The first time I fell in love
was in second grade. A new boy joined our class, he was half mexican and I remember sitting behind him on the carpet as my homeroom teacher read us a book, looking at the back of his head, and thinking “I love this boy.”
I must have been six or seven years old. Love to me was Troy and Gabriella dancing in the rain, it was Cinderella and Prince Charming´s “So This is Love”. Love was my grandparents and their forever kind of marriage, it was my parents who weren´t married but had two children and a house and kissed each other. Love to me was the seniors who would sit in the hallway, by the swinging door that leads to Area 2, the girl who rested her head in her boyfriend´s lap. Love to me was the wag of Viktor´s tail when I visited my grandparents.
I was “in love” with this boy for three years. He left school and then I wasn´t in love with him anymore. In embrassingly broken year-one spanish I would tell my first boyfriend “me encanta tu” in seventh grade. When he told me that he had kissed a fourteen year old while on vacation I forgave him because that´s what you do when you love someone. When he called my best friend fat I broke up with him because that´s what you do when you love someone else more.
During my first year at british boarding school I watched a boy get off of the coach on arrival day. Tall dark and handsome, with eyes to kill and a hollywood smile, he looked like a hallucination. When I ended up dating his friend who had become my best friend through a string of unforetold events, it felt stupid and sweet all at the same time. He called me russian because he thought I looked russian and we became friends to make a girl jealous.
In freshly mowed grass of the abandoned tennis court behind my boarding house I asked him what question he would ask if he knew the answer would always be yes. The sun was setting and we were laying side by side and I didn´t need to look at him to see his mind racing before he repied: “Will you date me?”. He lives in New York city now and he is happy, and when I ran into him at a mall in Dubai it felt like the closure my fourteen year old self had begged for in 2015.
In 2016 I fell in love again. It was bigger this time, it felt like nothing I had ever experienced before. It felt like electircity and it finally felt like the grown up kind of love. I was fourteen and he was a little older and I´d known him all my life but one night something changed and suddenly everything was different. One summer and a birthday later: and I knew. It wasn´t what I had expected, but it was perfect in it´s own weird way. 15 years and I felt like I knew where life and love would take me. If I had to pick someone to call my first love, it would be him.
2017 was a year without love. There was the boy and there was a boy, and there was pain and catastrophe. There was running away and then there was homecoming. In 2017, I realized that love could be platonic. That soulmates don´t have to be lovers. I realized that love hurts, that love betrays and that love leaves. In a pink gown and earrings my grandfather made for me I held a speech on love at my parent´s wedding in August, and I cried tears of joy as I watched my father mess up their first dance. I was happy and I realized that love may not alway be seen, but is always there.
In 2018 I learned what it feels like to be loved romantically for the first time. I met him at a concert, he took me on dates and I met his friends and family and he met mine. We went to formal events together and kissed in public. He would doodle my name onto his hands for everyone to see and called me his sunshine. Again, it was different to anything I had ever experienced before.
The first time I truly felt the immensity of his affection for me was in his car. The windows were steamed up and I think it was raining. His car was parked by the woods near my house, it was after a fight. I was out after curfew but it didn´t matter because it was a night that felt like an ending, and as I choked on my own words he pulled me into his arms and held me closer than anyone had ever held me before. In his embrace I found his love for me. It was after this night that I learned that love can be disloyal, that love cheats without excuse or respect for consequences. It didn´t hurt as much as it could have, and for that I am thankful.
December came around and love came back in a familiar face. The feeling was the same and then I relized that it was true: love doesn´t change, but people do. With love came a sort of happiness I had never felt before. It was then that I lost the earrings my grandfather made me. 17 years and I felt like I knew where life and love would take me. But love lies and sometimes, love makes promises without the intention of keeping them. I cannot bear to say that I am thankful for the destruction I had to dissect. I left love with tears in my eyes and my passport in my hand.
One of my moms favorite stories to tell me is that of how her and my dad met. According to her, it was the day after she´d sworn off dating and men for good. A funny play of the universe.
But doesn´t it always happen like that? You wish for a good hair day and your hair dries in all the wrong ringlets and curls. You wish for sun but wake up to rain splattering against your windows. You swear off men, forever this time, you give up on love, are ready to focus on yourself and boom, there he goes. Your soulmate. The man you are going to marry one day. Weeks later, he´s at your door and all of a sudden, you move in together. And then he proposes to fireworks and then you have a beautiful, gorgeous, amazingly funny and goodhearted daughter and name her Antonia. And all of a sudden, life is perfect. Love came when my mom least expected it, and it stayed and brought more love.
So here I am now. It´s June, it´s summer with a hint of rain and storm. I´m seventeen years old. I speak my truth, unapologetically. I´m a hopeless romantic, in love with love. I´ve lived and I´ve seen and I´ve experienced it, and I know one thing for sure:
and Love leaves
but Love never ends.