It’s been more than 20 years since I fell in love for the first time.
We were 13 and every morning he’d press play on whatever 90s R&B cassette tape was in his Walkman and share his headphones with me as we walked to first period.
He smelled like poetry and tasted like kisses behind brick walls.
The only thing that could separate us was the ring of the school bell.
Back then, I couldn’t imagine ever talking about our love in the past tense, but as first loves often do, ours ended.
He still crosses my mind occasionally, but usually only when something strikes a chord in my memory: a scent, a scene from a movie, notes from a familiar song. And I’m grateful that even so many years later, most memories of him still make me smile.
I had one of those chord-striking moments recently when I watched choreographer Will B. Bell‘s latest dance routine.
Maybe it was the song he used—Shai’s “If I Ever Fall in Love.” Or maybe it was the way the dancers—DJ Smart and Zola Williams—touched in those first few seconds. But I was instantly reminded of that relationship and the feelings that come with falling in love for the first time.
The anticipation that hangs in the pauses between words.
The temptation that permeates even the tiniest movements.
The exhilaration that exists in the brush of a hand or the inhale before a kiss.
That span of time when everything between you and this person is frantic and soft, yearning and supportive.
The satisfaction that comes with finally experiencing what you know is love, and the melancholy that hits when you realize you will never fall in love this exact way again.
When Bell’s routine ended, I hit rewind like an impulse. Part of me was aching to be back in that hallway—to feel that old school love just one more time.
The other part of me smiled at the memory.
Author: Nicole Cameron