Comment Rescue – First Loves
Esteemed commenter North shared this personal and moving story of first love in the comments elsewhere, and I thought it deserved wider exposure:
He was one of my best friends (let’s call him Morgan) about a half year older than me and on top of it a gymnast. Those of you who don’t know gymnasts probably won’t groc to the significance but I will lay it out starkly; in terms of raw eros the boy (for we were both boys) was incredibly beautiful. We were in our mid teens and spent enormous amounts of time together night and day. My experience is unique, perhaps, in that I cannot say for absolute certainty whether my love and lust for Morgan predated my actual experience of intimacy with him or whether the intimacy came first. I guess it’s unique also in that my crush was not unrequited en-toto; we never actually -discussed- what we were doing but we covered the very basic A-B-C’s of sexual education. Then the passage of events drew us apart, I was introverted and uninterested in athletics; he was extroverted and very much in sports. He even went to the Olympics (though I don’t believe he placed) but whenever our orbits would intersect the un-discussed silent adventures would continue.
I cannot speak to Morgan’s view of the matter but it put me in a curious position in that my crush and my romantic interest was something I’d actually experienced to a significant degree. Putting up posters or sighing over fellows on TV didn’t occur to me for years to be honest; I could count on (occasionally) getting my hands on the real fellow. So I was cursed or blessed to miss out on that aspect of the gay experience. In any event the years passed and we both became (very young) men. While I do not recall experiencing much in the way of public terrorizing of gays the silent assumption was that everyone was straight so I made noise about interest in girls and I know he dated. In time I began to get the feeling that his interest was waning, it was a continuum I would say with him instigating initially, then gradually the roles reversing over the years until I was the motivating partner. Throughout these years we remained friends but increasingly distant ones as our orbits continued to diverge. One Christmas as part of some inane family meal (his family and mine dined together often on holidays) he looked me dead in the eyes and told me he wanted children. I somehow knew that there was serious meaning behind the comment and I touched his leg under the table and (very earnestly for I believed it when I said it) told him he’d make a wonderful father.
That summer I formalized plans to move to Minneapolis to learn something of the big wide world. He called a day or two before I left, asked me to call him back and I somehow didn’t get around to it. That decision will haunt me until I die; what was he calling for? To wish me luck? For something else? I will never know. I grew and learned so much in the States and eventually returned to Canada for university. We were in the same city and he was even more beautiful than I remember though we again crossed paths infrequently. I considered trying to reach out now and then but so much was unspoken, my shyness was ferocious and I had another budding relationship developing. He married a woman in my last year of university. I went to the wedding; he was ineffably beautiful. Their wedding theme was singing, guests had to sing a song to get the couple to kiss (in lieu of clinking glasses). My sister and I did this clowning shtick where we sang the song from “Beauty and the Beast” only with us stopping at the title line because we couldn’t agree on whether the groom or bride was the “beast” and had to repeat it to try and resolve the conflict, on the final (third) sing through we ended up finally singing it by identifying Morgan’s mother as Beauty and her husband as the Beast. The people laughed so hard they spilled their wine and the entire reception stood and clapped. Morgan and his Wife both hugged me, that was the last time I touched him.
I still see them on the rare occasion, they live in the same area as my Mother. Morgan is a police officer now and with agnostic Jesus as my witness he’s more beautiful now than ever. His wife is a gorgeous kind and sweet catholic girl. They have four blond haired blue eyed moppets, mind meltingly cute and happy children.
Is Morgan a gay man deeply closeted and living a lie? I do not believe it could be so. Morgan had a gay uncle who his family was generally open about. His family’s embrace of me as a gay man was unconditional and lacked any hint of falseness to it. Morgan himself is a deeply confident and gregarious person; I cannot see him foisting such suffering on himself. I have mulled the question over and can only assume he is/was a Kinsey 2.5-3.5 who is probably capable of going either way. A bisexual most likely then.
Ironically this lends a certain twist to the knife of history- had I been a different person, a more open and direct one, how would his and my future have gone? I adore my husband who I love to death and we suit each other to a T but you never ever forget your first love. I would never dream of trying to broach the subject to Morgan. We inhabit different worlds and the time for trying to sling such ropes is so utterly past as to render such efforts petty, grasping and cruel. There is too little to be gained, far too many people to be hurt, to say nothing of ignorance sometimes being bliss. If I could wish myself the true answer from Morgan would any answer he gave be a pleasing one? No I don’t think it would.
In any event, by the time the space between Morgan and I yawned wide enough for burgeoning teenage hormones to begin trampling through the internet had introduced itself to me as a phenomena. I was connected to an international network of gay people like myself who provided both for the wholesome social contact and the more sordid and tawdry aspects of any human man’s life so I had no need of distant fan obsessions or crushes. No posters on my wall or hours spent listening to a public entertainer in a daydreaming haze.
Share your stories of first love, or the one that (maybe?) got away in comments.
(Note: I recommend locking away the alcohol while you do so, so as to prevent unnecessary drunken Facebooking or phoning; let sleeping dogs lie, people).