To My First Love

To my first love,

Where do I begin to even express how much love I still have in my heart for you? You helped me grow into the person I am today and for that I am grateful. We were just kids, neither of us knew what love looked like - but to us it was real. From the blossoming friendship that lead to that butterfly feeling when I saw my best friend watching me during swim meets, and spending Sunday afternoons playing video games with me - the moment I realized that I didn’t just see you as my best friend anymore; it was my first romantic attraction.

I confessed my attraction 3 times to you, each time, you had told me you weren’t ready for a relationship. (Despite your sister telling me you had a crush on me). I felt discouraged, but understood that our friendship meant more to me than losing you over a crush.

It was summer between grades 9 and 10, we had both been selected to go to separate camps for personal growth. You would be gone for 2 weeks, and I would be camping with my family once you returned. The longest time we would have spent apart since our friendship started back in 8th grade. Vividly I can recall when you finally had wanted to start dating; August 7th I had just gotten back to the trailer from go-karting with my family.

Text message received from Vanner:

“I think I’m ready”

I’m met with confusion and then a realization, I text back instantaneously. And we message through the entire night talking about our camping experiences and everything under the sun.

We would then spend the rest of our summer days at the local 7-eleven buying slurpees and strolling to the town’s campsite. We’d sit at the picnic bench laughing about video games, and the existence of aliens. We were too shy to hold hands, but we were so comfortable around one another. The 2 weeks that I had to go to camp had felt like eternity in my teenage mind, I had no communication with you, but I thought about you all the time. I counted the days until I was home and able to tell you all about the mountain climbs, white water rafting, and every other experience that I had while away. I missed you.

The first 6 months of our relationship we’d hadn’t gone as far as our first kiss, we had every class together though, so that was enough to keep me happy. I remember our first kiss; it was a warm day, a chinook breeze passing through clearing the snow on the grounds. Our small circle of friends had wanted to go to the public library. I had been hinting at wanting to kiss you for a while at this point, but wanted to ensure that you had been comfortable and ready. It was in the study room, when our friend had made a joke about us kissing and to my surprise you said “sure” - this was it. This was the biggest moment to me, the moment I had been building up to and anticipating in my mind. Butterflies a whole swarm of them. I leaned in. Woah.

Stolen kiss, after stolen kiss. I also remember the first time you had ever kissed me first, I was taken by surprise, we were laying on a half inflated air mattress in my parents basement. Goofing around, being the silly, simplistic teenagers we were you froze for a moment and your ocean eyes locked onto my gaze. Our lips locked, I had never known you to be brave enough to go for it. But you did, and I wrote about it in my diary, because yes, I was a teenaged girl who had written every detail of my fairytale in a brightly coloured notebook that I kept hidden under my bed.

I wrote you songs, you leant me games. We drove around in your Ford Taurus, parking in the back alley behind my house sharing more laughs and more kisses. I was in love. You wouldn’t have ever done it because it was never your thing, but you took me to prom. You saw that it was important to me, and you got dressed up in an all white tux topped off with a cuban styled hat. You did all of that. For me.

My 16th birthday you came to school with a Nintendo GameCube and all of the games I had mentioned were nostalgic for me. This is another moment that sticks out in my mind, you put in the effort, I had mentioned one of the things I had been most sad about was being forced to sell my childhood gaming system, the one that got me through hardship and trauma. You reached out and bought one for me, I still have it. It’s still the best gift I had ever received in my life.

In grade 11 we went on a class trip to Greece; we shared emotional talks along the beaches, breakfasts in cute little cafe’s and threw ourselves into the culture of Greece. Downtown Athens you bought me a rose that someone had used as a tourist scam, the rose got stolen by a child - I didn’t care, it was the thought that counted. And you thought all the time. I still don’t believe I’ve ever met someone as thoughtful as you were.

You showed me love in more ways than I had ever gave you enough credit for; you were always patient and kind when I was a circling storm of emotions and childhood trauma. I started arguments, I pushed you away because all I had known was abandonment and your faith and love unsettled me. I told everyone that you broke up with me because it was easier than saying “I broke up with him because I loved him too much, and I scared myself.” I immediately regretted breaking up with you, the second those words came out of my mouth. I stayed home for a week because I had experienced my first true heart break, the heart break I never thought would happen, the life I had envisioned for us because we were meant to last. We weren’t. You taught me to think twice before I say something I might regret, you also taught me not to take love for granted because sometimes you push away the best thing you could have ever dreamed of. My fear of losing you, resulted in me losing you.

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