19 years ago today, the first boy I ever loved left to join the Army. I remember it like it was yesterday. Talking to him the night before, crying myself to sleep, waking up looking like I had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson without even attempting to defend myself. I didn’t go to college this day, I left the house as though I would, but ended up walking for hours trying to process what the hell was happening in my head. I didn’t and to this day I haven’t been able to, I’m not sure I ever will.
We stayed together until the end of his basic training at which point it transpired that he had done what all 16 / 17 year old squaddies do, gone to a strip club and thoroughly enjoyed himself with one of the ladies. The pain of this betrayal has long been buried, but I can recall only too vividly the hollow feeling I carried where my heart should have been for weeks. As an 18 year old girl, in love for the first time, let me tell you – there is no pain quite like it.
So, back to present day. I wake up this morning feeling utterly crushed, but not knowing why. It might have something to do with the fact that Bus Driver had some terrible news yesterday and I know he is upset, which makes me upset. I want to help him, need to be ‘there’ for him, but I just don’t know how to or if it is even possible. I leave for work, with the nagging feeling that something else is amiss. I arrive at work, begin my usual morning routine (tea, Buzzfeed catch up), then it’s 08:30, so I open up my work email and check my calendar…September 9th.
I miss you, even 19 years later. Even though you cheated on me. With a stripper! It makes my head hurt, tears start to fall, both for the loss of the first boy I ever loved and for the pain I know the man I adore now is feeling.
Today is not a great day, it hasn’t been since Monday, 9th September 1996 and I doubt it will be until the day I take my last breath. Some might say I’m being dramatic, I clearly got over the loss of the first boy I ever loved a long time ago, except that I didn’t – not really. The love I felt for him then I still feel now, usually only on this day when I remember our 18 months together (but sometimes at random times throughout the year).
Recently, I was told by Bus Driver that he felt I never let him get close to me. He’s right of course, but not for the reasons he thinks. If I let people get close to me, they hurt me, they leave me but they stay with me forever in my heart. How do you carry that pain around with you and not let it affect you. I’ve often been accused of not appearing to care, not being able to love and generally being closed off and cold. The problem is, I love too easily, I’m scared of opening up to people and that comes across as cold and unfeeling.
So, what now? For today I will carry the pain I felt 19 years ago, the same as I do every year. I’ll cry later when I remember the first boy I ever loved and all the things we used to do together and how much love I had for him. I’ll cry because I know he is happily married and has a family of his own. I’ll cry because that is something I am still searching for, something I think at times I will never have. Then tomorrow I will push him to the back of my mind, until next year. I will continue my attempt to show Bus Driver that with a little effort on both our parts I am a person worthy of love, I am a person capable of the very deepest love.
But for today, to the first boy I ever loved I’ll just say, I’ll always remember that you are a ‘Mac’ and not a ‘Mc’…until next year my love…