More on censoring myself

I broke up with my first boyfriend in 1998 and lost contact with him. He got back in touch with me a year or so ago, thanks to the wonders of facebook, and we now exchange occasional polite, let’s-not-mention-the-past emails.

I was slightly shaken when he broke radio silence, as he’d instituted the distance so I had put ideas of speaking to him out of my head. I still thought about him, in the nostalgic sense that it’s nice to remember happy things, but never considered communicating with him.

Now, whenever I get (or send) a breezy, friendly email about buying a new house or wanting a dog, I have an overwhelming urge to pour my heart out.

It wasn’t a horribly messy break-up (although I did send ambiguous mixed messages for a while, which musta been a headfuck), but I’m conscious that we never really talked about stuff.

The main thing is that the filter of ten years has shown me how fucking important your first love can be in shaping the rest of your life, and my first love was awesome. I might not have conveyed that when I turned my back and walked away.

About six months ago I penned this. It’s over-wrought and lyrical, and definitely from the email you don’t intend to send file:

In the beginning we were kids.

Your mate fancied my mate, you and I were just along for the ride.

What a ride it was. Three years later we definitely weren’t kids anymore.

How often does someone’s first love turn out to be their last?

With you I learnt so much – about life, love, myself, my sexuality. I wouldn’t have wanted to learn that stuff with anyone else.

I don’t know if you have read The Amber Spyglass – sorry if I spoil it for you.

At the end the two heroes – love’s young dream – part company, knowing that it will be forever.

In my (overly-romantic) mind this symbolised every first love; complete because the young characters pour themselves into it in a way only kids can, perfect because they’re experiencing it all for the first time.

It seemed like any moment beyond that point would eat into the completeness, tarnish the perfection, so they sacrificed their love in order to preserve it.

I cried when I read the end of that book, for you and lost lives and happy memories.

Actually, reading it back for the first time I’m pretty embarrassed by it – the last two lines are especially arrogant. But I had hoped that putting something on paper would stop me thinking about putting something in a real live email. Except it hasn’t.

Every mote of common sense I possess (all four of them), suspects that raking up the past is a bad idea. I talked it through with a friend; she told me I absolutely mustn’t do it. I spoke to the Boy; he didn’t veto any action, but made some good arguments against the motion.

From a husband perspective, he pointed out that saying to an old flame “Hey, what we had was great, thanks for that,” runs a big risk of sounding like you want to get back together.

And from a guy whose known young love perspective, hearing that you were great can be very flattering BUT (herein lies the rub), I have no idea how this guy is gonna react. He might be pleased as punch and go away feeling great, but he might feel terrible and abandon himself to melancholy.

If I go ahead and write to him anyway, knowing that making him feel bad is a possible outcome, it shows that my actions are selfish even if I’ve convinced myself they’re well-intentioned. (Remember that post where I talked about being spolit?) Hmm… being prudent really isn’t fun!


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