“I just don’t think that ‘first love’ has to mean ‘only,’ you know?” I said to my friend. We were twelve, sitting on the camp bus. I was deciding to break up with my summer love, my first girlfriend, and I can’t even take this post seriously.
At twelve, I believed I had found true love. I was feeling the Seven Year Itch, about fourteen years early, and didn’t want to be trapped in a committed relationship. Again, I was twelve.
At twelve, I thought that the feeling of “needing to escape” and not be “caged in” were related to the “serious” relationship were in. I was a man who needed to be out on the prowl. Obviously, it took a few years for the reality to sink in. I wasn’t afraid of commitment, I was just into dudes.
But at twelve, in the flush of romance, I did not even think about boys. Much. Maybe a little. Maybe a lot.
My first girlfriend—my only girlfriend—was also my first (heterosexual) kiss at twelve years old. We had dated for two weeks before we kissed. It was in the camp mess hall, at the end of the day. It was our “two week anniversary present.” I told her to close her eyes, and I kissed her. I remember the warmth and softness of her lips and sinking into the well of prickling, pleasant emotions from being close to someone. I scurried away as her eyes opened and we went to our respective buses, which were next to each other.
“Did you like it?” I mouthed to her, separated by two windows and empty space. She nodded, and I remember how bright her blue eyes seemed, searing like stars into mine.
We dated for two months before eighth grade and two months the next summer before ninth grade. She was always pretty when we had dated, but she became beautiful after we broke up and both went through puberty; so whenever I show people her picture as a fun little, “look what I did in the closet!” trip down memory lane, they are very impressed.
I actually saw her recently. I was at the train station that serves as our local Amtrak station, going back to school from a break, when I walked past her and a male I’m assuming is her hot boyfriend. They were waiting for a southbound train that was delayed, and I was heading back up north.
I walked past her and only noticed her coiled up on the floor, long legs tucked underneath her, as I was on par with her. I felt my spine stiffen and wondered if I should stop. But what would that conversation be like? Let’s imagine, shall we?
Me: Oh my god, Darcy?
Me: How are you? It’s been so long. You look amazing!
Darcy: Thanks! So do you. Um, this is my boyfriend.
Boyfriend: Hey, man, how are you doing?
Me: I’m doing well.
Darcy: Danny and I went to camp when we were youn—
Me: We dated when I was in the closet!
Me: Anyway, great seeing you!
Like, I don’t really imagine it going amazingly. So I kept walking. Because I was unshaven, wearing a baseball cap, and roughly seven years older and a foot taller than when we had last spoken, Darcy didn’t recognize me.
I don’t think of Darcy often, but when I do, I wonder what she thinks of me. I’m incredibly narcissistic, so obviously my only thoughts are self-centered. I often wonder what made her decide to “date” me all those years ago. This was largely before I was gripped by crippling insecurities—LOL—so I was free and uninhibited. I know what made me fall for her; she was tall and beautiful and dorky—she loved horses—and we really got along.
In fact, we got matching military dog tags that said our “ship” name. But this was before “ships” were really a thing, because it was 2007 and we didn’t really have the same Internet culture—that I was aware of. I also can’t write out our actual ship name because that would give away her name—Darcy is my blog name for her—so I guess it would be “Darny” which is lame. Not that our actual ship name wasn’t lame. Anyway, the dog tags both said, “Darny forever,” and we wore them.
My dog tag is stuffed in a tin pushed into the far recesses of my closet—ironically enough—but every so often, when I’m cleaning out my closet, I open up the tin and look at it, along with other relics of my life, mainly a Polly Pocket—in a cloth dress I made—and some ceramic mice. I have led a weird life.
Depressingly enough, Darcy remains my longest relationship, but that’s less to do with my amazing looks and more to do with my self-sabotage and fear of commitment. And my personality. And my narcissism. But did I mention my amazing looks? I did? They’re amazing.
P.S. I tried to find a picture concurrent to the time I’m talking about, but just looking through my old Facebook pictures is making me want to lowkey snap my laptop in half. So I don’t think I will.