He Say: First Love
words by: r. preston clark
I haven’t met her yet. At least, I don’t think I have. There have been those in the past who I’ve spoken the words to, those who I had a deep affection towards. But love? Naw, I don’t think I’ve done that one before.
I’ve heard about it. I’ve heard about the urgency to be around another person at all times of the day. I’ve heard of someone else’s voice causing shivers down your spine then relocating to places on your body you didn’t know shivers could exist.
I’ve heard of the heart palpitations, freely coercing staggering amounts of nervousness as their presence elicits an awareness within you unknown before.
You’re cognizant of your every word. You notice your every flaw. You care about your appearance in ways you didn’t pay attention to in the past. Their name requires your full attention. Simple conversation garners an emotional response.
They’re just them.
They’re that missing piece, at least, at the time.
Your first love. The one with all the fond memories. The one you look back upon and smile at what you learned about yourself. What you learned about how to love someone. What you learned about what other people can give and take from you. That first combination of real feelings.
That first time. That first love.
I’ve been close. They both know who they are.
One lives in Arizona. We met during the summer after my freshman year in high school. We had almost a Grease-esque summer relationship. Equipped with her aunt telling us we couldn’t talk anymore which led to an email correspondence with her mother introducing myself which led to an executive decision by her mother to allow me to continue seeing her.
The summer ended but my love for her didn’t. She’s one of my best friends till this day. We had some times along the way where we thought about another ‘us’. But it wasn’t meant to be. Now, she’s firmly entrenched in a beautiful relationship that will soon end with a ring on her finger. I couldn’t be happier for her.
We still say ‘I love you’ at the end of conversations but it isn’t in that way. It’s out of a respect for our over decade long friendship. One I will always cherish.
But I can’t give her first love status.
One lives in Atlanta via San Diego. She has taken me on a ride of emotions since that New Year’s Eve during my sophomore year in high school. We engaged in our first kiss. Acting like a relationship when we were in each other’s presence, I still didn’t give her a title until my senior year in high school for reasons I won’t get into here.
We did the high school thing. Then I left for college and she’d pop up every once in awhile, catching me off guard, both with her return and with my reaction to it.
She still made my heart stop.
She still is the closest I’ve come. It’s been years since we were introduced to mutual feelings but it isn’t meant to be. Distance, personal situations and a lack of urgency has derailed any possibilities. She is one of my best friends as well. And I still struggle being in her presence due to what her eyes and lips do to my mental. She is the closest I’ve come.
But I can’t give her first love status.
If she was, the interferences and gaps in contact would have never occurred and I would have fought my ass off to make something, anything, come to fruition.
Isn’t love just a fight for someone else’s emotions? To fight for the ability to intertwine one’s innermost thoughts and concerns with another? As much as I look back now wishing I would have, if I was in love, there wouldn’t be any looking back. Only looking forward at what our relationship became. Became would be in the present. That isn’t what we are.
Even though love will always be there and love will always be an element of our interaction, to say I was in love would be disrespectful to the emotion.
I’ve never been in love. I won’t claim to have had a first love. But when it happens, I’ll know what I’m in.
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