It’s interesting how a first love becomes more like an old movie you used to watch when you were younger. If you’re anything like me, you watched certain movies a hundred times on summer afternoons, evenings, or rainy days. And it became a part of you in quotes, scores, songs, or imagery. Cinema exaggerates feelings, as does a first love.
Ten years ago in late May, golden clouds were hiding a setting sun, bursting with pinkness and the prelude to summer. Suddenly the colors quickly became softer, and it began to rain in front of a Starbucks. I was sitting with two girls, not yet my good friends, but budding to be something of the sort. We decided to go outside and drown ourselves in the weather, wash off our last year of high school completely. I couldn’t hear the thunder, or feel the drops. I only remember a feeling of newness, of something beginning.
I looked at pictures of that day, my body dangling over a shiny black bench, my (almost!) friend dangling beside me. Our eyes closed, our faces upside down and covered in rain, our clothes soaked. I was thinking I was so alive, and even beautiful, something I rarely decided back then.
I was invited to a Graduation Party at my then crushes home. I sat in the bedroom of a different friend’s house before I left. A friend who carried me through my lonely years of high school. Eugia looked at me skeptically as I tried on a different outfit. I recall saying to her, “This is it. If things don’t work out tonight, I’ll be a spinster.” Jane Austen was a frequent cliché of mine.
“You are beautiful,” Eugia assured me, “you’re being stupid. You have nothing to worry about.”
I think back on that night and wonder, did I invite her to the party? Was she being reclusive, or was I a shitty friend?
I asked her to drive me, my nerves had me in a choke hold. Her car was an old buick, forest green, and musky smelling on the inside. I made her pull over just before we reached his house. We sat in front of an elementary school. “This cant be real. I don’t go to parties.”
“Chrissy, get over it. Just go.”
I don’t remember much of my entrance. I don’t think I even knocked at the door, I walked in by myself (so began my long streak of never knocking at any party in my early twenties). I remember wearing denim shorts, white sneakers, and an olive green Lacoste shirt with good ol’ 3/4 sleeves. I felt pretty, I felt like this was going to be the first summer I didn’t spend nights alone watching The N.
I spent the entire next day with him, and began my first history of romance.
I look back at it now with a bit of sadness, but mostly warmth. I have so much affection for that eighteen year old, I want to keep her with me always. I want her to always remind me to be humble, and instead of looking back – to look right in front of me. Or you know, up at those crazy Florida clouds.