I was married once.
And now we’re divorced. Because we didn’t listen to our gut. Because we were both in need of love and both a bit lost. Because we were reckless. Because we didn’t really know what it meant to say “I love you”.
Ultimately, we are not together any more because we were not meant to be—and because we both forgot how to listen to the stars a long time before we met.
I regret it.
Because I’m a stickler for immense and true love focussed on just one other person from young bodies and sunny days by the lake to wrinkles and grandchildren and memories of the adventure we created.
I like firsts. I had a lot of firsts to give. And I gave a lot of them to people who never wanted to give me back what I was offering.
Which was all of me.
I imagine myself standing in a crowded train station holding suitcases of my love. Bags of my kindness and intimacy and experiences. I see my sweet eyes full of hope and anticipation and my fidgeting feet so eager to run at someone and jump in to the adventure of love with everything I have. And I see me finding people getting off the train. And I throw my bags at their feet and look at them expectantly. But I get given worn out and torn bags that have been through many hands and I see myself look at this person on whom I pinned so much. I see my look of bewilderment and the silent tear that refuses to show my confusion. So I pick up my bags again, now a bit lighter, and wait at the station again. Another person shines through the crowd at me and I’m drawn to them.
Everything in, no holds barred.
And again, at their feet I place my luggage, full of all of me, and they pick it up. They pick it up! And while I’m carrying theirs we skip and laugh and don’t notice another person rushing by. But then my suitcases become too heavy for them and they give me back a few. And a few more. And then they kiss my forehead as the eye of another catches theirs and I watch them embrace.
So I pick up my bags again, now even lighter, and wait quietly, a little shocked—still full of hope but acutely aware of my worn out bags and their empty spaces. These were the bags that held so many firsts, so many thrills are now empty and torn. And still I look with hopeful eyes. And then I realise. Everyone else is wandering through the crowd with little or no bags of firsts to offer either. So I just stand.
Firsts are special.
And I regret giving so many of them to someone who will not be there to reminisce on them one day when we’re wrinkled and full of smiles. Those firsts will be forgotten and pushed away. And the beautiful hope that I had with those firsts, vanished in to the quiet space between the night and the day.
I can’t change the past. I can’t undo my mistakes.
But I can say with all my heart, that I will give everything I have left and anything else I gain along the way to the lover who takes my hand to never let it go again. And when I look in her eyes and see the longing for the firsts we both forgot, I will mirror her heart and hold her close. For I long for them too.
And perhaps, even though some firsts have gone, because my hope remains and my heart is eager, I can give more than I ever knew I had. And maybe there’s more firsts to find that will heal all the lost firsts and spin my heart so much I won’t even think about what’s gone.
I sometimes wish I could talk to the younger me and tell him that it really doesn’t matter what the other boys at school think. And that it’s okay to keep all of me until someone really wants it—that I am loveable and that my firsts are special enough to give to someone willing to give them back. And that even though 30 seems an unattainable age away, it comes and goes quicker than I could imagine and it’s about then that I’ll realise just how much some things mean to me.
And about then that I’ll begin wishing I had done things differently.
I’m sad for the younger me, but in a kind, quiet sort of way.
I still believe in forever. I still believe in romance. I still believe in soppy. I still believe in Aerosmith. And I still believe in Always.
And discovering new firsts with someone who wants that too will be the biggest first of my life.
I couldn’t be more excited.
So let’s remember who we were before the world caught up with us and secretly (I won’t tell anyone) reminisce at our beautiful innocence by singing along to a bit of Bryan Adams doing it all for you.
When it Comes to Love: The First Time.
Author: Andy Charrington
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: partyofhicks at Flickr
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