I don’t think anyone ever forgets their first time.
The excitement, the thrill, the heady rush of falling in love. Not love per se, the first time is never love. But falling in love, hmmm. I’m sure all of us fell ever so hard. It could be infatuation, obsession, or even a certain fondness we felt for the person, so strong at that time it seemed like love. But if I recall correctly, love was never meant to be selfish. Be honest, the first time was selfish. You wanted them, but more for yourself, than for them. You wanted them, because they made you feel wanted, because they made you feel loved, more than because you wanted all of them, including their flaws and idiosyncrasies and everything that eventually drove both of you apart. And when you lost them, it felt like you were losing a part of yourself. It felt like you would never be whole again. It felt like someone had torn a piece of your soul off and thoughtlessly flung it to the dogs. But secretly you knew that you would be okay eventually. You just knew it would be eventually, not at that time. At that time, every turn of the street, every love ballad playing in a cafe, every happy couple walking past holding hands seemed to remind you of that person who broke your heart. The first time will be pretty damn insane. And looking back on it, you will infinitely embarrassed about the way you handled it.
But eventually, yes eventually, you will be able to look back and smile. Smile because you were happy then, despite whatever happened afterwards. Smile because you learned things about yourself you never would have otherwise. Things you could bring on to make sure your next relationship worked. Smile because there’s no teacher quite like experience, and boy what an effective teacher it is, isn’t it? Smile because you emerged stronger. Because they changed you for the better, not made you bitter. Made you believe that true love is possible, just not with them. And made you more sure and aware of the type of person you could find that sort of real love with.
So it could be months, or even years for some, and you realise with a jolt of surprise that you’re seating in the same cafe you always came with the first one you fell in love with, but you’re holding hands now with the one you love. Yes, strange isn’t it? How that memory seems so far away, almost like in another life. Like you’re watching a sad movie again but not paying attention this time. You will smile at this person sitting opposite you now, the one you love, the one you can understand, the one you love for who they are and not what you want them to be. And (if you’re smart), this person will be nothing like the first one. Don’t get me wrong, the first was a mistake, but a valid one. We are only human after all. As Marcus Tullius Cicero succinctly put it: Any man can make a mistake, but only an idiot persists in his error.
And when you eventually find this other person, he will not complete you, like the first one seemed to. Because a relationship will never work if two people complete each other – a relationship works when two whole people complement each other, as cliché and lame as this may sound. So when you find this person, remember to be thankful to the first one – for teaching you what real love is, for teaching you what real love isn’t, and for forcing you to grow up, despite how hard it might have seemed.
Well, you know they say that growing up is hard
It’s so hard to think of how we almost got so far
Do you remember on the night of our first kiss?
Baby, didn’t it feel just a little bit like this?
With you sitting right next to me, your hand in the wind
In that old white Cherokee I grew up in
Yeah, it’s crazy
Crazy ‘cause it’s true, that you never get a second chance at the first time.