With the kids at my sister’s house, I was sorting crap in our bedroom into a Keep Pile or a big black plastic garbage bag when my eyes spotted the fading blues and yellows on a small, paper crescent moon box that was tucked behind some books.
Goosebumps invaded my arms.
Marco was nowhere in sight. Why would he be when it was time to pack and clean? Fucker.
I grabbed the box and opened it, preparing myself for its contents: a dried rose that was so fragile, my breathing nearly destroyed it; a folded photo of two happy kids from another life taken at my sister’s house one Christmas morning; a piece of paper folded over and over again so that it might be overlooked.
With my eyes shut, I studied the photo for a moment. His backwards baseball cap… his blue eyes that were so much older than the 22 years he was… the veins that stuck out from his deliciously toned forearms… his soft, plump lips.
It had been 16 years since we last talked, last saw each other. 16 years, 2 marriages, 2 babies, and about 10 moves.
And through it all, I kept that small moon crescent shaped box with the rose, the photo, and the piece of paper folded so many times over in hopes of being overlooked.
I unfolded the paper and read its fading scribble:
Instantly I was brought back to the first time Corey and I finally talked. We worked together for a couple months and would run into one another in the cafeteria at times. We would smile at each other but that was about it.
I longed for him from the first time I saw those blue eyes, those thick lips, and those forearms. But there was no chance he’d go for a fluffy bitch like me so I just kept to myself.
Then he opened up the conversation one morning while we were alone in the cafeteria. The next night we went for dinner and a movie. He didn’t leave my house for another 10 hours. All we did was talk and watch tv and play cards. He finally asked to kiss me as he was leaving and as much as I wanted to do nothing more than to leech onto those lips, I told him he should’ve just gone for it and not asked. I was so dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb.
I was sure he would want nothing more to do with me. The next day after work, I found a rose under my windshield.
We dated for about two months before I finally gave up my virginity. I finally won’t die a virgin, I remembered thinking on one cold, snowy day in January.
A couple months later I got a new job. And when I left the old job for the new one, we stopped seeing one another.
I was mortified and so heartbroken.
“You’re gonna do so much better than me,” he told me as we hugged good bye in the parking lot at my old job on my last day.
“I do love you,” I said through my uncontrolled tears.
And I did. He was my first love. And I’ll never forget him. Never.
I crumpled the piece of and put it into the box alongside the rose and photo and shoved all of it deep down into the black plastic garbage bag.