Remember your first date. His car broke down before you even got to the theater, hood billowing like your grandfather with his after dinner pipe. You call your mom to drive the rest of the way while adamantly refusing to look over at your date the entire trip there. You don’t remember if the movie was any good, you only remember the way your heart sunk hearing his racist comments and closing the door in his face when he leaned in for a kiss good night. Your palms are sweating, heart hammering as you push your back against the door and hear your father ask why you didn’t at least give him a hug. You think he’s angry but all you can think about is the sound of the closing door. You were fourteen and his name was Shay.
Remember the first time you let someone touch you. He had dark hair and eyes that you could melt into. You both had an intro to creative writing class together at the local community college, and you brought brownies every Wednesday to impress him. He never ate them. Instead he invited you to come over to watch My Neighbor Totoro. He was your first kiss and when his hand wandered lower you didn’t want to say no and disappoint him. His tongue felt like an eel trying to drown you by seeking solace from the air in the warmth of your throat. You ate a granola bar and kissed him on the cheek when you left after his mother came in, furious. You were sixteen and his name was Mason.
Remember your first girlfriend. You drove up to Bellevue, an hour long trek, every Friday to surprise her with a rose and sit in on her art classes. You held her hand and kissed her on New Years Eve with a glass of champagne at your parents house. You’d never been allowed to have alcohol before-- at least not with your parents. Your father didn’t spare you a second glance when she was over and berated you for letting her eat skittles out of the bowl when she had a head cold. You were seventeen and her name was Jasmine.
Remember everyone in between. Those that took too much without asking, making the home of your body feel more like the abandoned house at the edge of the cul de sac with the overgrown lawn. Remember the wandering hands and nights spent holding yourself and wondering why you handed yourself out like candy on a Halloween night, complete with cobwebs hidden in every corner. Remember looking back at them through rose colored glasses obscured by one too many shots and playing your music louder to drown out your friends concerns. Remember that it wasn’t all bad, everything shaped you into the beautiful you that exists today. Only most of it was bad.
Remember your last ex. Her smile lights up the room and you relax in the loud social setting, the passersby around you fading into an echo as you focus on her like a lifeline. You were told you didn’t deserve her. Your family loves her, even your father, and you understand why. She’s your best friend but you don’t realize it until you break up with her through text, only the staircase separating you. You were twenty one and her name is Ramona.
You’re twenty two now and you have a date on Monday. This isn’t the first time you’ve asked out a guy but it’s the first time he’s said yes. It’s the first time you would swear butterflies made a home in your stomach and the thought of vomiting on his shoes seemed all too real a possibility. Your hands shake when you pull out your phone to exchange numbers. You bite your tongue to keep from apologizing. When it’s over, you can only hope it’s something that lasts. You’re twenty two and you’re not ready to say his name yet.
Ardyn Honda is currently a senior at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. They dabble in nonfiction, short stories, but their true love is poetry and focusing on what makes life art.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.