Sunday, June 16, 2013

Blog Challenge Day 15: First Love

Who was your first love?
Wow, yikes!  Well, I didn't have a lot of boyfriends growing up.  5 total, including my husband that I would really call BOYFRIENDS.  I'll admit, I said "I love you" to three total (again, including Adam) but I wouldn't call the first one my first love.  The first guy I really loved was someone who today remains a dear friend.  We met in college, my first semester.  He was my age, actually about 8 months younger, but he'd been in college for years.  He was part of a program where high school aged student took college courses (he was home schooled for high school while taking college classes).  Since I haven't asked him if I can name him here, I'll call him P.  I met him through my friend Gabby and we hung out a few times. He was into music and he seemed to know everyone on campus.
At that time, I was actually dating a guy from my high school.  That guy was younger, just 16 (Gasp!  Robbing the cradle, wasn't I?) and we were just casually dating. I went to football games and a dance at the school with him, sort of enjoying the older girlfriend thing, feeling just a tiny bit cool.  I started hanging out with P a little between classes.  I was taking a math course (my nemesis) and he offered to help me study.  We had so much to talk about, I never got a lot of studying in!  After awhile, I started feeling some definite chemistry toward him.  But I was still officially dating my boyfriend and P had a girlfriend as well.
One day we were talking on the phone and he said, "If I broke up with my girlfriend, and you broke up with your boyfriend..." he wouldn't finish the sentence.  I was super surprised.  I was never one to think a guy would be interested in me, must less a guy with a girlfriend!  Must less this guy, who to me was cool and funny and interesting and super cute!  So I kind of stammered that I knew what he was trying to say so then he wanted me to say it!  I couldn't, but we finally decided neither of us had to, we got the point across.  We decided to keep hanging out, but keep it as friends until we figured out where our relationships were going.
Soon after, my boyfriend and I ended our relationship mutally.  We didn't have chemistry together, although he was a really sweet guy and we both found we didn't have too much in common.  We were in very different places and did get to see much of each other.  P was single shortly thereafter as well and before I knew it, we sort of fell into our relationship.   It was around Christmas time when we started dating.  We went downtown and saw the city circle (at a distance, I was running late to get home by curfew) in the snow. We parked on top of a parking garage at school and talked for hours and yes, did a fair amount of kissing!  We saw movies and plays and hung out with his friends, who became my friends too.  We hung out between classes and I went to his house to watch movies or listen to his music.  We spent New Years at his house with his sister and parents, who were awesome to me.  We had a snowball fight and he laughed at me when I called the night "rememberable".  When we kissed that night there were fireworks, quite literally!
One night, in his car on top of the parking garage overlooking the city, he murmured that he loved me.  I was quick to reply the words but he asked me if I was just reciprocating it--he'd told me that he had done that in past relationships.  I told him no, that I'd wanted to say it for awhile, but I knew that he had always said it back when his girlfriends said it first, and I wanted it to be his moment.  He replied, "That's why I love you."
We were together just three months.  The end was strange for me, him citing that our relationship was too easy, that I didn't "challenge" him.  It started with "cooling off", but he soon slipped right back into things, and finally he officially ended it.  I was devastated.   I couldn't understand, this was something I couldn't fix, I could do nothing to change his mind.  P wasn't known for long relationships, in fact he'd never dated anyone longer than we had dated.  I suppose I should have known he wasn't ready for more, but I was young and naive and in love.  I thought that was all I needed, but it's not always enough. I learned that then.
I begged him not to disappear, to try to remain my friend.  He agreed to try, although I think we both knew it would have been easier to have a clean break.  I spent a long time hung up on him.  We would hang out as friends, almost always with other friends.  Occasionally we'd slip up and he would hold me close again, confusing me all the more.  I never initiated this contact, but I yearned for it.  After months of this, one day he sat me down and said we need to spend some time apart.  It broke my heart all over again.  As horrible as it was, and as dark as those days were for me, they served a purpose.  I found some shred of me again, the me without him.  After a few months, I attended a work function at the pizza place where he was working.  He was friendly, open, he knew about several things that were happening in my life, which told me that while he kept his distance, he still still cared.  We chatted a bit and a few days later he called me and invited me to his birthday party.  I attended and we had a good time, catching up with the buffer of other friends around us.  I could tell he was encouraged by the steps I had taken to show my independence, to show him I didn't depend on him anymore.  I can't honestly say I was completely over him then, but I'd accepted that we weren't going to be together.
The next summer, I met my husband.  He showed me what love really can be, completely uncomplicated and unconditional.  Not that our lives are uncomplicated, but our love truly is.  I trust him with everything with my whole heart and I know he loves me, simply and totally.  P and I remained friends, and I knew he was truly happy that I'd finally truly moved on. Looking back, I see now why we would never have worked, not in the long term.  He was so different from me, which was good, he brought me out of my shell, showed me that I was worth caring about, and that I could be someone different.  I did things I wouldn't have done had it not been for him. I went out dancing, listened to weird music, and opened myself up to a lot of new experiences.  And, because he broke my heart, I grew up a little.  I was stronger, a little wiser, and more sure of myself.  I always let P get away with anything, as long as he'd keep me around.  Hours late for a date with me?  No problem, as long as he showed up.  Cancels at the last minute? Ok, as long as he still wants to see me tomorrow.  I realized that it was okay for that NOT to be okay with me.  That's not to say that P would have dumped me if I'd called him on any of that, I'm sure he wouldn't have.  He was a college guy, caught up in the moment and pulled in a hundred different directions, and I was a mousy girl that didn't know how I'd caught his eye and was desperate to keep his gaze and then to somehow get it back.  With Adam, all that was gone, it was effortless, natural.  I grew up and in that way I was ready when Adam came along.  I'm very lucky for that.
P and I are still friends.  He was a last minute groomsman in my wedding.  He's moved out of state now, so we only see each other once or twice a year.  He's a great friend and very fun to hang out with, he transports me to another time, something I don't get to relive too often.  Sometimes I catch myself when we're talking and I realize I'm checking to make sure he hasn't forgotten, that I did matter that way to him.  Time has past and I have no regrets, I know I'm where I am supposed to be.  I know now that it was a different kind of live back then. It doesn't compare to what Adam and I share, not even close. My life is amazing, I have the most incredible family now.  And in a tiny way, I am who I am because of my first love.  Not my greatest love, that will always be Adam.  But it's our experiences that make us who we are and that was one of them.
This is part of a June blog challenge started by Mommy Someday at Waiting for Baby. Pop over there and join in so I can learn these things about you!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Aw, what a sweet story. It's nice to acknowledge those old boyfriends and how they shaped us into the women we are now. It's so easy to want to forget all those adolescent loves when they were actually, really important.