First Love

¿Cómo era, Dios mío, cómo era?
Juan Ramón Jimenez


      I was there with her ostensibly to study. It was late on a Sunday evening in the autumn of 1987 and I was at her university apartment on a "study date." I still remember exactly how she looked that evening: her cream-colored wool knit sweater, hair pulled back and up in a pony tail, young and fresh. Years and years later, I remember like it was yesterday how beautiful she looked that night.

      Neither of us had much experience in such matters. Yet sitting there across from her pretending to study, all I could think of was how much I wanted to touch her and be near her. Finally, amidst all the small talk and casual conversation I took a deep breath and jumped into the unknown, admitting to her that I "had been looking forward to this evening all week long." "So had I," she replied looking downwards with a hint of a smile, coloring a little. Even in those first few awkward steps it felt honest and right. We were young and we knew nothing..."She was a child and I was a child..." But that was about to change.

      Lying with her later on the carpet, I remember looking deep into her eyes in the moonlight filtering through the windows just above us to the right. I thought to myself, "The eyes really are the windows of the soul..." The skin-on-skin intimacy was novel and all-encompassing; I was hooked from the very beginning. It seemed as if my whole life had been leading up to this moment and I was finally coming into my own. "Man and woman truly were meant to be together like this," I remember feeling deep down inside, as if I had just discovered some truth that my father, his father, and all my ancestors had known before me. Man and woman were meant to be together: this was her gift to me that night, and the truth of this lesson never did leave me. We lay there in the moonlight performing rituals as ancient as man himself yet forever fresh and sweet between young lovers, perhaps the best moments human existence offers. Looking point-blank into her eyes there was "no today, no tomorrow, the truth of two in one..." Totally focused on one another and naked in every way, we spent the whole evening this way in each other's arms.

      I left her apartment drowsy at dawn and drove home on my motorcycle through the Westwood streets feeling content and at peace in a way I had never felt before.


A Love Letter
After we almost died one afternoon,
I write her a love letter.

John Steinbeck to His Son Thom
"First - if you are in love - that's a good thing - that's about the best thing that can happen to anyone. Don't let anyone make it small or light to you."


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