Love at first sight is real (“Alone and Together,” continued)

In college I fell in love for the third time. This time, it was love at first sight.

His name was Jack.

There was only one problem, though, which was: we argued. The first day we knew each other, even, we argued.

It was the first week of my freshman year of college. We were just getting out of a class and were walking down the hallway when he said my name really loud and with affection as if we were already good friends. I said his name back, and we started talking and after that, we were friends. Later that night we saw each other in the commons and somehow we got on the subject of television. He said that television was wonderful and I said that it is pointless and uninspiring.

He was right, of course.

Our first semester, we met at the commons almost every night. A little group formed around us and it was the most fun I’d ever had.

It was the first real group of friends I’d ever had, too.

Jack saw how shy I was and he liked to tease me about it. He would talk to me in his loud, confident voice like a big brother would to a little sister, which no one had ever done to me before.

Jack and I were never actually a couple but we were never just friends, either. We never kissed and only held hands once and we only went on one date. But he will probably remember me forever as his first important relationship and I will remember him that way, too.

I still want to kiss him just once.

I remember the day I realized I was in love with him. It was the first time I ever knew I was in love with anyone.

That day, we hung out together in the school library, talking but pretending to study. I don’t remember how the subject came up but suddenly he said, “You have to stop caring so much about what people think of you.”

He’s right, I thought. I do care too much about what people think of me.

I was ashamed.

That was the next thing I learned about love: It makes you believe everything the person you love says about you. It challenges you.

And sometimes, it makes you ashamed.

Looking back, I realize that after being extremely shy all my life, by then, I had made real progress in this area. But at the time, I didn’t see how far I’d come, only where I was right then.

It was like he was speaking into my soul.

No one had ever done that to me before, and it was exhilarating.

That night, as I lay in bed and thought about our conversation, the word “love” came into my mind for the first time in connection with any man. I knew right away that that had to be what it was.

Still, it was a surprise.

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