First Love Lasts Forever
I remember my first love as if it were last night below the full moon with the sea slipping over the beach. The experience was overwhelming, painful, obsessive and I didn’t sleep for days. We may believe our first love is more intense and magical than anyone else’s. But that’s not true. It is always intense. Always magical. In fact, researchers have found that first love remains lodged in our minds and influences our attitude to love and sex for the rest of our lives.
According to BBC Science, first love is so potent it echoes the bond between mother and child in infancy. First love burns brightest and, even when it burns out, the experience, researchers say, is ‘similar to using cocaine, so pleasurable it’s like an addiction.’ The study identified three phases of love.
Lust and attraction sound the same to me. Teenagers race from one to the other, rarely reaching the attachment phase, making the experience so strong and vivid, the light that come on stays on, a glow that glimmers behind each new relationship.
My first love was a boy I met in Spain. I have a photograph and he looks so young with his tentative smile, green eyes and swept back hair . He is deeply tanned, angular, his eyes not staring into the camera but through the lens at me taking the picture.
His name was Ricardo. He did not speak English, and my schoolgirl Spanish was at the level where I could ask for little more than a café con leche. Ricardo didn’t need to speak. He just stared at me with those big green eyes and I my breasts tingled as I stared at him with his wide shoulders in a white tee-shirt.
He was with his parents and two younger sisters at the same hotel where I was on holiday with my parents and brother. Like in a scene from Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, I would see him passing in the lobby. In the restaurant I watched across the sea of tables as he cut peaches in quarters and shared them with his sisters. I saw him on the beach. I wore a yellow bikini. He wore red shorts decorated with yellow suns. We smiled. We said Hola, and I took his photograph.
First Love Last Night
Then it was Friday. There was a disco at the hotel. The moon was full. We danced. We moved towards the exit as if drawn by a magnet and gripped fingers as we hurried down to the beach. We continued around the coast towards the rocks where I had seen him diving.
He made a swimming motion and I nodded. He stripped down to his underpants. I stripped to my bra and panties, and then I did something that I had not planned to do and can’t imagine how I ever got the courage to do it: I took off my underwear and walked into the sea.
I turned and waved. He was watching me as he lowered his boxers. He swam out through the swell. We raced childishly. We ran back to the beach and kissed, a long salty kiss. We made love that night beneath the moonlight and next day I stood in the shade outside the hotel as his family climbed into a taxi.
Ricardo waved out the rear window as the car drove away and I thought my heart was going to break. I had discovered emotional feelings and desires I didn’t know I had and imagined that I would spend my entire life searching for the boy I had made love with on the beach.
The intensity of my feelings passed, as the survey in BBC Science said it would, but my first love remains unforgettable and the memory is like a breath of warm air on the bitterest winter night.
Katie in Love has more than 100 5**** Reviews
“This is highly original storytelling of breath-taking assurance and awesome craft. Thurlow’s writing is very much like her main character; moody—by turns melancholy and reflective—beautiful, sensuous and cerebral. This is “writer-ly” writing to be sure, the sort that stirs serious critical buzz and garners shelffuls of prestigious literary awards.” Terrance Aldon Shaw, Amazon, 5 stars.