful, quirky, he moved and we tried the long distance thing, I was faithful he wasn't, bad breakup right before the end of my Sr. year in HS. I ran into him again at the company I work for a few years back (he got laid off after less than a year)tried seeing each other for a while but he moves away again going after a job in Seattle, quits that and comes back to the Bay area, has several jobs in less than a year - turns out the guy likes job hopping, I'm into stability - decided what I have with the SO is worth continuing to work on, haven't seen him for over a year, tho' we chat now and then. I used to wonder 'what if' now I know. I'm glad things took the path they did for the most part.

Anonymous said...

Kinda sorta, Mac. However, not quite as much as the earring thing! I tried that a little over a year ago and thought I was going to die. Not so much during as after. Pulled the stupid thing out after almost a month of not being able to sleep. Oooowweeeeeeee!

Anonymous said...

I was a teenager....don't remember exactly how old I was....and I was attending Church Camp, of all things. Her name was Bonnie. She was a brunette with glasses and a very wonderful personality.

We dated for several months, before finally splitting up. To this day, I wish I could apologize to her for having been such a jerk to her. I did not realize what I had. I understand she's married now, and all I can say is, the man she's married to is a very lucky individual. Bonnie was a nice lady.

Unknown said...


I could leave it at that, but I won't.

I was very much a wallflower in school. I would not speak unless I was first spoken to. At least until 9th grade. Then I would talk, but not a lot.

I had several crushes, but no boyfriend and nothing I would even remotely begin to call love.

I think because of that, I missed out on a lot of ... "social lessons," so to speak. I don't know the beginnings of even how to flirt. No kidding. To this day, if there is someone I really like, I clam up. And when I do talk to them, I say the stupidest things.

Frank Baron said...

Laurie. I was 14. She was 15. (An older woman - sigh....) We "went steady" (is that term now totally passe?) for over a year. It took me about six months to get up the nerve to kiss her and I nearly passed out when I did. I never knew my heart could pound like that!

She was a sweetie. I haven't heard anything about her since I ran into her brother about 20 years ago. I hope she's well and happy.

Ray Wong said...

Ada. We were only 10 when we first met. We went to the same school, rode in the same shuttle van, and laughed at the same jokes. Then on my birthday, she gave me a gift -- a small, square note book with a bright yellow hard-cover to write in. She said, "One day you would be a writer." I held dear to that notebook for as long as I could. The notebook is long gone now, but she stays in my heart.

We eventually met again when we were in high school -- she stayed at the same old school, but I went to a different, all-boy school. We hadn't seen each other for years until one day we literally bumped into each other at a restaurant. We talked, and we laughed at the same jokes again. I asked for her number and we went out. We went to our elementary class reunion, and I thought she was the prettiest girl there.

Two days before I came to the US, she took me to Stanley Beach. We watched the sun set as we said our goodbyes. I didn't know what to do or say. We just sat side by side, until the time came when we must leave our history behind. I never kissed her.

We exchanged a letter or two after I started my life in the US, then I never heard from her again. 15 years later, I found a letter among my parents' things. She had written me, one last time, but I never got the letter, and I never replied. To this day, I don't know where she is, what she is doing with her life. To this day, I had no idea how hurt she felt when she never received a reply from me.

To this day, the name Ada still makes me sad.

Stacia said...

Hmm--December, what emotional markers do you associate with unrequited vs requited, when considering relationships far enough past that they no longer carry the power to wound?

Who says they don't still have the power to wound? :-)

Honestly, though, as far as emotions at this point, I guess they are pretty much the same for both-sadness. I'm sad about losing touch with both of them. I'm sad for the 17-year-old me who was so desperately crazy about someone and so hurt that he was just a friend. I'm also sad for the 17-year-old me who was so crazy about one person that she failed to see the other smart, funny, handsome guy who was crazy about her-until it was too late. The one who told me, in all seriousness, that his middle name was "Boo" because I told him how funny I always thought the name Boo Radley was. And asked me to the Prom that I was too cool to go to.
*smacks self in head*

T. M. Hunter said...

Vladirian liquor is, and always will be, my first love...

Mmmmmmm, sweet nectar...

Andrea Allison said...

