My first love–let’s call him Bobby. He was the son of my orthodontist, Dr. Bob.
I met Bobby at church when I was six. He was a bit of a class clown in Sunday School. When I met his dad, Dr. Bob, he asked if I knew his son.
In front of Dr. Bob and my parents I told him, “Yeah. He’s weird.”
I thought weird meant funny. But I was too embarrassed to admit I thought he was funny.
I didn’t totally understand until later why Dr. Bob laughed so hard and my parents were so embarrassed.
At that time, I did NOT like Bobby.
My mom owned a horse named Strider, and she kept it at Bobby’s parents’ ranch. They called their place the Red Roof Ranch, and their sign had three Rs on it. Bobby told me that it stood for Rocky Road Ranch, and I believed him. Weird thing to lie about, but Bobby told tales a lot when we were kids.
He and I would jump on the trampoline when my mom would take me to the ranch while she took care of her horse. Then, Bobby’s family moved again to a bigger ranch, but I am not aware that it had a name.
About a year after moving into the town where I met Bobby, my parents separated and eventually divorced. My mom and Bobby’s mom became close friends so I spent a lot of time at their house. They had a trampoline and a pool and a swing set.
Bobby was a very good singer, and I was pretty okay, too. So we sang a duet together in church. And he and I sang a song with my cousin and my best friend at my sister’s baptism.
Around age ten, I realized Bobby was one of my closest friends.
Bobby and I had gone to different elementary schools, but when we entered sixth grade, we went to the same middle school. We were on the same “team,” Team T for Tiger. It meant we had the same teachers even though we rotated classes. Although we only had one class together–choir. We both sang alto and could read music well.
I’d had a “boyfriend” before. In fifth grade. And Bobby had had several “girlfriends.” We called it “going out” even though it meant holding hands, passing notes, and maybe talking on the phone at night. Bobby had kissed someone before. I had not.
Every year our choir would go to the Northcross mall to sing Christmas songs and go ice skating. I loved it.
On the bus back to the school, it was dark and Bobby and I were sitting together. We decided to kiss. I feel like maybe another friend was encouraging us. Mostly me. I felt a little inadequate because I’d never kissed anyone and he had.
It was dark and the bus was moving, so I missed at first and got his nose. Then, I tried again and met his lips briefly.
Y’all. Writing this right now takes me back so intensely. It was a feeling just as powerful as any kiss I’ve had as an adult. A kind of comfort in the warmth of another human, of someone you love. Among that, the feeling of passion, of using your body to give and receive pleasure. And the thrill of doing something that maybe you aren’t supposed to.
Because eleven-year-old Sarah was not supposed to have a boyfriend or to kiss boys.
But. I loved him.
I’ll end this now even though there’s more to the story. We’re no longer in touch. We’ve both been married and divorced, and he’s gay now. I followed him on Instagram for a while.
Another day I’ll write about his sister who babysat us and our third wheel. And our other third wheel.
Who was your first love?