A First Time

For XB

I went to school without shoes. I forgot to eat. And drink. And breathe. I replied in French. I never stopped grinning. I did not care that I did not have a bed in my newly renovated room, or curtains, or bookshelves; I did not sleep anyway, I dreamt. He was the first to ever kiss me, and every fiber of my body and mind was unrescuably in love.

I had just returned from my first experience abroad. I had traveled by myself for the first time, and little did I know that this would become my new life-style just a year later. I was fourteen years old and had spent parts of my summer vacation in a little village in the mountains that are in the heart of France.

All of his three sisters were out of commission, and the sun was shining bright outside. After four days of playing monopoly, I had perfected my money- and street-buying-related vocabulary. It was time for me to leave the house. My host-brother agreed. He threw the climbing gear into the trunk, started the old, stuttering engine, and so we went up the hill towards the side of the mountain where we were going to climb.

Every day for the entirety of my stay, I prayed the Rosary. And then the last day came. And with it came the thunderstorm. Thank the Virgin. We were climbing as we had been for the past weeks, just him and I, though this time, with my departure hovering over the reality of each moment, we were not speaking. And when it started pouring, we packed up the backpacks, and ran. In the wrong direction. We ran along the side of the mountain, with the city of Clermont-Ferrand on the right beneath us in the plains. The black towers of the cathedral peaked up towards us, but in the next moment, the rain washed our clear sight away. He was holding my hand so firmly while we were running that I did not need to worry. I just followed him and shortly after, we arrived at the cave. There, in the dry, we stood for a few seconds, catching our breaths. Then he embraced me, and held me. Standing in a puddle of rain and sweat above the valley and above the cloudburst, he turned me slowly. Our lips united.

And then I stepped on that plane, leaving my mind in the clouds. Who needed a mind? The heart was enough for me.

Well, shortly after, I found out that he had impregnated a young woman and was about to marry her. While I cleaned window after window to release my frustration, hurt and self-pity, he bore a son and just now another one. It just was not supposed to be, and I knew that from the beginning. But in those weeks after I returned from the Massif Central in France, knowing and feeling were two completely different phenomena. So eventually, I started thinking again, and I picked out the color for my curtains. But I will never stop feeling. It started then, and the love I felt then will forever be real. It’s just that feeling that you have to have felt once and you’re good to go forever.