"The worst thing a guy can do is let a girl fall in love with him when he doesn't intend to catch her fall" Anonymous
The weirdest thing happened to me last night. I dreamed about my first love. It was one of those dreams that is so vivid and haunting that it stays with you long after waking. I could clearly hear his voice and see his dimply smile and everything. He looked exactly the same as I remember him only his front teeth were rotten (perhaps this was just a tiny corner of my brain protecting me from overwhelming regret and reminding me that he wasn't the guy for me after all!) Rather bizarrely I was interviewing him for Desert Island Discs and I was touched to hear that he had chosen songs which reminded him of our time together! Wishful thinking. Even during the very best of our time together (and it was a long relationship as far as teenage romances go) he was about as deep as a puddle. After 3 years he still spelled my surname Allen instead of Allan and toiled to remember what colour my eyes were. To think I put up with that. Love is as blind as a very blind mole with cataracts and a blindfold on.
I can't imagine he gives me so much as a second thought nowadays. In fact I would put money on him struggling to remember even my first name. I'm probably nothing more than a blurry memory to him. And yet I'm annoyed at myself for admitting that he has made such an impression on me that there's barely a day goes by when I don't think about him (loosely mind, I don't waste tears on him or anything - "Never cry over somebody who wouldn't cry over you" good advice.) Trying to forget someone you once loved is like trying to remember someone you never knew. It's impossible unless you go through some kind of brain cleansing technique or ask for help from Derren Brown. Young love is an intense and painful experience. It leaves scars like nothing else.
In my dream I was trying to explain to this person the profound effect he has had on my life and how I never really got over him. I wanted to let him know how he had influenced my behaviour in subsequent relationships and how I had felt so let down by him. He kept laughing at me (revealing that delightful row of brown, crumbling teeth) and I was getting more and more tongue tied and frustrated. I desperately wanted closure on something which has plagued me for years but he wasn't listening. Funny that..
Now, my relationship with this person happened a million years ago (well, nearly 20 but it feels like another place and time) so it amazes me that he still occupies a place in the dark recesses of my mind. How easily I can conjure up his image if I want to. Young love is agony, especially unrequited love. Thank goodness I never have to go through that again! I can't bear the thought of my son having to endure it either but I guess it's just another part of life's cruel learning curve. The thing about first love, you see is that we give ourselves so wholly to the other person believing that nothing could ever go wrong. At seventeen I truly thought I would spend the rest of my life with this person. My naivety leaves me breathless now. I want to reach out for that foolish young girl and give her a good shake. Strange to think I will never give my heart (or at least the broken fragments that he left me with) away like that again. I am quite happy to be mad old cat woman. Okay, I might end up smelling a bit foosty and babbling to myself but at least my feelings will be intact thankyou very much.
Ernest Hemmingway never managed to forget his first love. In chapter 34 of his novel "A Farewell to Arms" (written about his one true love who he never got over) he wrote -
"Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. It has only happened to me like that once"
Some people think his unresolved feelings of hurt and loss were the reason he ended up taking his own life in the end. There are some who may scoff at this theory but there are a handful of us who have experienced love in it's true sense who will understand.
Maybe my relationship with this guy felt so special because it came at a time when everything else was so simple. Do we always see our past through rose-tinted specs? Like remembering the summers of our childhood being hot and endless and the snow being whiter and deeper than it is now? I'm not sure if there was more to it than that. As I remember the tiny details of last night's dream I know that I felt disappointed to wake up from it. There was so much more I wanted to say to this person, perhaps even offer him a hug of forgiveness that would signify my mending from the experience. Plus it would have been nice to have heard some of those Desert Island Discs!