They say your first love never dies. I used to be skeptical about love or anything remotely related to love. I never really believed in the idea because I demanded proof. I refused to believe in a feeling that could not be explained; moreover, the idea that a first love would always have a place in your heart appalled me! I guess I embraced the thought of always moving forward, of always moving on. I thought the saying was senseless. I never really understood the magnitude of the statement until I met my own first love. He changed me completely, and he does not even know it. He was the journey I needed in order to find myself.
Our story began one October morning. It was chilly outside, but his warmth radiated off him in waves. He looked down at me with sparks in his eyes, and from that moment on, we were inseparable. He never left my side, and he didn’t treat me like a stranger. It was as if he knew me from a past lifetime, and I him. We only got closer as the days went by. One night, he took me out to walk under the night sky and admire the blanket of stars. He looked down at me with so much love in his eyes and he held my hand, silently promising to stay. He then whispered three words that changed me forever. “I love you,” he said. My eyelids immediately shut close as I tried to memorize the feeling— a feeling I never wanted to lose.
It was so surreal I didn’t want to believe it. It seemed like a dream to me. I never wanted to open my eyes, fearing that it would wake me from my slumber. I didn’t want the feeling to end, so I stayed still. I was too selfish to even speak, to tell him that I loved him back. I was so scared to lose the moment. When I finally got the courage to open my eyes, all I saw was space. I was too late, and he was gone. He left, and he never came back. I was too scared to believe the authenticity of his words and the sincerity in the depths of his eyes that I ended up losing him. For months, I wallowed in sorrow and despair. I lost my zest, and smiles from me were rare. I didn’t mind how much it hurt, so the pain I felt just propagated every day.
I guess the hardest part of it wasn’t losing him; it was losing me. I never really realized who I really was, who I’m supposed to be, until then. I guess you often don’t know what you have until you lose it. So, amidst the heartbreak, I found myself. I found the girl who understood the meaning of love simply because she was loved back once upon a time. Our relationship may have ended before it could even begin, but I’m still thankful for what we had. Every time I lose myself, I just recall the feeling etched in my heart. I recall his love for me. Our love was real, albeit short lived, so even though he’s far gone, the feeling still stays. It stays to remind me of who I was made to be— I was made to be real.
I guess the reason why first loves don’t die is the impact they make. The idea always seemed peculiar to me because I never realized that our first loves are actually our first real and true loves. Your first love isn’t the guy playing ball you had the hots for or the girl on the swings you had a petty crush on. Your first love is a person whom you’ll always have a part of because your first love is the person who teaches you how to love by simply loving you. Your first love will show you how beautiful love is and how tragic it can get, but this person will show you the beauty of love to a great extent that the pain of heartbreaks would be worth it. Your first love is the first person who makes you real.
~essay on becoming real by being loved (based on the velveteen rabbit)