June 26, 2002
Today’s June Journal SMACKdown question is “Who was your first love, and did he/she know?” (I wonder if I’m the only one who thinks it’s backwards that this question follows, rather than precedes, the one about losing one’s virginity). In the case of love, I’m having trouble deciding who was first.
Was it my dad, whom I described in a journal entry only my overwrought eleven-year-old self could have written as “the light of my life”? He definitely was the first man I ever loved, and he knew it. But that wasn’t a romantic, spend the rest of our lives together love, so Dad isn’t the answer to this question.
Was it the first boy I wanted to marry, a sixth grade classmate? He definitely didn’t know how I felt; I wrote in my diary “he probably doesn’t even know I’m alive”. I wrote about how cute he was, and how I wished we were 16 so we could run away together to Canada. (After saving up a lot of money, of course. Have to be practical about things, even in a wild fantasy scenario. Where we’d get the money in order to save it up was sadly not specified.) Now I can’t even remember what he looked like; indeed, I’d forgotten about him entirely until I read through that old diary. I don’t think he’s the answer to this question, either. I was still a little young to know what love was, and the boy and I never spent time together outside the pages of my diary.
Was it the trumpet player that I crushed on in ninth and tenth grade but never went out with except in groups of band geeks? I really, really wanted to be his girlfriend. I pursued him to the extent that my shy, good girl limits allowed. Admittedly, that probably meant he had no idea how I felt, since my version of aggressive in those days was most people’s invisible. I was disappointed when he wasn’t at our 20th high school reunion, and ever so slightly peeved that one of the other girls in the class included an “I’m sorry” message to him in the information she submitted for inclusion in the reunion booklet. This girl was the one he wanted way back then, and she wouldn’t go out with him because God wanted her to date a Christian. Is that what she was apologizing for 20 years later? She wasn’t at the reunion, either, so I don’t know. If I were truly obsessed, I could write them both letters to try and get the story, but that’s over the line. Better he should remain in the misty past as my first, unrequited love. Of course, I’ve brought some of that misty past time forward with me, because by senior year in high school, I was going steady with the boy who’s now Mr. Karen, a trombone player who had gone to the other junior high and so had not been around when I first met the trumpet player. Everything works out for the best in the long run. If the trumpet player and I had hooked up, I might not have been available to try the trombonist option, and my life would have been very different than it is today.