You were not my first date, my first boyfriend, nor my first kiss – you were not my first for a lot of things, but you were my first love.
We were young and stupid – sophomores in high school. We first started talking online (MySpace…if any of you still remember what that was). A mutual friend of ours introduced us. There was an instant connection. Messages online turned into conversations over the phone for hours on end. You were a stranger, but the feeling felt familiar; it was like I’ve already known you all my life.
The first time we actually met in person was a funny story. You didn’t have a car to drive over to the park in my neighborhood where we agreed to meet and so you dragged our mutual friend out to WALK with you from his house. That walk was about 3.5 miles and only took you an hour and a half or so… but to me, it meant everything. A guy was going to walk a far distance just to meet me? Damn. I remember being extremely nervous to meet you and so I brought my sister and two friends along. Butterflies took my stomach hostage and my lungs felt like they had disappeared for it got harder to breathe with every step I took towards the bleachers that you were waiting at. When I was finally standing in front of you, your eyes lit up. I had never felt happier. It wasn’t awkward. It wasn’t weird. It felt right.
You were my first “I love you”. Those before you had said those words to me before, and I would reciprocate but I never meant it. With you, I knew that what I was feeling was different. As our relationship progressed, the feelings of interest/infatuation turned into feelings of passion and admiration. I knew I loved you because I did things I never did in my past. I wanted to work out any problems we had rather than give up and throw away the relationship. I was willing to compromise and to try different things. I grew to be empathetic and was happy when you were happy as well as down when you were down. I found myself wanting to be a better person in every aspect so that I could make you proud to call me your girlfriend. I felt a lot of emotions for the first time with you.
You were my first risk. Being a daughter of very traditional and strict Cambodian parents, I was not allowed to date, let alone bring a boy home. Yes, I’ve had some before you and of course I didn’t tell my parents, but none of them had ever come over. With you, I was willing to risk the consequences and sneak you in after my parents left for work. We couldn’t see each other very often and so you and I did not take our time together for granted. I remember making schedules with you, starting our day together at 8am. We would plan out every detail of our day and what times we would do this and that up until you had to run out before my dad came home at 4pm. It was a full on adrenaline rush during those warm summer days, and I lived and breathed every second of it.
You were my first priority. I made you the center of my universe. It wasn’t good, but I was blinded by love. It was the typical “young love” diagnosis. I thought that as a couple, we were supposed to be inseparable. I chose to spend time with you over my friends. I chose to talk to you or Skype you over my family movie nights. I chose you over my closest guy friends. I chose to fight with you over sleep. It was unhealthy now that I look back, but your first real experience with love can make you do crazy things without hesitation. I felt a euphoric high when I was with you.
We grew together, motivated each other. You were there at the lowest and hardest parts of my life, one of those being my parents’ divorce. You became a part of my family and I became a part of yours. We sang songs, danced, played piano duets (at least tried to) and they’re all captured by photos and videos that I cherished.
We shared almost two years of intimate and fun moments together. We had our ups and downs as every couple does, but we always came out stronger. It was us against the world. We were the epitome of young, stupid kids in love.
You were my first,
but you were not my last.
To be continued.