I don’t believe in true love, but I do believe in first love.
I stopped believing in the idea of a soul mate somewhere around 24. She didn’t find me, I didn’t find her, and I was pretty damn sure I was still hung up on a girl I dated when I was 17. She was my first everything. And at 18, as is to be expected, I thought she’d always be my only thing.
But I was a boy then, and when we broke up at 19, I felt things I no longer can. Boy things. I remember feeling like the life I was meant to live was prematurely foreclosed. Wrongfully terminated. A mere mistake in place, or time, or something. It used to grip my stomach. Those are vague memories now, as time did its thing.
Other things came along and proved she hadn’t been my only thing. Man things. Distance yields rationale. Reason. She wasn’t my only one, just the first one. That was it. It’s called the primacy effect. I think. Yet each time we reconnect — a brief meal, a phone call, a quiet thought — I feel an echo. I taste a distant memory. Logic disappears.
Here I am again, scared she’ll confirm that the once dreamt-of future is truly foreclosed. Why? I’ve already convinced myself a thousand times over of all the reasons why not. The fear of dying alone? Nah, that’s happening no matter what. The related fear of losing at relationship musical chairs? I don’t think so. So why this feeling?
First love is fleeting. Home was much too small a place for her and she hasn’t since returned. Reason tells me she’s gone for good and it’s good she’s gone. But the boy inside still remembers her acceptance was first. The boy inside still hopes she’ll someday move back home.
The seductiveness of this world and the sign that warrants its transitoriness are one and the same. Only in this way can the world seduce us.
Franz Kafka as shared by Donald Mac.