no power like that of first love

ph: M. Klasan


There’s no power like that of first love. Before it happens, your heart is a blank canvas, an unwritten story. That’s what I was until I met you.

You rattled parts of me that I didn’t even know existed. You showed me a kind of happiness that I had no idea I was capable of feeling. You made me feel wanted, you made me feel needed. You taught me so much, and you exploded my world. A few months of walking on sunshine like that and nothing will ever look the same to me again.

Now it's over, and I'm halfway across the world. My canvas is a mess, splattered with wild blotches of colour, barely any bits of white left. My pages are overflowing with words strung together into sentences, stained with ink blotches, creased and torn. Scrubbing may free up some space but it will never get rid of the traces. Every other mark made for the rest of my life will be compared to and intertwined with the ones left by you.

It doesn’t help when I think about the ways you hurt me. It doesn’t matter when I remember how I gave so much more than you ever did. I’m indifferent to how many times people tell me I deserve better. My brain and my heart still disagree. I can’t just go back to the time before I knew the warmth and comfort of your arms, your brown eyes that can melt glaciers, your silent chuckle, and your beating heart, with its stupid leaking bicuspid valve that forced you to stop playing soccer.

Nothing will ever match how safe I felt belonging to you, because only in the aftermath do I now understand that I’m not safe belonging to anybody. Love takes courage. You are forced to become vulnerable, to face and surrender the most fragile parts of yourself. It’s impossible to do it with the same naΓ―ve, reckless abandon the second or third time around.

I don't know what this summer will bring, but all I can hope for is the strength to deal with it when the time comes. There’s no power like that of first love. I may not have been yours, but you were mine, and for that I know that I will always, always love you.

- A

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