My first love was - of course - the boy next door. We bonded after sharing measles and time off school convalescing: we pledged eternal love and to marry each other when we were grown ups. It didn't last - we were only five and a year later circumstances intervened to separate us, but I still remember the sharp pain of leaving without being able to say goodbye.
Timmy was not my only first love; there was another which appeared on the scene at roughly the same time. Before you accuse me of being fickle, I should point out that the other object of my affection was a book.
This very book, in fact: The Wonders of Life on Earth.
It was a zillion times better than anything they tried to fob us off with at school - the pictures were better, for starters.
I remember sitting on my Dad's lap as he taught me how to read some of the simpler words, and explained what was happening in the pictures as we looked at them together. The pictures were, of course, a big part of the attraction for my five year old self: it was stuffed with the most fabulous colour illustrations and photographs, including gatefolds showing dinosaurs, which fascinated me.
It wasn't long before I was browsing through the book on my own during the day and then asking Dad to read bits to me in the evening. It didn't matter that most of it was over my head: I just loved the book for itself, and understanding isn't really a required feature of unconditional love.
Incredibly, I still have that very same book fifty-odd years later. I have no idea how I have managed to hang onto it after all the house moves, when so many other equally loved books disappeared.
And I still love it, and still experience that same little frisson when I take it off the shelf and turn the pages. Because first loves have a special magic, and never really lose their hold over you.
So what was your first love?
|Love is ... swallowing your offspring's |
head ... oh, alright, letting it take your lunch
off you ...
|Happy Valentine's Day ...|