If this looks familiar to you, it's because it is. I previously published it in a different incarnation some time ago. I decided to revamp it for an assignment I need to turn in to a writing workshop detailing something that is our "first." Please give me all your comments and critique!
(N.B. Names have been changed to protect the innocent as well as the guilty.)
Do you remember your first love? I do. His name was Rafael Perez. He lived on the block behind mine and attended the same elementary school I did, only he was in a grade above mine. I remember his voice sounded like sandpaper -- it was that rough and scratchy on the ears. I loved his voice. I remember I used to call just to hear his barely baritone "Hello?" then quickly hang up, stifling my breathless giggles. (Ah, those halcyon days before Caller ID...)
Raphael, or Ralphy, as he liked to be called, was rough around the edges himself. A rebel without a cause with braces and freckles. He was on the baseball team and always had a swarm of girls chasing him. He seemed untouchable to me, almost as if he existed in a parallel universe.
Despite this, I still dreamed I had a chance with him. I envisioned different versions of our first kiss. I wondered if he would close his eyes. If I would close my eyes. I prayed and prayed for it to happen. But most of the time Ralphy acted as though I was his annoying little sister. He'd ruffle my hair and I'd secretly thrill at the touch, only to feel my heart plummet when he'd playfully insult me or challenge me to an arm wrestling match.
The only time he gave me hope that he might reciprocate my feelings was the summer that the song “Unchained Melody” had its great resurgence. One sultry afternoon, I heard a sandpapery voice outside my window. I looked out and saw Ralphy riding his bicycle in the middle of the street. He was alone, and he was singing “Unchained Melody” at the top of his lungs.
Oh, my love… my darling….I've hungered for your touch…
I still get butterflies, remembering that afternoon. How his voice resembled more a cat being skinned alive than the Righteous Brothers. How fast my pulse raced, threatening to jump clean out of my veins.
"It doesn't mean anything," I told my mom, voice shaky. “Oh, it means something," she replied, smiling.
Unfortunately for my eleven-year-old self, Ralphy was not fated to be my first kiss. Despite the fact that we wound up going to the same high school, we moved in different circles. I joined the Drama Club and the Debate Club. I got good grades. He didn't. He hung out with the bad kids and got a girl pregnant right after he graduated high school, marrying young.
My family moved out of that neighborhood my senior year of high school. By that time, I had developed other crushes, and had even had my first kiss.
I recognize that the feelings I had for Ralphy all those sticky-sweet summers ago were as evanescent as the morning dew. Fleeting as rain in August and sugar-sweet as cotton candy, but ultimately insubstantial. What I knew about love back then could have fit inside of the eye of a needle. But the memory of that sultry summer afternoon is still clear today as a newly developed photograph even after all these years.
Oh, my love…my darling ...
I still remember my first love.