THE FIRST

THE FIRST

From Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul on Love & Friendship

The First

Plunge boldly into the thick of life.

Goethe

It ended as abruptly as it began. A brief phone call, then the final good-bye. I hung up the phone and sat silently in a daze for a moment. Then reality sank in, and I began to cry. A friendly breakup of a far-from-perfect relationship, and yet it still hurt. A lot.

It was in the school gym, among all our friends, that he began to weave his magic. It began with a sweet smile and a light brush of his fingers across my arm. A half-hour before the dance ended, he uttered the words I had been dying to hear:

“Want to go to a movie sometime?”

I responded with a calm smile and a confident “yes” that belied the excitement coursing through my body. I felt as though I had won the lottery. My life was now complete. I had a boyfriend.

We walked out to the parking lot together, and with his mother waiting in the car just out of sight, he gazed into my eyes and kissed me on the cheek. Then with a whispered promise to call, he left. It felt so unreal. In one night, we had gone from being mere acquaintances to being the closest of friends. We were a couple.

Soon, we were strolling down the halls hand-in-hand, and I could think of nothing but him. I was nuts about him. I had been eagerly awaiting the experience for what felt like forever—the special bond between first loves that is like no other, the closeness between a couple, and perhaps most of all, my first kiss.

It took four dates before it happened. Up until then, we had held hands and cuddled, sitting close together in the plush seats of a darkened movie theater. The cuddling was just as much fun as kissing turned out to be, if not better. He had this way of rubbing his thumb across my knuckles that gave me butterflies.

Finally, we kissed. I had always wondered what my first kiss would be like. One night his mom dropped me off at my house after a movie, and he walked me to my front door. We stood under the porch light, gazing at each other shyly. Then he slowly came toward me, lowered his head and kissed me. It was over before I even realized it had happened. I wish I could say that fireworks exploded, but they didn’t. After all, it was only a two-second meeting of lips. Nonetheless, it was everything I had hoped for. It was sweet and tender and caring, and just the tiniest bit awkward, because it was his first kiss, too.

If only the rest of the relationship had progressed as wonderfully. Sure, we had many good times, but the true meaning of the word “relationship” was missing. He never seemed to notice, but I was miserable for much of the time. It’s hard to put a finger on what exactly bothered me. Mostly, it was a whole lot of little things. We used to go to a movie every weekend without fail. That was fun, but I never got to choose what movie we saw. Also, we never did anything but go to movies. He didn’t like going out to eat or even talking. Sure, we discussed movies and recent releases by our favorite bands, but that’s about as deep as our conversations got.

Yet, it still didn’t occur to me to break up with him. I don’t know if it was him that I was so infatuated with or if I was in love with the fact that I had a “boyfriend.” I can’t deny the pride and confidence I felt when I walked down the street holding his hand and saw how the other girls eyed me enviously, attracted by his good looks and sweet smile. I don’t know why I felt that having a boyfriend was so important or why I somehow used it to judge my self-worth.

Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer and I became honest with myself. I wanted the relationship to improve or I wanted to move on. And I told him just that when I called him one Friday night. To my astonishment and disappointment, he responded by saying we’d be better off as friends. I agreed. I didn’t say anything; I think I was shocked at how easy it was for him. After promising to stay friends, I hung up and it was over.

After the initial shock wore off, my first feeling was one of relief. I no longer had to wonder what he was thinking all the time or ponder where we stood. Then it hit me: It was over. I cried. And then I got mad at myself for letting him make me cry. I blamed myself for not making it work. I cried some more.

And then one day I woke up and realized that life goes on. I experienced a lot of firsts with him—my first kiss, my first love and even my first heartbreak—and I’m grateful for all of it.

Hannah Brandys

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