Read The Sixth Time: Prologue.
Everyone remembers their first love, don’t they? Or at least the first time that they thought they were in love. That it felt different to those crushes that they’d had before, that there was something more about this one, and you couldn’t quite tell why? This person gave you a funny feeling in your chest, compared to all the others. It wasn’t just because they were cute… there was just something about them, and you couldn’t quite put your finger on what it was?
This one was different from the times when my friends and I would spend our time trailing around the games field of our secondary school, just to get a glimpse of him, playing football, or just generally being cool in the way that crushes tend to be to a teenage girls mind. Maybe he was the sports captain, the older guy, the cool band dude, or just some random with kind eyes. I remember the crushes like that, although I can’t remember all of their names now. I remember pretending to like bands that I’d didn’t really like, just to get someone’s attention.
That kind of fleeting emotion doesn’t really register against that first time that you fall you in love. For me, it hit me like a baseball bat to the back of the knees, and I fell head over heels (which really wouldn’t have been difficult in the below-the-knee skirts we had to wear at our school; they were a constant trip hazard – although thankfully the ankle-length style had gone out of “fashion” a few years before we had to wear them). It just so happens that this love was definitely the unrequited one. We all have to have at least one of those in our life. Maybe more than one. They kind of suck; but I guess they teach us something?
I had blown out fifteen candles on my birthday cake the previous year, and had even had a boyfriend for a couple of months in between. But that wasn’t love. That was just something that felt kind of good at the time. He was funny, sweet, and we flirted in the back of Science class, pissing off the teacher at the same time. We went to the cinema a few times, had coffee, and we held hands at lunchtime. He had a mop of curly blond hair and kind eyes.
Our first kiss was by the school gates in the late November rain. It wasn’t the kind of rain that could even be vaguely romantic; it was that drizzle that seems to permeate England at that time of year. The sky was leaden and it was cold. We had to be careful so we didn’t get our braces stuck together. That would have been embarrassing. Not to mention painful. Even so; I practically skipped home. I’d had my first kiss. And regardless, that was special. It didn’t quite alter my worldview, as many a teenage TV show had made me believe it would, but it still put a smile on my face.
That was good enough for that first boyfriend. But I got bored quickly (hey, I’m no saint!); it didn’t really make me feel anything.
Then he forgot Valentine’s Day.
Well, for a teenager who thought that all love should be modelled on the great romance movies, that was the last straw. I broke up with him one day after English class. Face-to-face; telling him that I just didn’t see it going anywhere. Very serious. I’d always thought breaking up by text was crass. I’ve not changed in that respect. He was the first boy who’d ever been in my bedroom. He was also one of only two boyfriends I’ve had.
I know, I know; I told you that I’ve had six loves in my life. So how can he possibly have been only one of two boyfriends? Well, welcome to the twenty-first century. It’s a minefield out there. So, you better tread carefully.
Anyway, I’m getting distracted from my first love. The unrequited one. It all happened that time when we were in a school play together. A group of under eighteens stuck in a room together, several times a week, for months on end. What could possibly go wrong with that? My best friend, Lily, was working behind the scenes, so she watched it all happen.
[Continued in Act I, Scene II]
I’m definitely trying to channel Caitlin Moran in her ownership of her stories. It is pretty tough being this honest and real. Oh well, let’s rip off the band aid hey?