So this was a tough topic for me. If I took it at face value I’d write about being fifteen and meeting the cutest thing I’d ever seen on two legs in summer school (I said he was cute, not brilliant), and the way it ended (badly) almost two years later. If I wanted to be especially precious, I’d skip that one and write about beautiful long red hair and liquid warm brown eyes, then wrap it all up by explaining that he was an Irish setter named Bojangles.
Of course I could go all literary and write about my first fictional character love, not impressive like my friend Tasha Alexander’s first love, Mr. Darcy, but the rock-steady sandy-haired stylings of Trixie Belden’s brother, Jim. Which of course led me to consider writing about my first author love, the book and/or author who first made me burn with writerly ambition (Deenie, Judy Blume, age 9).
Did you realize I agonized over these topics like this?
Nothing seemed right. I’ve flipped through my first food love (Boo Berry cereal), my first location love (trundle bed in the down position), my first coveted clothing item love (gray suede jacket with puffed shoulders and stand-up collar, 1983), my first music love (Eddie Rabbitt, “Ooooooh, I’m drivin’ my life away, lookin’ for a better way, fooooor me-ee”), and my first office supply love (Brother P-Touch Label Maker).
My evening turned into a maudlin auld lang syne of things I loved and either outgrew, lost, gave away, or forgot about. But is that not the nature of first loves? And why not? Few get it right the first time. And I’m certainly no exception.
We all move on. We find new loves; loves tempered and strengthened by experience and a willingness to compromise, as I did when I saw the cutest thing I’d ever seen on two legs for the second time, got smart and realized it rarely happened twice and married him. Happened when I moved on to new books, new food, new places, clothes, and music.
Those first loves still hold a place in my heart, and despite various friends and family members claims to the contrary, I am actually quite sentimental. They’ll always hold a place in my heart. But there’s a time to move on. When we don’t, we can’t find those new, wonderful loves to learn from.
I’ll say this though: I will never give up my Brother P-Touch Label Maker.
And they say I’m not sentimental.