*I'm taking some creative liberties with this prompt. Primarily, picking and choosing which "firsts" I am going to write about.
One would think my first love would be my high school boyfriend, right? One might even think my first love would be my first husband. One would be wrong.
I've been mulling this prompt over since I saw it a couple of days ago. It would be easy to play those two off as my first love(s), but that wouldn't be honest. Sure, I 'loved' my high school boyfriend - we were well-suited for each other and dated for over two years, but I'm not sure I ever felt anything more than deep affection for him. I was upset when I broke up with him, but not devastated. His little sister and I were best friends in high school, so I still saw him a fair bit with hardly any of the post-break-up teenage angst.
I married my first husband, not because I was madly in love with him, but because he was the first man with whom I'd had sex. Being a good Christian girl, I managed to convince my eighteen year-old self that I'd learn to love him and that having premarital sex with him was somehow less of a sin if I married him. Five years and three children later, I had to admit that I was not in love with him and that, in fact, it was best for me and the kids to be away from him. In our time together, we certainly developed a love of sorts, because of sharing major milestones together. I was upset over the divorce, of course, because it was a huge life change for me.
My first love was Hall. There's a line in Jerry Maguire that summed up exactly how I was feeling when I met him. Dorothy and her sister were in the kitchen and Dorothy says, "I'm the oldest 23 year old in the world!" (Or words to that effect.) That's exactly how I felt. I got married at 18, had Digger at 20, Ashinator at 21, and Monster at 23, started divorce proceedings at 24. Needless to say, I was old before my time.
Hall taught me to have fun and laugh. He introduced me to my girls, for which I will be forever grateful. I was welcomed into his circle of friends. With Hall and company, I was me. Not someone's mom, not someone's ex-wife, not anyone but me. He saw me and liked me for who I was. My friends and family weren't always fans of his, because he made it very clear that he didn't want children or to be a step-dad. I get it, but I needed Hall just because of who he was. I needed something just for me. I'll admit there were times when I'd fantasize about us getting married, but knew we'd never have the Happily Ever After. That's not to say he never interacted with the kids - in fact, he helped me coach Digger's soccer team for a couple of seasons. He helped haul the kids around to day care and school. He took a very limited paternal role with them and I was okay with it.
Our relationship wasn't always easy. In fact, the last year and a half or so was downright brutal at times. We both knew the relationship had run its course, and we both knew we needed to end it, but it was so hard to do. I truly, deeply loved him and though I knew it was past time to break up, I couldn't imagine life without him. We'd break up, get back together, break up, get back together, lather, rinse, repeat. After five and a half years together, I finally found some balls and made a clean break, which was the hardest thing I'd ever done. It took me almost three years to recover from the break-up. Thank God for Robs, who also went through a hard break-up at the same time. I wouldn't have made it without her.
Surprisingly, my first kiss memory has nothing to do with any of my previous relationships and everything to do with Jay. I would think that I'd remember my first-first kiss, or at least the first kiss with my first love, but I don't. Jay knocked my socks off. I was more than half in love with Jay by the time we met face-to-face. We spent weeks emailing back and forth, getting to know each other before we ever met in real life. Our first date ran more than five hours. I swear he started to go in for the kiss when we parted, but aborted at the last minute. I was slightly disappointed, but happy with the tight goodbye hug.
I spent our next date, a week or so later, plotting ways to get him to kiss me. We had lunch, talked, walked around Old Town, but I couldn't focus. I kept thinking I was just going to shove him up against a building and kiss him, but I lost my nerve time and again. Four and a half hours later, we decided to call it a day. I was beside myself for being such a chicken. Jay walked me to my car and gave me a goodbye kiss. And another and another. My toes curled and I was absolutely breathless. I'd had my share of kisses in my 37 years, but our first kiss(es) were unlike anything I'd ever experienced. All those flowery descriptions of first kisses in romance novels? Yeah, they nailed it. We'd probably still be standing there by my car kissing if it wasn't for someone driving by who yelled, "Get a room!". It was sufficient to break the spell, but in a humorous way.
By that time, I was head-over-heels in love with Jay, even if I wasn't ready to admit it to myself.