Is there anything better than the anticipation and excitement that is Your First Relationship? First Relationship that involves a lot of playfulness and kissing and a little bit of skin and frolicking?
I think and I say, not!
Each year at the on set of summer (real summer, when it is draggy hot by 9 in morning) I begin to rekindle all the memories of youthful summers spent in wait for my boyfriend to bicycle over to my house, of when he got his license (he was a year and half older than me, and had this massive, gray/green 1980 2-door Impala - the door so heavy on passenger side that at barely 15, he had to reach over me to open the door for me, which he did with one hand and the slightest grin because I was so small I had to sit up super straight to be able to see out the front window). I grew up in a rural area in New York, in a very small town, with one main street to speak of and lots of aimless time on my hands. Which led to, lots of wasting of gas riding around in my boyfriend's Impala. In the heat and humid air and back roads of west central New York, he drove, I rode, and we listened to Cyndi Lauper (She's So Unusual), Beastie Boys (License to Ill), Pink Floyd (The Wall), Tom Petty (Full Moon Fever) and later, when the Impala was gone and he had his brother's hand me down, 4-door Chrysler, indie stuff that he would tell me sucked and take out, putting in his favored country cassette (another hand me down from his brother).
We spend a lot of time driving. Kissing. Laughing. Joking. Running. Walking. Holding hands. Holding eachother. Drinking juice at my house. Watching tv with friends. Listening to each other's problems (we had none). Hanging out in the cemetery between our houses. Riding bicycles. Making each other smile.
He was my first kiss (by the back doors of our elementary school after the 6th grade dance); my first phone call that lasted 4 hours; the first person to put their hand on my bare waist and little flat middle-school belly; first person to tell me I was beautiful and that he would marry me in a second if we were older; We went to the same church. Ate the same school lunch food off the same school lunch trays. Ran cross country together (we were both good runners and both quit the team); Played hooky from school together; Walked hand in hand from his locker to my locker in the mornings and between classes. Went on vacations and wrote letters.
He worked at the local ice cream and cheese factory store in between his house and my house. I would go and visit him at work, bringing friends for comfort and support as well as someone to giggle with while waiting for him to take his break and bring me my favorite treat, a grape slushie (later, he would bring me gin to put in my grape slushie, but he didn't work there any more and was dating a girl who hated me to no end). I never had a job.
Back and forth we were best friends and boyfriend-girlfriend, touchy-feely, quiet and moody, loud and quick-witted, funny and mad. As we grew up, we got angry a lot. At eachother, at the world, at our parents, at our friends, at my attitude, at my tendency to hang out with the local skaters too often, at my inability to show up on time or at all for his hockey games, at my not wanting to have sex...We started to grow up and grow away from what was all we knew of our life, which was time together and time apart spent dreaming of being together. It was bittersweet and bitterness. He left me, he came back. He started smoking cigarettes and going to beer parties. He dated someone and slept with them and then came back again. He bought me Snickers bars and Slim Jims and made fun of the music I listened to. He lied to girls he was seeing when I called and said I was his sister calling on the other line. He made me my first mixed drink. He held me hand and read me the relationship rights. He let go of my hand and told me I smelled of snow and cold and being alone. He would come to visit me, out of the blue, or to visit my parents after I went away to college. He would do this for many years, after I was gone and had been out of the house and on another coast since 19.
It all seemed poetic and now I realize that it was. And it was the beginning of my life in a very big way.
And now we live on separate coasts, and time has passed, and our families don't go to the same churches, and I don't go to church at all, and he married a few times (I went to his first wedding, he told me then he was getting married because he felt sorry for how an ex boyfriend had treated her, but she was also already 4 months pregnant) he married a second time for love and moved away from our home town last year. We see eachother here and there, when I go home in the summer. But we don't talk about that life, our life, not really.
Last night I was talking to my mom in New York and she mentioned he had called last weekend for my number, was thinking of me and wanted to check in. This is what summer is, hot and heavy with parts of the past bobbing along to the surface. I don't tell any one really, but I dream of him often...silly things, like falling out of his car and into a snow bank, being at our lockers and talking to one another across the hall, missed phone calls. Just that sort of stuff that no one really remembers when they wake up in the morning, or shares with one another in fear of vulnerable acts.
What is it, that time, that nostalgia, that piece of time and of youth that is such a huge but hidden scar? That when touched even slightly, brings memory upon memory flooding in to heart and mind? My emotions and nerves stood on end then, every thing a new and huge experience, each day a wonder. Was it the timing? The placement? The rotation of the sun and my Moon in Mercury? Who knows...and who really wants to know...the secret of love and of life.