I found my first love at eighteen years old. It was an unexpected, but sweet love. I was fresh out of high school, my first Eugene fall at the University of Oregon. He was a cute sophomore boy a few years older than me (we had the same birthday). We met at a party. I remember our first drunken conversation and how he made me laugh. He was goofy and didn’t care what anyone thought. He was charming and made me feel like the most special girl in the world.
It was a young and innocent love.
I made you a mixtape, you made me a mixtape. I still have it.
You bought me gummy worms when I had cramps.
He held my hand on the way to class.
He walked all of the way from his house to my dorm in the pouring Oregon rain.
He told me I was beautiful and missed me when I was gone.
He told me I was the love of his life.
Parties and drunken goofiness.
He taught me how to let go. He taught me to be light. To love life with all of its complexity. To find love in simplicity.
He was everything that I strived to be. Polar opposites.
But mental illness plagued me that year. Social anxiety, bulimia, and insecurity. I thought the world was against me. Daddy issues surfaced making me feel I was never enough. If my own father left me, everyone else must think there’s something wrong with me, right?
I thought his friends hated me. I couldn’t make friends. I couldn’t open up. I was anxious and shy. I thought everyone knew there was something wrong with me.
The elephant in the room.
He dealt with all of it with the strongest love. He defended me. I’ll never forget it.
We both were young and finding our footing in the world. A huge year of transition and change, trying to hold on to love at a terrible time. Our love fell apart.
It was a lot.
I realize now.
It’s 2018 and I’m 23. I still listen to songs that we listened to, your memory still attached to its lyrics. A painful twitch in the heart mixed with sweet memories. I smile every time.
I wonder if one day we’ll talk and laugh over coffee about our stupid fights and our innocent memories. I wonder if he’s happy, in love, and doing everything he dreamt of.
Thank you for that year. Thank you for teaching me about love and for the little lessons.
Love you to forever and back.