My First Love

We were young. It was a good time. She was adorable and sweet, I was up to no good. Oil and water don’t mix but I somehow made it happen. Now we’re seated in the kids’ church, it’s time for prayers so everyone stands up. Unprovoked, I remove her chair from behind her back, without her knowing. It was a running game, everyone was supposed to be alert. I stood there, watching and waiting for the inevitable. She sits on what she thinks is her chair, but it’s just air. She lands on the ground with a thud and starts wailing. That’s it. She was inconsolable. Bridge burnt.

It’s high school. I can be found only where there’s a football. I try to shell a coconut for dad, the knife is too sharp so I get cut. Typewriting exam was due that Friday, how would I cope? I go to the hall, show the examiner my finger, and sit down quietly. He walks away leaving me to my fate. She looks across to me and gestures for me to pass my paper. She collects my exam paper and types it all out on the answer sheet. I still don’t know why she did it, I was even more shocked that the examiner didn’t ask me how I typed the entire thing. In exchange for the kind gesture, during jubilations, after we were done with exams, I dodged a flying sachet of water aimed at me and it hit her square in the face. No coming back from that one.

Now college was a wild ride. There were days when all I wanted was to be alone. On other days, I would seek her company. We used to study together. My grades needed some extra yeast to help me relax better. It all began when a lecturer tried to pit us against each other. Since we were in the same department, a rivalry ensued.  As with all battles, I came up tops. She couldn’t stomach the defeat and we started drifting apart. Soon we were sworn, mortal enemies. Thinking back, I could have done a lot of things differently. Chief amongst them being ignoring her the first time she spoke to me. Could have helped fast-track the eventuality.

I loved the office life. Kick back, relax, and work for the man. The best part of the day was the lunch break. I would head to the kitchen with a smile on my face knowing she had left me lunch. On and on it went. For some reason, there was a common consensus that I was supposed to have taken her out on a lunch date. Need I remind you that in the contract we all signed(with blood), you are forbidden from seeing your coworker. She stopped putting effort into the meals and I couldn’t hold on for longer. So one day I asked her if she’s related to Lot’s wife. You know, to explain all the salt in the food? She wasn’t amused.

Kids did the right thing. I was getting too old and needy so they chucked me in with the oldies. I may have lost physical strength but my mouth was still as sharp as ever. That is until I met her. The most beautiful old soul I had ever laid my eyes on. She spoke so calmly as she knitted all day.  Even knitted me a sweater, which I couldn’t wear because the thought combination made me look like a clown. It’s the thought that counts, they say. One day we were all seated across the table and I decided to talk about the eventuality of death. She was visibly shaken. For all accounts, she hadn’t comprehended the thought of dying. She did die a couple of nights later. Apparently, she suffered heart attacks and someone(not me) had made it worse.

In all my years of experience, I can tell you this for free kids. In the game of love, you can’t win. Or maybe it’s just me having difficulty. To love, you must first love yourself. But how can you love the one person you’ve sworn to hate? It’s really dicey. And it’s really rich when people complain that you have walls. Yeah, those walls are perfectly crafted to protect me from the eventuality of hot tears. Your first love isn’t the first person you exchange saliva with or date. Your first love is the person you will always compare everyone to. The person you will never get truly over, even when you’ve convinced yourself you’ve moved on. Everyone has one of those.

Except you, nobody loves you.

© Gottfried. All rights reserved


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