This Valentine’s Day, Remember Your First True Love

Time has a way of diminishing some things, but memories of your first love lie just beneath the surface of your heart, waiting for the cue to take center stage, once again.

First love has the power to pull us back to who we used to be; to another place in time. In my experience, it’s the one relationship that never stays completely in the past.

The object of my affections was a handsome football player, who thought I was the most beautiful girl in our high school.

We shared classes during the day, talked on the telephone for hours at night, had standing dates on Friday night after the football game and then again on Saturday. If he was able to borrow his mother’s car, we spent Sunday afternoons together. For two and half years, we were inseparable.

The two optimistic teenagers that we were mapped out their futures, oblivious that their dreams were just that-dreams. Such is the hope of true love and the innocence of youth.

The tale we told ourselves went something like this.

We would attend the same college. Of course, we would be married by then. Study hard, graduate, and find the perfect jobs. He would become a great writer. I would teach high school literature to students who would be mesmerized by every word that I uttered.

That was the plan. In that order. Unflawed.

How would we finance two college educations? How would we pay for rent, food, transportation, and electricity ? I don’t recall those pesky little details ever entering our conversations. They seemed so insignificant at the time.

As high school graduation approached, things began to change. We chose different colleges. My family and I were moving over 100 miles away. Our relationship became a mixture of teenage drama, immaturity, and self-doubt.

When would we see each other? How would a long-distance relationship work? Finally, I broke his heart. The goodbyes that followed were sad and painful.

“If something happens and we never get back together, I will find you when we are both 65,” he said.

“I want to know how things turned out for you. I know you will be that same beautiful girl that I love.”

We went our separate ways, though I thought of him throughout the years.

“Was he happy?” I wondered. “ Had he achieved his goals?” In my mind he was still the serious-minded boy I that I loved with my whole adolescent heart so many years ago.

Fate, as it will, intervened with the answer to my questions.

Two months before my 65th birthday, I was working at my desk. Out of the blue, he walked into my office. Just like that.

I recognized him immediately, despite the smile lines around his eyes and a touch of thinning hair. He glanced at me, without the slightest recognition. (Ouch, that stung.)

When I introduced myself, there was a moment of hesitation and then the awkwardness melted away. We gave each other hugs. Catching up, we talked about children, grandchildren, and careers.

He had returned to his hometown, where we had attended high school. He remembered the promise to find me at age 65. Much to my surprise, he was living across the street from my old house.

“What were the chances of that?” I asked.

With a smile, he responded, “ I know. I see you every day.”

It was true love, or, so I thought. And, now? Yes.

First love withstands time. First love is always present, always true, filling your heart with warm memories. Those once in a lifetime magical moments are yours to keep.

So, this Valentine’s Day take a moment to remember your first true love. I hope your memories are as lovely as mine.

Happy Valentine’s Day.