Love is an interesting thing. Looking back on past loves through experienced eyes, you can see clearly the difference between childish crushes and the real deal... but when you're in the thick of it, the all-consuming lust of a new relationship, or the acute longing for someone who doesn't reciprocate your feelings can seem like so much more than what they are. The intensity with which I've felt these things in the past has made me feel like I've been in love countless times... and maybe I was, in some way.
The thing is, looking back now and comparing all those feelings against the depth and breadth of my love for The Boy, is like comparing apples to oranges. As much as I may have thought I was in love, I don't think I ever truly was until I met him. I suppose that's why I married him... haha!
The first time I recall feeling I was "in love" was with a boy named Alec. I was six, he was a much more mature and wise seven-and-a-half. We used to play on the swings and the play-structure made of tires behind the complex in which we lived. I remember the way my cheeks would burn and how my little heart would flutter at the sight of his ginger hair and freckled complexion. I was certain that we would be married, and that he, an accomplished musician, along with our six children, would accompany me on my trips around the country as Canada's first female prime-minister (This was pre-Kim Campbell, of course).
But then my wee heart was broken, and my musical-political dreams crushed when we moved out of the complex and I transfered to a new school, never to see Alec again. I still have his second grade school photo in a box of mementos somewhere down in the crawlspace, and I come across it from time to time when I'm looking for something else. The messy inscription on the back still makes me smile.
It's been twenty-one years since I saw him, but I'm sure if I did I would know his face. I wonder if he remembers our time together, and if he still has those ruddy cheeks and mischievous smile?