Thursday, August 13, 2015

All Loves Are First Loves

by Annabeth Leong

All loves are first loves. Each love is its own fresh thing.

I never know the rules when I start out. I am at first too high to care whether the parachute is in good working condition. This is the time for gestures. I’ll meet you at the airport on a layover so I can see you for half an hour over coffee when neither of us can keep our eyes open. My inner thighs will shiver when I think of you. It does not matter how many people there have been before, because none of them were you.

All loves are first loves. Each ends with the belly flop, the naive shock of pain and impermanence.

Bright green leaves turn to ashes in my palms. I made foolish promises, and now I am sorry for them. I apologize both to you and to myself. I should have known not to make those promises. When I am truly intoxicated, I can be touched, but now I don’t want to be. I will meet you for half an hour over coffee at a Burger King so you can awkwardly hand me gifts your parents brought to the last big family gathering, because they didn’t know yet that we have split up. I know I will survive this because I existed before you.

First love is idolized by so many for its tenderness, its believe in forever. When I think of it, though, I think of the manipulations it involved, its unreasonable expectations.

If you love me, you’ll let me touch you here. If you love me, you’ll forgive me for this. If you love me, you won’t run when you ought to run. If you love me, you’ll do it. If you love me, you’ll want what I want, always and forever. If you love me… If you love me…

I have been the receiver, and I have been the manipulator.

All loves are first loves. There is always a fine line between self-sacrifice and self-sabotage, between ardent request and manipulation, between the passion’s abandon and oblivion.

I want you to try fucking me in the ass/I will let you fuck me in the ass/I will not fight too hard when you insist on fucking me in the ass. I will confess my fantasies to you/I will make myself vulnerable with them/I will let you use them to tear me apart from inside out. I will touch myself for you/I will let you shame me for touching myself.

All loves are first loves, tender and naive, demanding and embarrassing, shocking and exhilarating. I don’t know the rules. Sometimes, they bloom to wise love; sometimes, they wither. Flowers fade. Seeds fall on fertile ground and grow again.


(I apologize for the late post, and also for not making my usual comments on the posts of others. I’m swamped at the moment, but I thought I could work something out. I will read and comment on your stuff soon!)


  1. Oh, Annabeth, you did it again. For the last 2 weeks, I've been trying to decide what to say on this topic, and I've remembered all the "first loves" I've had that fit this description: OMG, I've finally met my soul-mate. OMG, how could I have been naive enough to think this person was my soul-mate?? Well, I'll try to add something to the theme.

  2. Lovely post, Annabeth. Sweet, tough, poetic, well-constructed. And you just banged this out? You're a natural, grrrrl.

  3. Yes, a gem.

    I do think that first loves when you're young expect (and demand) perfection more than later ones, tempered by experience--or maybe I just think they ought to be tempered y experience. Come to think of it...maybe not.

  4. There are no rules. But you're right, it's hard to remember the last time when you're in the throes of new passion.

    Gorgeous and insightful post, Annabeth. No apologies are needed.


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