It is weird that with the passing of the years there are events and circumstances in our lives that we seldom recall, almost forgotten, blurred by time and human frailty. And yet there are those that shine like blazing beacons in the dim gloom of our memory; they may be momentous events or just simple yet nourishing occasions or personalities that gave shape to our lives and gave reason to our being. One such memory that still blazes strong and bright was that of my first love.
It was unrequited, true – it was love unanswered and unwelcomed, and yet it was love that still nourishes me in times of sorrow and regrets, in times of apathy and disillusionment. Maybe it is the thing about young love, it is purer and more selfless, it is kinder and sweeter, and uncomplicated as well as undemanding. I was six years old when I first met her, she was my Grade 1 classmate, and yet with a heart so young there lodged within me the seeds of admiration which slowly blossomed into love. Sadly, my family transferred to a neighboring town during the last months of classes, the feelings I had for her made the transfer all the more difficult for my young self. I pined for her.
The years passed and it was my first day in high school. I heard a familiar laughter, it sounded richer and more melodious, but it was still that same laugh; laughter full of merriment and relish for life. It was her. The same haircut, the same smile, even the same cute button nose. It was her, gods be praised, it was her! I could hardly speak; I could hardly mumble a word, not even a curt and forced “hi” would come out from my stiff lips. Questions started popping like popcorns in my head. Does she still remember me? What should I say? What should I do? Does she still remember me? Should I approach her? Does she still remember me?
She did remember me, but to be honest, it was only after I reminded her. Pathetic, maybe, but for me it is better pathetic but remembered than cool and yet forgotten. Ah, the foolishness of young love, it could be heart cringingly horrific, and yet through the lenses of time we view them with melancholy accompanied by a silent whisper of “good times”. I did court her, tentatively at first, shyly moronic at best.
Four years, from our second year in high school up to our first year in college- that’s the length of time I tried and failed and tried again and then failed again and tried again and so on and so forth. She was the first girl I courted, and like most first tries, I failed miserably. And yet those four years were a time of bliss, a time of happiness for me. Each let down maybe painful and heart wrenching, but each moment with her… each touch… each shared word.. each are treasures that gave value to my young life. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I am just not her type. Or just maybe that fat cherub with the tainted arrows was just too lazy to poke her with one damn shot of Love. Ahhh, so many maybes but I loved her, she loved me; I loved her romantically, as Romeo loved Juliet; she loved me as a friend loving another, as Hermione loved Harry.
She was pretty, with a cute smile that even now when age and experience had already taken its toll still brings a smile to my weathered lips when I do recall. And yet it was not her prettiness that took me away. She was no supermodel material to be sure, it was something else that took my breath – something which that at that time my young mind could scarcely yet comprehend. Only as years passed that I come to realize that which made my heart flutter back then. What I admire most in her was her zest for life; her vibrancy permeated my docile and indolent nature, she was a fiery torch compared to my flickering candle. She was someone who takes life as something to be lived with joy, and yet she was not flippant; she was energetic bordering on hyperactive and yet she still comes off as mellow with a lady like composure; she was a mystery and yet the answers were displayed for all to see; she was a riddle waiting to be answered. Alas, the answer was not me.
We still talked and messaged each other from time to time, even though she and her family already moved to another country. I came to realize that I might not have her as mine and she might not have loved me as I loved her, but the things we share, the friendship we were able to nurture, those will stay with me forever. Her personality is infectious; because of her I was able to make many realizations and many transformations, in her own little way she helped mold me and made me grow stronger.
I might not be an ideal boyfriend for her, but as it turns out, she was the ideal person to help me grow out from my shell. I was shy and insecure and foolish before she came, and now I would like to think that I became better, more confident, outgoing, and maybe foolish at times still, but overall, definitely someone better than I used to be. She was the much needed manure to my growing tree, a fertilizer that may look and smell bad, but nutritious and life boosting. She was my young love, unrequited but still cherished for she nourished me.