Summer of Love


Melissa Benitez

People always say, “You’re too young to say you’ve had your first love,” but I’d be kidding myself if I said I hadn’t. At my young age, my first love came unexpectedly. He was 5’8 to be exact, curly brown hair with a soft round face and noticeable dimples. I always heard people call him good looking and attractive, yet he was just any other male to me. I had known him from afar for a few years now but never thought he’d be the one; we met at his sister’s graduation party and started talking from there. In the beginning he was just another boy messaging me through Direct Message, trying to waste my time. Regardless of the circumstance, it never stopped his attempt to get my attention, in any way he could. He begged me to give him a chance. I thought to myself, “Well let’s see how this goes,” since I could tell he put in time and effort unlike others. We became very close, so close that I would have to remind myself from time to time that this older guy could potentially end up hurting me. Being only fourteen, I understood that I had the rest of my life ahead of me, to truly choose who I wanted to spend my years with. However, time flew past and it was December, and he was standing outside of my English class with a bouquet of flowers, asking me the big question, “Will you be my girlfriend?” Without hesitation I said yes, disregarding the fact my dad wouldn’t like it.

My boyfriend was the best I could ever ask for; sweet, funny, and respectful, which is hard to find nowadays. We had many ups and downs in the beginning due to family issues but we both overcame them. This may sound cliche, but he was not like other guys, he saw life in a different perspective from others due to the plethora of hardships he endured. Being less fortunate truly does impact a person mentally; it amazed me how strong he was, strong enough to take it all which at the end of the day would impact him for the better. This opened my eyes to those who have gone through the same situations and helped me become a better person at the end of the day. This truly did bring us closer together and made our relationship stronger. We bonded in ways we never thought we would, and we even talked about our future goals, goals that seemed years away from now. He truly inspired me to look forward. He met nearly my whole family and they loved him; I could see our relationship growing in the right direction. We were doing amazing, so it seemed.

Nothing is perfect, and for us it was my commitment issues and his trust issues. He was taught to always look over his shoulder and never trust those around him. And I would never let anybody do me wrong so before they could, I left. It snowballed up to the point I called it quits because I felt so trapped. I had to leave before it got worse. I felt out of love even after six months of being together.

As time passed, my mental stability depleted until it got out of hand. I soon started going to school twice a week maximum. This lead me to be placed in, in-school suspension for lousy things and being dropped from my honor classes in school. Soon I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself, “This isn’t you.” The person doing the bare minimum effort for her future clearly isn’t the person I am now. One Sunday night when nothing, not even my melatonin pills could put me to sleep and the crickets chirping nonstop like a broken-down record player, I decided to text him. I didn’t do it because I missed the affection or materialistic side of the relationship or even because I was bored. I laid in bed and thought how he was truly the only person who listened to me, regardless of my ranting. He taught me to open myself up to others, taught me how to feel. He made me feel human, alive. Even out of the many friends I trusted, he was the one who made me know I had true potential. I disregarded the reason I left and only saw the bright side. Once he responded, I broke down and summed up the past four months without him.

Quickly after, we got back together and picked up where we had left off. I always have a smile on my face from loving him so much. The way he respected my family and I, the way he comforted me when things got hard, the simple way he encouraged me to be bigger and better. He was there when others weren’t. He had flaws, but he made sure he didn’t hurt anyone around him. In my head he was perfect. Those around me saw my change in attitude. Not only was I in love, but I was finally grateful to be where I was and where I saw my future heading.

It was a February afternoon, and I received the phone call from his sister. This wasn’t a regular phone call: her vibe was off, and her voice was muffled. All I attained from the sentence she spoke was my boyfriend’s name, “car accident” and that he passed away on the scene. I felt numb, like my surroundings came crashing down, and I couldn’t do anything to stop it. It was a sharp pain in my heart that I couldn’t comprehend.

It hasn’t been easy. It has been nearly seven months without him, I always think of him. It’s hard to understand why he was taken away from me, in a blink of an eye. We had future plans, goals and dreams we sought out to accomplish, but it was the undeniable truth I was stuck living with. It feels like I’m taking life for granted to this day. What I’ve experienced, it just doesn’t go away. People always say move on, but how do you move on from a person who was so close to you? He was the only person who knew me and for who I was and vice versa. I’m still struggling to cope with it and just look forward and do what I least want to do. Move on.

He taught me so much. Although he wasn’t the brightest pupil, he still had life lessons that I still think about now. He would always remind me to disregard other people’s opinions and to stay true to myself, because who knows you better than you. I would tell myself this constantly when others decided that I was overexaggerating when I wasn’t able to get over him. He taught me to look at life from a different perspective since not all of us come from the same background and or lifestyles, more so to treat everybody like a social scale never existed. Though even with the fact he taught me to appreciate what I have and those around me, I still have the anger and so many unanswered questions. Why him? Why couldn’t it be me? I grew up in a Christian household, but I still question God from time to time asking why he would make me suffer through these battles knowing I’m not his strongest soldier. These questions are still left unanswered. I’m not broken like I was before, but I don’t know what God has in store for my future, but I always keep my hopes up. He brought me some of the best and worst times of my life. I still refer to Michael as “my boyfriend” and quickly remind myself he’s no longer here. I know I can’t bring him back, yet one day those goals and dreams we always talked about; come true. Even if he’s not standing next to me, he will always live in my heart.

(Jazlyn Flores)