Day 3 – What is love?

Day 3 – Your first love and first kiss; if separate, discuss both

When I talk about this, I don’t include everything. Do others? I don’t know the proper protocol so I just think about the people who came into my life post-puberty, when I actually understood what kisses were for.

Because when you are hiding on the floor in front of your kindergarten bus seat with your cousin’s coat over your head to kiss the boy you like to torture more than the other boys, it doesn’t really count.

When I was in the fifth grade (so… 11? I think) I had a boyfriend. Nick. Nick would not be the last boy I dated who was a little left of center. But even then, the whole thing was more of a business transaction than a relationship. My parents owned a little grocery store and Nick lived a block away from it so he would walk to the store and we would stand in an aisle that couldn’t be seen from the front counter and stare at one another awkwardly. And that was pretty much it.

We went trick or treating together (ironically, with the same cousin who had put her coat over my head when I kissed a boy in kindergarten) but I don’t think we ever actually kissed.

So when I answer this question, all of that that happened before, with Nick and the other boy, gets kind of swept under the rug. I didn’t know what kissing was when I was six and I didn’t love Nick.

But Michael…

When I was 14, in the summer before I started high school, I met a boy.

He was new. He had had some problems where he used to live so he had moved here to live with his mother, who lived three houses down from one of my best friends at the time, who had become friends with Michael’s younger sister. So we all hung out. My friend and her new friend and my friend’s new friend’s older brother and me. We listened to music and we hugged, a lot, and it was pretty cool for a summer romance.

For the 4th of July, my town – as is the case with most of the U.S. – held a massive celebration that culminated with a fireworks display and barricading the main street to have a dance. Michael was there and I was there and we wandered away from the festivities, to talk, to hang out, just to be with each other. And that was the first kiss I remember being my first kiss.

And it was a good kiss.

You hear stories all the time of teen romances and how the first kiss is all noses and sloppy and a huge disaster. Mine was not.

Did I mention Michael was 17?

I’m a little fuzzy on the idea of love versus being in love versus just really liking someone a whole lot. So, I asked my friends. As is par for the course, I got two responses and neither of them really clarified anything for me. Love, they said, is when you want someone to be happy, even if you are not the one that makes them that way. And to be completely honest, I have no idea what either of them thought being “in love” meant.

I have dated a few guys over the years since I was 14 with Michael. But of the whole bunch, there are only two I really feel like, looking back, I ever actually loved. And one, for sure, I think I was only dating because it was easy, convenient, and hassle-free. When it came down to the “unconditional, unselfish” part of loving him, I couldn’t do it (you‘ll have to wait for another day to figure out which one).

But of all of the guys I dated over the years, I think Michael was one of the ones I actually loved.

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