It is that magical moment is every human’s existence - the first time. It has been rhapsodized and put to song, prose and poetry, revered and recalled through time. Everyone remembers their first time, the memory of it stored in a special safe in the recess of the mind where it can be easily retrieved.
My first time came during a visit to France. It was a beautiful spring day in mid-May. I was walking with some friends and companions through the French countryside, near Amiens. The sun shone brightly that day and we traversed the countryside in fine order, enjoying the fresh spring air and emerging scenery and blossoms.
I ran into my first mid-morning. Blond, short, with a clean face and dark brown eyes, the vision stood before me, dressed simply for the occasion. We met and awkwardly advanced towards each other, always keeping each other in sight. We exchanged opening pleasantries, offering fine compliments as the rest of the group mingled as well, enjoying the countryside and weather.
We had a fine morning, engaged the whole time in earnest endeavors. We came to know each other, anticipating the next exchange, the next movement. I gained respect and lost some of my fear, that stone pit fouling my stomach and fraying my nerves subsiding as the morning lingered and became early afternoon. My companions hung about, doing their part in this little play, keeping me focused and attentive.
We could have parlayed all day and probably all night, but we both understood that physically, we had only that moment. My companions were ready to move on and we had other appointments to keep on our journey. Disappointed in some way, I finally reached out and brazenly made a final suggestive motion.
The blond flashed before my eyes, every detail etched into my memory. A thin film of sweat glistened…a small dab of dirt…small, delicate hands…captured in one final, glorious moment.
I acted quickly, before I lost my chance. Who knew when or if this amazing event would occur again in my lifespan? I had this opportunity and I took it, aiming very carefully and slowed my breathing, which proved more difficult than I imagined.
I put a .303 round from my Lee-Enfield into the chest of the blond-hair, brown-eyed soldier dress in field grey. The running figure tripped and stumbled, falling to the earth with no hands extended to brace the fall, the body slid a few inches and then stopped, the earth sopping up the blood. I stared at the results for a few extra seconds, but the hustle and cacophony of the battle pressed me and I withdrew, leaving the broken body of a dead man no older than me on the French soil.
My first – you always remember your first.