To my First Love

Staring at the buildings in DC, I couldn’t believe I left my small hometown for a new adventure. A fresh MBA degree in hand, I left my stable job at the bank to find a job in DC with two luggage’s like a gypsy. The economy was still recovering from the financial crisis and the job market was dismal. Rejection after rejection, the only location that I got interviews for was in DC.

The plan was never to get in a relationship right away. It was to explore the city, meet new people, and have fun. The universe had different plans.

S called me apologetically asking if I would mind taking the metro to our date. He would normally pick me up, but he sold his car and the dealership was closed on Sundays. I told him it was fine to postpone the date; however he was determined to see me. He asked his dad to drive him to the airport to pick up a rental car.

Sitting on the redline, I was eagerly waiting for our date. The train kept getting delayed due to mechanical issues, I was three hours late.  Any other man would have been irritable and left, however S promised me he was enjoying time listening to music in his car. He wasn’t even mad and that was the tone for the rest of our relationship. Our date felt comfortable, there is no other word to describe it. Driving me back to my house that evening, he gave me his phone and showed the message where he told his mom about me.

The relationship fell perfectly into place with such ease. From the minute we met, we became inseparable. He quickly introduced me to his friends and our lives intertwined. He would spend 4-5 days a week driving 50 miles each way to take me to dinner and eventually he spent almost every weekend with me.

Work would take him two weeks a month to work nights on engineering projects in the desert. Even with the time difference, he called me almost the exact same time everyday…9 AM – 9:30 AM as he drove to work, his consistency was one of the traits that made me love him. We made it work, we made almost everything work except for having the relationship accepted by his mother.

On our first few dates, he said his mom would like me. As our relationship gained traction, that changed. At our 6 month mark, I sat on the cold iron stairs outside his friend’s apartment in shock as S teared up telling me his mom didn’t want us to be together anymore. I left, the image of the relationship I once had was shattered and I needed a moment to process. S was going through the same process too, but to deal he would block the world out and no one had access to him.

I took the silence as our ending and met other people when I went out. After a week, the phone rang. I picked up and the conversation was normal. I told him I was going on a date and he was surprised. I said to me when you disappear, that means you are done. I should have seen that character flaw as something that would always be an issue in our relationship, but I ignored it. We quickly got back together and I promised him we would slowly work on his mother.

Our love for each other kept growing and more memories were made. At the year mark instead of celebrating our anniversary, it was as if history was repeating itself and I sat there on the couch telling him that love can survive anything. His mom was putting more pressure to break-up and it took a toll on him. I should have let him go, but instead I convinced him to stay and give it more time.

Another year flew by filled with parties, vacations, and lots of laughter. One thing about S, he was very comical and gentle. Even in the hardest moments in our relationship, he never got angry, he never got upset. He just stayed calm and I wished he would get as emotional as me. As we celebrated our anniversary in Cancun, we also knew that tensions were getting worse at home between him and his parents. He still chose to stay with me and for that I’ll always be grateful that he chose me.

I tried to win his mother’s affection by talking to her on Facebook and providing gifts with notes written in Farsi. Nothing worked and once day we both broke down. His brother told me to leave him because he just could not stand up against their mom. His friends tried to talk to her on our behalf. I should have walked away, it would have been easier for both of us.

Instead, when S was ready to talk I just welcomed him back with open arms. That year he went on a trip to New York and Canada with my parents and he met my sister and her husband. I truly believed that we would make it in the end.

Time creeped closer to our three year anniversary, I was tired of being in limbo. We couldn’t move forward, we were stuck. A show was playing in the background, but I didn’t even comprehend what the characters were saying. It was as if we picked a movie in French, I stared in the distance feeling lonely, sad, and defeated. He was putting on his shoes to go to his cousin’s birthday and I burst into tears. Shocked, he asked what happened because that was the first time in our relationship he had seen me sob to the point that I was shaking. Before that, he only needed to wipe up a handful of tears.

I think we both knew it was over. I tried to bury my feelings, but I knew this wasn’t going to work. Love shouldn’t be so hard. I wasn’t going to keep hoping that we’d end up together anymore. Through my tears, I said, “it’s three years, how much longer do you want us to continue like this?” He held my face and said, “I don’t know what to do. If I choose you, I lose my mother. If I chose my mother, I lose you.” He said he would talk to me later, he drove off that day and that was the end. He didn’t come back to give me closure. Just like that, he was gone.

Three years of my life spent with him, dwindled down to this moment on my stairs. My last memory of him leaving and a promise broken.

I spent the next six to nine months dating as many people as possible to get over him. I excelled at work, made a whole new set of friends, and went out every night. To the outside world, it looked like I was okay, behind closed doors I was broken. I went through all five stages of grief, I went through our entire relationship with a magnifying glass to see if it could have been saved, and my hate for him grew.

As time passed, I moved on with my life, memories fade and at one point when my friend asked what his last name was — I couldn’t remember. I was able to accept the relationship with a clear mind. We were each others first serious relationship and with it came pure, honest love for one another. As mistakes were made, both parties were quick to forgive. We enjoyed every mundane task together and we truly enjoyed each other’s company.

There wasn’t games, lies, or manipulation, we knew everything about each other and still chose to stay. I joke because his phone was my phone and my phone was his.  If someone could not get a hold of me, they messaged him.  We just opened our hearts and trusted each other without blinking an eye.  In the end, issues outside our control tore us apart, his own cowardliness, inability to make his own decisions, or decide on his life. S made every effort he was capable of to be with me and I could not have asked for a better first love.

Even though the ending was a bad reality TV show and we pretty much threw oil into a fire pit and burned the relationship down, it taught me a lot of what and how someone should be treated. He taught me that one could accept all of my oddities and flaws. When S met me, I just got a low paying job to stay in DC. I was sharing a room with two other people and I did not even have a car. S didn’t care. He loved me when I was in the worst transitional stage in my life.

It wasn’t a love that was meant to last, it was a love to provide stepping stones for the person who would give me everything I wanted. I would tell him that we need to fight like Romeo and Juliet, however they both died at the end. Not only did the relationship die, but so did my innocence and I promised myself I would never cry for another man. I never spoke to him again after that, every few years I’ll wake up and his mom will like a slew of my Instagram posts. I’ll send it to my friends, we have a good laugh and move on.

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