I bet after I type this out I will receive more than the usual amounts of hits I normally get here. Well, the reason why I’m dredging up this story of my past is because I just came across an old photograph of my very first “true love.” After all these years I thought it should be put into the archives so that one day into the distant future I would have a record of it, something to share with friends and family for the year to come. So my story starts in the cold damp Northern town of Terrace BC, when the Rubics Cube was all the rage, and ZZ-top was number one in the music charts: Sharp Dress Man. OK, I’m showing my age here, I’ll admit it. I’m going to use a fake alias because I know “she” is still very much alive, and to a certain degree she does know my whereabouts through other mutual friends, and she has family of her own. The past is the past, and should be kept that way I think. Anyway….
Once upon a time, in a place far far up North, a young boy, that’s me, who lived with his family on a farm that had animals, and was very far from town. [Now I’m switching the pronoun around here–OK] So, when I went to school, or when my parents drove me into town as they went shopping, it was an opportunity not to be missed. At school I met lots of people, and coming from the outskirts of town, the tiny town was like a big city of urbanites that I know today because I had never seen so many people at once, well for that matter, have seen so many other kids my age!
School was an challenge because not being accustom to the social standards and playground politics, finding my clique was difficult, but once established, I quickly found a group that took me in, sort of a rough bunch I guess, but nonetheless it was a group of friends to be with. It was through this group of friends that I met Sally. Sally was also sort of a misfit because she dressed in promiscuous garb, and she felt that she was one of the boys in terms of being adventurous and out going. I had never seen girls fight until I met Sally; she was a real go-getter in her own right. But anyway, the love affair took place at a bush party up at the old gravel pit, something that I think is synonymous throughout every back-wood Northern community throughout Canada, where drugs and alcohol are abundant, and the rules of social conduct are very blurred. Girls love guys with money and transportation, as I soon discovered, and if you have both, then you are as close to the top of hierarchy scale as you can get, if not the Alpha-Male! But because of my age, I had the transportation, and money, but never succeeded to the Alpha status. However, I lured Sally with my two redeeming traits or merits!
I will never forget the awkwardness of doing it. In fact, if I ever have children, I would take the time, go against the family values that my parents held, and really talk to them about consummation and commitment because my life would have been a whole lot easier if I had known all about it! I would have probably stayed a virgin a lot longer had I known about how much energy and time you need to put into it–getting to first base–as it were. But anyway, It was awkward. All I had were the basic stories told by my friends, and some very vague discussion from my Mom and Dad, and a school sex education film that was made way back in the sixties. And I’m sure Sally was just as equally an novices at it too, despite the rumors and tails told by my friends.
Our romantic fling lasted less than half an hour. We went back to the fire where twenty or so partyers sat in a large circle, each with a beer in one hand and puffing on cigarettes with the other. We sort of blended in back into the crowd after that. But I do remember my first emotion after that experience, it was a feeling deep guilt. Weird eh? I don’t know why I felt like that? Maybe it was all the brain-washing my parents gave me because they absolutely feared me knocking up a young lady and having children out of wed-lock, or the fear of AIDS, STDs that was making the news almost daily then, so unprotected sex was an issue. Yes Mom, I used a condom! Either way, I felt guilty. Later that night I spoke to Sally, and she told me that she felt the same way, so it was a mutual feeling after all. But we never got back together after that. We did it, and that was it.
We would go on through high school, pass each other in the halls and never make eye contact. For the years after that night from up at the gravel pit, we would never come close to each other again. It was only until almost twenty years later, when I came back to Terrace for a visit, that we spoke to one another again. It was then that I got to see what would of have happened if I had stuck it out and stayed with her. Sally was beautiful in her own charm. She had her family with her, three children and a dog. We met at the shopping centre and exchanged salutations and blurbed out what we were doing, and what we were were up to, and the basic catching up stuff you can do in five minutes. I found out that she had being married and then divorced after an abusive husband put her in the hospital. She was war harden and very independent. She was very shocked to find out that I had not married and had no children of my own. But after that we walked onwards heading off in different directions.
So the question I’m asking myself right now is: what is true love? Sally will obviously hold a special place in my thoughts as “the first time” and this should be, because it was. So does the meaning and significance of the “first time” have a bearing on life’s experiences? Because I did learn so much from that experience, that that moment should mark the way love should be after that–right? There was no Earth shattering thunder, or apotheosis of uncontrolled kinetic energy, or a moment of truth and revelation, it was boring and messy. Perhaps the “first time” should not be counted, or used as a reference point in one’s life? Maybe it should be ignored altogether!