Valentine’s Day: love and a shark’s tooth

Happy Valentine’s Day to you. Whether you celebrate it or not, hate it or not, I want to wish you a wonderful day filled with love and good vibes…
I enjoy V-Day, but not in a satin-teddy-red-roses kind of way….but rather in a warm, gentle knowledge of being loved kinda way.

Do you remember your first love?

Was it romantic, heartbreaking, tortuous, silly, one-sided, wholly reciprocated or a mixture of all of these? Do you remember your first true valentine?

I remember the day I really felt I was truly in love for the first time. I fell hard for an older boy named Adrian. He was in year 8 and I was in year 7.  He was tall, handsome, not too smart, athletic, and made my tummy flip when he smiled at me. He lived around the corner so I spent a lot of time outside for a few months, hoping to catch a glimpse of him on his bike.  I remember making friends with one of his friends, just to try and get closer to him. It turned ugly when the friend thought I liked him but I laughed in his face when he bought me an icypole and expected me to sit with him at lunchtime.

I remember distinctly saving my pocket money for 4 weeks so I could sneakily buy a card and something special for Adrian without my Mum asking any questions. I rode my bike to the local milkbar under the guise of riding to a friend’s house. My heart was racing as I bought the cutest but least ‘smoochiest’ card I could, and a shark’s tooth necklace (hey, the options for classy gifts were limited at the local corner store!). I borrowed a pencil from the store owner and hastily scribbled the words that I’d been composing in my head for days. I remember feeling so nervous about putting my name on the card but in the end thought I’d prefer the credit (and hopefully the ensuing affections!) for the cool necklace rather than go with the tradition of an anonymous valentine. I rode home via his letterbox, and with a squeal, dropped the card and present inside.  My heart was seriously racing and my cheeks were flushed as I flew home at warp speed. I barely slept that night wondering what his reaction would be, and felt sick in the morning before school in case it was bad…or good…I really didn’t know which I wanted!

What if he laughed at me?
What if he showed everyone and they laughed at me?
What if he tried to kiss me?
What if he wanted to walk home with me and my brother saw?
What if he never spoke to me again?
What if he wasn’t as nice as I thought he was?
What if he smelt when I got close?
What if he was everything I’d dreamed he be?

Ugh. Young love, hey?
Complicated. Simple. Exhausting. Exhilarating. Excruciating.

I wonder if the experience of finding love ever really change?

Does experience and knowing oneself better as we age make new love any less complex or exciting? Perhaps we’re not quite as worried about what the other kids might think anymore, but maybe we are….? Should that flush of emotion, the sweaty palms, the flutter in the tummy ever really disappear when we’re with the one we love?

Love is a very intricate and sometimes tangled experience. It’s personal. It’s private. But it’s also universal and public.
What I know is that by sharing oneself with another you find more of yourself.

Happy Valentine’s Day my friend.

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