Back in 1983 I was sixteen. Attending an all girls grammar school and had started dating the most wonderful young man from the equivalent boys school. He was the first love of my life. We learnt together about love, sex, being grown up. We studied together, passed our exams together, started careers together, bought a home together. At sixteen we were also engaged. He was a wonderful person. I loved him so much. And he loved me.
At 19, after three years together, we split up. My fault entirely. I panicked about the commitment so young. I broke his heart and my own. I turned out not to be such a mature 19-year-old. I behaved like a mad witch after we split. God only knows what damage I did.
It took me into my forties and quite a lot of counselling to forgive myself for my behaviour then.
Since then he has got married, remained married and has three gorgeous children. After us and before then I don’t know what he did.
This evening I was sat in a restaurant in Northamptonshire with Hubby, our 21 year old son and my longest known and dearest friend. She also happens to be the mother of my first love!
When I first knew her I was at school in Hertfordshire, she lived in Bedfordshire. I now live in Mid Wales, She lives in Devon. I just happened to be chatting on social media about being near Northampton. We were here for a car club event (#Volvo600), she just happened to be nearby in Kettering. dealing with a family property. We were overlapping for one night only. She has known my son since he was born. It was a fantastic surprise to discover we were only a few miles from each other and could meet up. What a joyous evening.
It reminded me of the elasticity of time how different situations and memories last longer or shorter lengths of time, or remain clear or fade with time.
My first love was the perfect foundation on which to build my future. I learned so much:
I learned I was worth loving
I learned that I’m a hopeless romantic
I learned what a real man was
I learned what a healthy relationship was
I learned what true love was and to expect no less
I learned what an absolutely hideous bitch I could be.
I discovered I had more growing up to do.
What I did, after leaving, and grieving was have a wonderfully wild time, full of the greatest of highs but also the lowest of lows. I had dates and flings, one night stands, an affair, one terrible mistake and several passionate relationships, before, at the age of 27, meeting the love of my life.
Hubby and I have been happily unmarried now for almost 25 years. October 21st 2019 will be our quarter century anniversary. How can that be? Isnt it crazy how different pockets of time move at different rates. Simultaneously. Twenty five years nearly. Yet we still hold hands when we walk together. Still sit and snuggle on the sofa, still laugh as much and probably love each other even more. Sometimes it seems that 25 years have flown by, whilst simultaneously I can’t remember really, or imagine life before, as if my whole lifetime has been him.
Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t always been rosy. We nearly split a couple of times. During those bad periods, time dragged, days seemed interminable. The hours and minutes tocked with each painful second. When you are unhappy, when you are watching and waiting for signals and responses time turns to molasses and its flow is sluggish and slimy. When our son was born, nearly 22 years ago, I thought I could hold onto every minute, everything seemed to happen in momentous and sharpest of focus. Every mini milestone seemed so momentous that it would be difficult to forget and place on the timeline of my life; but the whole thing is a blur, all the happiness if a mishmash of vague shapes and colours in my mind. I can remember the over-riding emotions of pride, joy, peace but I largely forget the timeline of the detail. Like when did he crawl? Was it days,weeks or months after before he walked? How old was he when he had his first haircut? What age was he when Hubby and I went through a bad patch? How long did the bad chapter last?
Last week Hubby and I had five days away. They were wonderful. We spent three of them in Venice. Now I’m thinking, ‘was it really only last week?’. This week seems to have lasted forever. Was it really five whole days? When we arrived home it felt like we had been gone forever. By the next morning it felt like we’d only been away for a few hours..
Its midday now. What happened to the morning?
Time really does have a way of distorting itself; along with the experiences and memories hanging within it. It shifts and slides about. Sometimes it can feel like a moment , whilst existing in time has also happened before; deja vu. Sometimes a moment is buried or forgotten as if it never happened before. Time. What a funny old thing; expanding and contracting depending on mood, age, emotion, and distance from it. It can play tricks. For sure it is not a straight line, it is far more artistic, architectural and interesting than that. To walk through it, as we all do, can be dangerous, exciting, exotic, challenging, joyful, tedious, smooth sailing, predictable, adventurous: we need to ride our waves of time and our recollections and our planning of it and try to enjoy the colours and patterns of it as we travel through our lives. I hope that mine remains as it is now, a bit challenging at times but retrospectively, largely filled with warm fuzzy memories that comfort my soul.