My first love is one I'd rather forget but probably never will. I met him through mutual friends. His name was Keith and he had a way of making me feel special and ashamed at the same time.

He would call me all the time and we would talk for hours about stupid things. We saw each other pratically every weekend. However, we rarely ever went out and did things. He would always come to my house. When we did go out, he acted as if he didn't want to be seen with me.

In the end, he got tired of me and dumped me for someone else. He also quit acknowledging that we even had a relationship. Now, when I look back, I don't even know why I loved him in the first place.

Marina C. said...

My first love? Never forgotten him. The damp foggy German streets. His James Dean mannerisms. Dripping with cool and me the biggest 18-year-old geek. I still love the fall. Kept the old cowboy boots. Sometimes, just sometimes, drift back...(deep sigh)

Jill said...

Wow. So many too choose from!

There was a guy who worked with my dad - he looked just like Bobby Sherman. My friend Linda and I used to stare at him when he and my dad would have meetings at our house. I was probably 8 or 9.

Then, in fifth grade, there was Marty Russo, who drew me a huge portrain of Tweety Bird in Crayola crayons. And then I found out that he made the same picture for a lot of different girls.

Gosh - I think the real first love had to be John J. O'Neil the Third (he actually wrote his name that way on the back of his high school senior year picture, which I still have). Mmm. I remember telling him that I was all a flutter, too naive, it all felt too intense. And I hurt him. That was awful. Every now and then, I still try to google him into reality, but his name is just too common...

Mac said...

Amazing, the power those memories have, isn't it?

.:J.r.A.:. said...

I tend to feel more love for people I'm not "with" December mentioned...the guys I spend the most time with...the ones that tell me their girl problems...the ones I go out for chinese with a 1 am...those are the ones I love. I even had one of my closest guy friends tell me that in a few years, I was going to be the girl he regretted never making a move on. Funny how that works.

And 'going steady' is technically considered passe now. Even's now "going out." I hear exasperated adults everywhere asking the eternally unanswerable question, "going where? where do you go?"

No where. I think thats the point :)

Anonymous said...

The first time I laid eyes on her she was sitting, right there in the greenest patch of grass you'd ever see. All the guys loved her, but only during certain times of the year. I loved her all year round. She was with me through the good times and the bad from the time I was six until the time I was nineteen.

I introduced her to my wife once, big mistake. Now, every time I speak of my past, she gets brought up.

It hurts in so many different ways. I miss her deeply, but she hurt me so very bad when I thought she betrayed me. I found out later in life that she hadn't actually betrayed me, we had just come to different points in our lives.

We are friends now, but my heart doesn't flutter when I hear someone mention her like I used to. My wife finally accepted that she is a part of who I really am. I'll never know if it still really bothers her, but it didn't seem to when I told her I was writing a book and my first love was a major character in this book.

We've made amends and I'm happy, but some nights I stay awake thinking of her. Some nights, I fall asleep only to dream of her.

My first love was the game of baseball.

Anonymous said...

Jean Marie:

I lost the physical presense of my Danny 8 months ago today. In spite of the pain, I will always be profoundly grateful that, after 20 years of friendship, he looked into my eyes ten years ago and told me that he'd been dreaming about me since I was 17. I am so sorry your Danny left his chance too long.

Love and Hugs,

Nina said...

Namaste, Mac
You wonderful and glorious creature. I am most happy to see that you have cultivated your gentle, quiet grace-that grace that has always been an undercurrent in everything that you do, say, or mean.
Strange how memory fills in the gaps, colors the details so we can have a whole, complete experience, don't you think? One that we can draw from to teach us what we need-how to love, what to be, when to be it? But the facts are these: 1. Only 13 earrings. 2. Car was a brown t-bird. Can't know why or what I would've named it, besides "Escape,", but I know this: if I drove in haste, it was only in attempt to leave your brooding nature in the dust. But all are safe-my only vehicle these days is Mahayana. 3. You kidnapped me-repeatedly-to get drunk before band. You know how hard it is to march percussion completely loaded? 4. You DID pass out.
Seriously, though...this is a loving story-one that will have a happy ending, yes?

Oh yeah, and that "strange" music was offered as your lullabye, gippy. Respectfully-N