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The First Time

The first kiss. We were in a tent and it was noon. My clothes were sticking to my body and he pulled me in closer. Our lips touched and I felt like fainting, inexplicable sensations tingling through my body. His sister told me some days later that he’d really enjoyed it and thought we should move on to tongue-kissing. I had to sit down.

First make-out session. I was at the beach with a couple of friends. There were three of us and we met three good-looking guys that were in the same hotel. We hung out and swam amidst the waves and that night each one of us picked one of the others to make out with. We took turns for each couple. It was not romantic. The tall cute one picked me and we went behind a barbecue ranch and made out. He said he couldn’t believe it was my first time. My head was spinning. We made out and held each other’s hands for three long, hot days. I understood the passion of elevator make-out sessions. We said goodbye and went home. It was over.

First time having sex. I know for a fact neither of us knew what we were doing, but the world was crumbling and I couldn’t see it was his fault. So we did it anyway. We kept on doing it and I didn’t think it could get any better. We were too young.

First time making love. I cared much more this time. He went up to his treehouse and filled it with little candles, set up a blanket and some pillows and I made sure to be gentle. It’s different when your heart is in it.

First broken heart. Didn’t really feel like a broken heart. There was so much love there, just no logical connection between our lives. It was best to keep it as friends. Yet I woke up the next day and realised I’d forgotten how to be single after all these years of always having him by my side. So I just laid there until something came up. A friend texted me and suggested coffee, and I moved on with my life.

First time I realised the world would continue existing without her. I cried in the shower so people wouldn’t see I was broken. Tried to comprehend what was happening and wailed at a god I didn’t even believe in. That was the first time I prayed there was a life after death, because she couldn’t simply be gone. I held her tighter that day as we went to the hospital to get her heart checked.

First funeral. I didn’t know what to expect even though I’d been to other people’s funerals, so I dressed in black and I decided that I wanted her photo that I’d taken a few weeks back on her coffin. I got a haircut and went to the printer and tried to laugh off the time waiting for the inevitable.

First heart I broke. Not being able to apologise because it was exactly what I needed and I had to get out. Seeing him crying and not changing my resolve because it would do us no good. Moving out of our home, his home, not my home. Bringing our hopes and dreams with me in a box and unpacking my own set of new goals somewhere else.

First time seeing her coffin. I never really managed to walk into that room, but I remember the distinct smell of flowers and some sort of chemical - and wanting to die right there, as I aimlessly repeated “thank you” and agreed that she was off in a better place I didn’t believe in. I got us sandwiches and made sure he was getting something to eat. He was all I had left of her and I held him close, as I had when I was much younger.

First time picking myself up. Realising nobody could fight my fights for me and I had to get out. First time waking up in my own home, realising I had nobody to call and it had all been my choice - and I kinda loved it. First time missing you. Knowing I’d always miss you and I’d never have you. First time building myself a life, and first time letting that life go.

The first time a boy brought me flowers, unbeknownst to him that they smelled like death and that first coffin. And the second, and the third.

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