Friday, July 14, 2006

A challenge
Last week, fellow blogger Toni of Wifely Steps wrote a "Getting to know each other" post.
I participated so she wrote this about me:

Daphne :
1. You are very well-traveled.
2. I challenge you to write about your first love.
3. Orange. Funky, bright.
4. I like your travel posts!
5. Posts on French cinema.
6. A butterfly. Sociable!

Now I'm supposed to write about my first love.
Hmm that is quite a challenge, indeed.
For the simple reason that I've always made a clear distinction between the guys I love(d) and the guys I've fallen in love with.

I'd rather post about the first guy I loved.
This was way back in 1980.
I was a shy 12 year old girl with low self esteem and an inferiority complex. I had thick eyeglasses, long wiry hair and I was thin as a rake - in short I was an ugly duckling. At that age, I was more into Nancy Drew pocketbooks, eating Marks and Spencer scones while listening to the music of Claude Francois, Michel Sardou and Dalida.

His name was John F. A fair skinned, freckled face boy with a JFK, Jr type of haircut of auburn color. He was a Belgian kid of Irish descent who spoke only a few words of English. John was my grade school classmate at L'Ecole de Saint Joseph (St Joseph school) in Brussels, Belgium.

Back then I was the ONLY Asian in my class. But I was a studious kid so I was always a honor student. I had classmates with names like Valerie, Sabine and Jean Pierre. Yet, I was isolated most of the time. I don't mean to imply that my classmates were racists but certainly there was a thick invisible wall that separated the Belgian kids from the children of immigrants like Moroccans, Africans and me, the only Asian.

But John was different. He was a kind hearted, good natured boy. He would call me up at home whenever I was absent from school to check up on me. He'd come over to our house to bring my homework from school. He would even tutor me when I didn't understand my lessons. A sweet and courteous boy with a staid sense of humor.
My mother, the gracious wife of a diplomat that she was would always feed him snacks which John would eat with gusto. In fact, I think he clicked more with my mother than he did with me. Doesn't it always work that way?

Anyways, you see back then at the young age of 12, I wasn't into boys, yet.
I was an awkward bookworm, geeky kid who was extremely shy. All I did was study really hard so I could get good grades. So for someone like John to shower me with attention and show genuine interest in my personality and my culture, I felt special and grew quite fond of the guy. We got to hang out together a lot, mostly in school or at my house. He would be my seatmate in class and would tease me a lot about being too serious and studious all the time. It didn't really develop into a relationship. I guess it was more of a mutual special friendship but I can honestly say he was my first love.
Well now that I am way much older, I can look back at those years with a nostalgic smile and access the situation as the first time I felt loved and I loved in return. Frankly, back then what the heck did I know about LOVE? Nothing at all.

But as most of my 'love' stories go, the moment we moved to another country, John didn't keep in touch much. Sure, there were a few letters exchanged for a couple of months but eventually it just faded into the dark abyss of oblivion. It has to be told though that If I had my way, I would still be in constant touch with all of my exes but for some strange reason beyond my comprehension, none of them have kept in touch with me after the 'disconnect' began. Oh well.

As for the first guy I fell in love with ... Well that is another sob story complete with tears soaked pillows and a lot of Kleenex tissues stained with what else but my salty tears. So I rather just let bygones be bygones and bury that sob story deep in the recesses of my memory warehouse.

I end with one of my favorite quotes:

"People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget ...
how you made them feel."

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