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Thundering First Love
The first man I ever fell in love with was supposed to be a one-night stand. I had become too cynical to fall in love although I seemed to trip over it often. I was depressed and lonely and in desperate need of distraction from my own ever-racing mind. He was my first and only Craigslist casual encounter. I was embarrassed to try it and afraid but more afraid of being alone that day.
He appeared at my door with movies and iced tea. I thought he was too clean cut for me, too perfect, too bright for my dark world. He brought his own condoms and despite the seediness of the situation this represented a careful thoughtfulness that betrayed his true great self.
He was nice. And though it would take years and months for our individual barriers to break down, we did start to blossom that day. He stayed for hours. It was raining out and we watched lightning dance across the sky in a city that almost never experiences a true lightning storm. It was magic.
We both hailed from cities with intense thunderstorms. We’d been happy to leave those tiny towns but both missed the raging, clapping electric bursts of real rain. What we didn’t realize until later was that we had brought that energy forth to the world from within us. It dwelled inside of the hardened hearts that hid beneath our soft flesh.
It was not the electrifying shock of our first strong orgasms. It was a crackling of energy that surged straight from our individual complicated pasts and slammed into each other’s emotional centers. But that would come later. On this day, it was just a rainstorm – a beautiful, striking, wonderful rainstorm.
When he left that night, I was smiling and outside it was hailing. The storm worsened, getting so harsh that it caused a landslide in my hilly San Francisco neighborhood. 143 cracks sliced against the concrete and asphalt of my city, creating a crater in what used to be my block. Later, after I knew how deeply we would shatter each other’s foundations, I couldn’t help but think of this experience as foreshadowing and symbolic.
At the time, though, it was only interesting fodder for an online chat conversation that we started as soon as he’d made his way from my bed, through the mess, back to his own home. We were eager to learn more and more about one another. Or maybe we weren’t, yet. Maybe we were just lapping up the milk of praise and attention and adoration that we each lavished upon one another at the start.
The truth is that he was a mirror in the most flattering of light. I fell in love first not with him but with the image that he held of me. Only later would the image crack, shattering like the street had broken in the storm. But in the cracks, I could see even more of myself. And I could see him even more clearly. And what thundered through our lives was love.