You do not realise, when you are blessed with youth, how fragile and innocent your blue eyes appear to strangers, how the naivety in your laughter at certain words resounds, or how delicate your thin limbs are, until you grow into adolescence and the blatant immaturity sings at you while watching young girls walk alongside their mothers crossing the road, or plait each other’s hair in the park. It was not until one day, entranced in the daintiness of two girls side-by-side, waist-to-waist, walking along the pavement on a bright afternoon, that I realised, my God, I was dating when I were their age.
The whole world seems mapped-out, you assume there is nothing more you could possibly know, for you know what sex means, and you listen to music with lyrics depicting devastating heartbreak. There are good people, and there are bad; you haven’t met a ‘bad person’, but you assume you never will, because you’d obviously steer clear. What you don’t know, is that as he reaches down your jeans in the park, while behind a few bushes the three year old girl is being pushed on the swing, and two mothers share their weekend plans on the bench, is that the boy you call your boyfriend is probably one of these people.
You think you’re in love. It’s the craziest idea in hindsight, but right then, oh boy, you had never felt anything better. Kissing is just so damn good. And you will kiss for hours, entwined on a sofa, until your lips go numb. As he stokes your forehead you truly will believe that this boy, this fifteen year old boy who is a year above you in school, might just possibly be the one you will marry. Bullshit, if you ask me now. Absolutely. But in those seconds, where you share parts of your body with someone that you’ve never shared before, you think that this must be it.
You will awkwardly lie on top of his creased blue bed sheets, staring blankly at the imperfect brush strokes on his bedroom wall as he pulls down your underwear. In his head, he’s the man in a film he has seen, passionately embracing a woman in laced underwear, but the reality is a clumsy ordeal with moments of bewildered pauses. Imagining the girls I see in the street, leaving the school gates or laughing on the daisy studded fields, laying on those bedsheets with the same amount of doubt and fear in their minds terrifies me. Laying there for the fifty-something time, ‘not now’ you’ll whisper, but it’s worthless now because you know he will answer ‘why not?’ and continue, as if a routine he must abide by, his body naively controlled, fuelled by the fire of young chemicals.
Breaking up will tear your small heart into shreds. I always remember the consuming, deep hurt I felt when my first boyfriend told me we couldn’t see each other anymore. Maybe being so young makes the pain feel fresher, more alive, or maybe youth gives you less control over your feelings. Maybe it is the downright foolishness to let him consume all your thoughts and time in the first place, but damn, you will cry, a lot.
But in the future, you will tread a little more carefully; you will take things a little slower. Looking back, I could say I regret ever being with the first boy I called my boyfriend, or I could thank him for teaching me so many things that can be wrong, and how I can have something so right.
Submitted to ArtParasites by Isabelle Mason