I forgot his name almost as soon as I heard it and there is probably no one now who could tell me what it is. The only things I really remember about him are that he had dark hair and he was a teacher. The car – it was a sedan, maybe foreign, but I don’t know what kind or remember what color. He drove us on the country highway for what seemed a long time, but possibly wasn’t. My mother told me later that he was the husband of someone she knew in college and it was a strange coincidence that led him to offer a ride to tall young woman and her four year old, half-Filipino daughter. He was animated and his voice smiled as he talked. I have no idea what they talked about, but somewhere along the drive, I fell in love with him.
We were hitchhiking to New York City from Los Angeles and we met him somewhere in the middle of the country. Then he had to turn off down another road from the main highway, so he left us at the crossroads and drove away past fields of growing things. I did not want to leave him. Ever. I cried as I was lifted from the back seat and put on my feet on the dusty road. I cried even harder as his car receded into the distance and I have never forgot the feeling of connection and then loss.
There is a quote going around right now that starts, “Maybe your first love is the one that sticks with you because it’s the only one that will ever receive all of you.” When I read that, I thought of him.
The next line of the quote goes, “After that, you learn better.”
And again, I thought of him.