I was 16 years old when I met the love of my life. Or at least the first one. He was beautiful – blonde, blue-eyed and athletic. We met on holiday and he would sneak into my room when my parents were asleep and hold me in his arms and tell me I was the only girl he had ever cared about. When we got back to the city we would sit on the phone for hours and hours and contemplate how unfair life was that we had to be apart for a week at a time. He would put his phone on the floor and sing for me with his guitar and I would sit on the other side, smiling to myself because it was so cute but sounded so awful. Every week we wrote each other long letters, and on each one he drew a stick figure of a girl and a boy holding hands, with a heart hovering above their heads. He gave me a lucky packet bracelet made of colourful plastic teddy-bears and I wore it every day and cried when it broke.
We’d been together for about 4 months when I realised I was in love with him. We were on holiday at the beach and were on our way back to his house early in the morning after a night out; taking our time because going home meant separate rooms and any time apart was like torture. He had a thing for the stars and they were just beautiful that night, so we lay on the grass and he showed me the different constellations and told me to think of him every time I saw Scorpio. I did for a couple of years.
The day he broke up with me was the worst in my 16-year-old life. I felt like I was totally empty inside or had just had a limb removed. He said that it wasn’t working any more; that it was obvious; that we hadn’t really been speaking to each other for a while anyway. It was true. He’d been ignoring my calls for a good two weeks. I was all cool and collected and asked, since the relationship was over anyway, if he had been with someone else. Things had gone from perfect-to-over suspiciously quickly, overnight in fact, and I couldn’t come up with any other explanation. I should have known straight after he answered my question with “When?” as in “Which time?” But he corrected himself and denied everything. “You know I don’t believe in cheating!” he lied. A fantastic line, I later discovered – this “I don’t believe in cheating” thing.
I called him once after we broke up and he told me to hold on and put the phone on his bed and he didn’t come back. I could hear him in the background, chatting to his friends but I stayed on the line for 10 minutes before I hung up. After that I stopped calling. I felt like this person so close to me had just been sucked into some kind of black hole and for months afterwards I was totally lost in life. I read his letters and old text messages over and over again, and cried myself to sleep for an embarrassing number of weeks. It still scares me that someone can lie so easily, and it still affects my ability to trust somewhat, but I console myself by looking back and knowing that I did everything right. I would rather love too much and risk being hurt than be anything like that asshole that hurt me. There’s not enough love in the world, and I’m going to give as much as I can.