You always remember a first.  The first kiss. The first “I love you”. The first time you get stuck in a window trying to sneak out to meet someone.  Ian was my first, not that first, but a lot of others.  We met fresh off my high from my encounter in Nashville, and while I felt invincible I felt utterly unworthy.

A friend and I had tickets to Warped Tour, and we planned a weekend adventure around it with a group of other friends.  I hadn’t planned on boys, but there they were, my friend’s boyfriend and his roommate freshly arrived from Los Angeles.  Whether it was just because he was the only available male in a sea of females, because it was clear I was to keep his distracted in order to give my friend and her boy some alone time, or because there was genuine chemistry, I was drawn to him immediately.  It took me a full day to get up the nerve to look directly into his lapis blue eyes, but as soon as I did I felt the urge to retreat, sure he’d reject me outright.

Unfortunately, that feeling was mutual, and we each spent an entire party pretending it was no big deal being ignored by the other.  Finally, possessed by the spirit of panic and desperation in a room full of strangers, I touched him.  It was some lame remark about how the lines of this shirt travelled in different directions, but I traced my fingers along the lines on his shoulders, and it worked.  His lips were on mine, and I was stunned!  We started making out, committing the grievous error of being the first couple to do so at a party, but by the time we came up for air everyone was doing it.  At the end of the night, we would be caught with our pants off in the backseat of my friend’s boyfriend’s Honda Civic.

The night before their return to Los Angeles we were locked safely in my friend’s overprotective mom’s clutches while the boys slept up the driveway in the guesthouse.  My spirit was crushed, and my awakened teen libido sensed it was losing precious time.  At 17, I had never had to hide or sneak around anything, but here I was, concocting a plan to get us in to that guesthouse.  Unfortunately, even at 17 I was not a slender girl, and while my friend shimmied gracefully through the living room window, I dangled helplessly while she tried not to wake her parents by laughing at the fat girl stuck in their window.  I still have bruises of embarrassment on my ego for having to wiggle my way into a bush, but mortification is an excellent motivator.

My true test came that night.  We were nestled in the bathroom of the guesthouse after being driven from the living room by what would scar our memories as a swarm of bees.  Would he be that first?  I could see no reason why not, except for the fact that I couldn’t bring myself to tell him he would be.  Thinking back, almost anything would have been better than my actual first time, but at that moment I was terrified to tell this boy I had never as much as  seen a man naked in real life. As we parted ways the next day I kicked myself for cock blocking myself, fairly sure I’d never speak to him again.

To my surprise, I did, and I got to add a few more firsts to my list.  He was the first person I’d voluntarily talk on the phone with after my mother’s death, the first person to call me his girlfriend, and the first AOL screen name to ever set off butterflies inside me. He also got to be the first guy my dad ever pursued down our driveway as he tried to sneak out one morning after he’d driven 300 miles just to sleep next to me.  I had made him sleep in the living room, because I still hadn’t told him I was a virgin.  It was that event that caused him to rethink our relationship.  To this day he has no idea why I was as skittish as I was around him.  I simply had no experience or understanding.

The lessons from my relationship with Ian were numerous.  It taught me to go for something I want and to enjoy the moments that are made available to me.  It taught me how to silently dislodge myself from a window.  It taught me to be ok with an ending, as it was my first real heartbreak.  It set a precedent of forming a friendship with exes, but it also taught me to let it go if that’s clearly not what’s happening.  You see, while he was friendly when I made the gesture, there was no friend in him.  I wasted a lot of time trying to hold on to a friend I didn’t have.  The biggest lesson this relationship taught me was to be honest with the people I’m dating.  If his reaction to me being so inexperienced had been bad he still would have left me.  At least he might have understood my behaviour a little better.  I had to learn over the years to be open and honest in relationships.  I owe it to my partners and to myself, because if they can’t accept me how I am it won’t last anyway.