Healing can come from the strangest and most unexpected places.
I remember my first love fondly. I remember him with love because he is a good memory for me, I remember him with sorrow because in the end of the "dating" relationship, I hurt him in a way that made him lash out at me. It wasn't anything really bad ... we were only in sixth grade after all. But it was bad enough to be a lasting pain. He railed at me for over a year before we were finally able to find our way back to being friends again, and we were friends for a long time after that before our lives took separate roads and we finally drifted apart. Several years ago we got back in touch for a while, long enough for us both to apologize, mend fences, and find closure on the things we'd never been courageous enough to talk about back then. I think part of me will always wonder "what if", and Brian will always be a great memory for me ... I learned so very much from my relationship with him. He will always have a place in my heart.
I remember my second love with very mixed feelings. Jon was older than me, but not much. He was not my first love, but oddly he was my first real kiss ... and he was my first in other ways. Honestly, he was my first in almost all the ways that are important. The first real kiss that I received was from him, and I remember drowning in the reactions of my body. The first time I made love, it was with him, and I remember him being so sweet and incredibly gentle. We were still young, he was just out of high school, and I was just going into high school ... He asked me quietly if I was sure, and that night, his caring enough to ask made me as sure as I could possibly get. Over time as the relationship went sour, that precious memory was tainted by our troubles, and now I wonder if he was really being sweet - or if he was just sucking in a sucker.
Either way ... time goes on.
It wasn't long before we had the typical problems that relationships have ... woman gets cranky, man backs away, man gets lazy about trying to charm the woman, the woman forgets to notice the things about the man that are charming. The man talks the woman into doing things she isn't sure about ... and then when she doesn't want to do those things anymore the man sulks and guilts her into doing those things anyway.
This is especially easy for the "man" if the "woman" is fifteen years old.
I took a lot of hurts during that relationship. Learning how to love an imperfect person while you are yourself imperfect is challenging to say the least. But when you're young and your heart is not yet hardened by pain, love gone sour is an exceptionally bitter experience. It can leave scars on the heart that may never truly heal.
I remember a time when I woke up cheerful and happy. I had a guy that loved me, that held me all night long even in his sleep, that brought me presents when there was no special occasion to require them. Life was good. As I got out of bed, I went over to my computer because it was on, and I wanted to see what note he'd left before he headed out for work that morning ... we used to always leave notes for each other on the desktop with silly fonts and type colors, because we were young like that.
This note was pink. Looking back, when I re-read that note in my mind's eye, I see a young man who was clearly conflicted and having a hard time with his emotions. I see a young man who needed help and advice, so he went to someone he trusted to get it. Maybe he didn't intend to shatter my heart and my ability to believe in the sincerity of another person's love for me ... but when his note told me that he was in love with me AND one of my friends that he'd also dated ... I just remember falling apart. I shut my bedroom door so my mom wouldn't find me, and I curled up in the bed he had recently left for the day, and I thought about how sweet it had been to lay in his arms the night before. I wondered if he had lay there wishing I was her, wondered if he imagine her when were together intimately. And I just broke.
I don't remember ever asking him about it, but I'm sure that I did. I remember us talking about it, just can't remember who brought it up. I remember his face, sorry for hurting me. I remember him apologizing, calling me "B" like he always used to. I remember him trying to hold me while I cried, and looking helpless when I pulled away from him.
I remember the first time I was proposed to. He knew how much I hate diamonds because I see them as plain and white. He knew that I love gemstones of color, bright and beautiful. He bought a ring that was yellow gold, and it was set with nine amethyst stones in a square. It was beautiful, and my first piece of real jewelry from a man other than my father (unless the gold-plated cubic zirconias I got from Brian for Christmas in sixth grade count). I remember wearing it to school, so proud of my man and how he spoiled me.
Now I wonder if that ring, and other trinkets he bought me ... I wonder if they were like solid apologies? Saying "I'm sorry" can't just erase a mistake, bad judgement, hurt feelings. But a gift? The joy of that and the happiness in that memory can often supersede those negative things if the positive experience so outweighs the negative one.
But those weren't the only firsts.