I felt a rush of sadness as I listened to the girl’s story. It hasn’t been nearly that long for me, but I could relate. Messy as love can be, there are very few things that match that feeling you get when you first fall in love — if the feeling is mutual, that is. Otherwise, it mostly sucks .
I’ve only fallen in love a few times in my life. The other times I’ve simply become infatuated or obsessed, and always confused. I was eight when I discovered the butterflies in my stomach every time I saw Alvarito. He was my first real crush and I’ll always remember him coming by my aunt Valentina’s house to pick me up so we could bike around the village.
Then, there was Boyd. He could have maybe, possibly been something else had I been a bit older and staying in England for more than a month, but I was barely nineteen, working as an au-pair for the summer in a small town near London, so it never went a step above a summer fling.
The details of our fleeting relationship get blurrier the older I become. I know I met him at a party organized by my host family, but I forgot how we ended up dating for the rest of the summer. He was a shy, tall, lanky man, 5 or 6 years my senior, who lived with a cat named Digby. He was the opposite of a poster boy and yet, here I am, 20 years later, still thinking about him. I guess there is something to be said about lack of closure. Our time together was so brief we never argued or even broke up. I left three weeks after we met, we wrote for a while —hand-written letters no less, I had yet to discover the wonders of email and texting— and one day, we stopped.
We’d hang out in Black Park or The Black Horse sometimes, watch movies at his place when the weather was bad. He played Blade Runner for me once; best nap of my life. He loved Killer Queen and would rise the volume when the song came up while we were driving somewhere. I can no longer listen to Fat Bottom Girls without thinking about him. He really was a skinny boy and we make the rockin’ world go round.
But one memory stands out from the rest, that time at the pub when we held hands for the first time. I can’t say if we were coming or going, headed to or away from our table. The place was packed, smoky and loud. All I know is that he was leading the way but the crowd kept pushing and holding me back, so I couldn’t keep up. He turned around, reached my hand and yanked me closer to him. Suddenly, everything else dissapeared. There was no longer smoke in the air or people around me. I could hear no music, no conversations. There was just his hand on my hand. His skin touching my skin.
I wish I could have stayed there forever. In a way, I guess I have. After all these years, the memory remains so vivid I can feel my cheeks getting hot every time I think about it.
- North American Basque Organizations (NABO) is seeking a new Basque language coordinator
- Pete Cenarrusa’s funeral mass live on KTVB.com at 10:00 am