He was gorgeous and I loved him. I was 20, young and naive and he was my first love, my real love – he was nearly 21 and a country boy looking for a fun time in the city and to escape the emotional ties of his parents and life on the farm.
We were introduced by a friend who bought his two mates to the city for a weekend away from home and we spent our days at the beach enjoying the sun and evenings in the city looking for food and music. Three guys and three gals. We laughed, we talked, we played cards, we danced and I fell in love. He took my breath away – the country boy, with the broad shoulders – with his presence and with his smile.
We kept in touch over and wrote letters to each other and drove across the country on Friday nights to spend the weekends together when we could. He was tall and strong and masculine – a godly creature to me. I loved the way he moved. I would watch him walk, tall and straight with a purpose in his stride and sign with contentment that he was in my company, he was with me. The smell of his skin would delight my senses with just a hint of cologne and I still get a nostalgic buzz today, when I catch a whiff of Blue Stratos men’s cologne when I pass by a perfumery or cologne counter at the shopping centre or local pharmacy. At times when I am feeling a little lonely for those days, I will stop and spray a little sample to carry with me through the day.
We were a group of friends together, growing up, taking risks and breaking parental rules. We stayed out too late and turned the music up loud when we got home and the next day we ate hearty breakfasts at a time when other people were preparing their lunch. In many ways it was a very innocent time. Yet, it was a courageous time as well and a time of significant attachment and bonding in our friendships as a group.
I went back to office work during the week and he went back to work on the family farm (begrudgingly – as he did not seem to have the same connection to the farm as his family and as a young man spoke of seeking new experiences) and we wrote beautiful, loving and funny letters to each other. I kept those letters for many years – and cried the day they were burnt (but that’s another story).
One weekend I recall, I took the overnight bus across the country to see ‘my love’ and our friendship group. We all went to see a football match between two local teams on the Saturday and returned home later in the day to dance in the lounge room. We laughed and talked, shared secrets and occasionally new people joined our circle of friendship.
It was that weekend on one delightful and memorable evening that he held me in his arms and quietly said “I love you, you rabbit”!!
… and I said nothing! I was like the rabbit in the headlight, startled and afraid and naive – and stunned! I was unprepared and vulnerable. I did not think for a moment that my love for him might have been mutual. My heart stopped. I did not know how to respond – I don’t think I had been prepared at all for this moment. What was I to do or say? So being naive and insecure I froze, went silent and said nothing.
You see, for me, my love for him was beyond words … I had no words to say. I never expected that someone might love me in the same way that I loved him! It had been suggested to me many time in my earlier years not to expect that from someone.
Looking back now (many years later), I realise that it was first love for both of us – a mutual and beautiful heart, stopping love. I still get goosebumps thinking about that love and those beautiful days.
I wish I had been brave enough on that special night to say “I love you too”!
And my love, I still do!!