First love

I believe a woman remembers her first love because there’s such a sweet romantic high about it, like being drunk on Boone’s Farm Strawberry Hill wine.

You can hear the nostalgia in the lyrics “I Got the Boy,” a heart-warming song inspired by reading in the newspaper the details of your first love’s wedding and honeymoon. Jana Kramer sings:

I got the first kiss and she’ll get the last
She’s got the future, I got the past
I got the class ring, she got the diamond and wedding band
I got the boy, she got the man

Yeah there’s an old you that I knew,
Fake IDs to get into those spring break bars
Back woods on a four wheeler, hanging on tight, I can still feel my racing heart
And now you’re cleaned up with a haircut, nice tie and shoes
If things were different and I had a choice, which would I choose?

Oh my. The memories just flood like Galveston’s beachfront during a hurricane and wash over me. Our innocent flirting in algebra class. Shy at first and then more brazen. The first date at Huntsville State Park. Getting all dressed up for the Junior Prom. Sneaking off to Splash Day USA. The budding feeling of young love. Our sharing secrets and mutual plans for the future: a white-framed house and five children. The dreamy certainty that we’d experience happily ever after. Followed by the shifting emotions, the drama of misunderstandings and arguments that ended in deep kisses. Until the last fight that ended it all. Or did we just drift away after high school graduation? Whatever the reason, the memories are no longer sad—they’ve become sweet with time.

Truth is, we learned enduring lessons from one another about love. How fragile it is. How intimacy is more than sweat-slicked bodies and breathlessness. How commitment binds together a man and a woman, and we were far too young for such capacity.

The question, however, in Jana’s song is intriguing: If things were different and I had a choice, which would I choose?

The answer comes in a heartbeat, quick and sure. I’d leave the boy where he is now—nestled in past memories. My sweet Ronnie is not my first love, but he is surely my last. He is the man with whom I make new memories every day. He’s funny, he’s wise, he’s kind. The memories of the boy pale in comparison.