August 17th, 1989
Mum was “up with the birds,” as she’s fond of saying and I could hear her rattling around in the kitchen. My head didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would but I felt really tired. Just as I was about to drift off again, I heard the phone.
“The phone’s ringing,” Lucy croaked from the bed on the other side of the room.
“Ummm,” I yawned. “My mum’s up and it’s probably for her.” A few seconds later, I heard, “Karen. Phone.”
“Guess not,” Lucy said, retreating back under the duvet.
I made my way downstairs and through the glass wall, I watched mum at the kitchen sink, swishing soapy water over the glasses we used last night. I picked up the phone.
I felt my heart do something irregular.
“Oh my God. Ben. It’s you,” I stuttered. “Is everything ok?”
“I s’pose. Sorry it’s so early.” He paused. “I just wanted to hear your voice.”
I felt my entire face break into a smile. “It’s a bit raspy. I just woke up.”
“Sounds sexy,” he purred.
My heart rate sped up.
“How are you?” I asked in as calm a tone as possible.
“To be totally honest, I’m emotionally and physically exhausted and can’t wait to come home.”
“Oh no, sorry to hear you’re feeling like that but given the busy season you’ve had it’s no wonder.” And you did split up with your longtime girlfriend, I thought.
“Do you know yet when the season ends?” I asked.
“Not yet but hopefully it’ll be in the next month.”
“And then you’ll be back?” I sounded much too hopeful.
Flutter, flutter, flutter.
I continued. “That’ll be a nice break for you. Sounds like you’re ready for it.”
“I can’t wait.” Another pause. “I know you’re busy and stuff but I’d love, I mean, like, I’d like to see you when I get back.” Another pause. “If you’re about.”
“I’ll be here,” I replied, much too fast. “And I’d like that.” Ugh, so much for playing it cool.
“Me too,” he said. “Me too.”
We talked for about twenty minutes and after I hung up I plopped down on the phone chair, if only to compose myself before facing mum. However, much to my surprise, mum continued on with what she was doing and made no mention of Ben’s name.
All day, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and it got me thinking about the power of first love. I’ve loved Ben since I was sixteen and I can’t imagine a time when I won’t love him. Does that mean we’ll ever be together? I don’t know.
I wonder if first love is this potent for everyone? I know from what I’ve heard people say that it’s very special. I’ve even heard people talking about their first love in a sacred kind of way. Then there are the stories of people who meet again years later and get back together. Perhaps Ben and I will be like them. This might be the time in our lives when we go in different directions and create our own lives and then maybe when we’re old, like say, fifty, we’ll get back together.
I can’t seem to get him off my mind. In one way I’m kicking myself for allowing the sound of his voice to affect me so much, but if I’m being really honest, I feel great knowing we talked. Plus, I can’t deny the excitement I already feel about his return and how it might feel to actually see him again.
Lucy and I went out tonight, in search of a film but there was nothing we wanted to watch, so we went for a drink instead. We talked excessively and came to the conclusion that at the end of the day life is purely about love, and nothing else.
What I don’t know is how many cocktails it took for us to reach that conclusion!