By EVA BOTANY
I got my first boyfriend when I was 14. His name was Alex and he liked Pink Floyd, so therefore he was cooler than any other 14 year old I knew.
He asked me out over MSN, which was the instant-messaging medium of choice back in 2004, and as soon as I accepted, I changed my screenname to include a love-heart and an ALEX in it.
The relationship ended when he decided that he wanted a girlfriend that was more suited to him; one with black, spiky hair and an affection for cigarettes, smoked only on slides in forgotten playgrounds. But that was okay.
I moved onto Nicholas, another boy I knew from school. He was blonde and he walked me home from school every day, and I loved him with the kind of passion that only a lovesick 14-year-old can muster.
And then James came along.
Oh, James. He was the tall, gorgeous, basketballer that swept me off my feet before I’d even had the chance to kiss Nicholas. Poor Nick was unceremoniously dumped, once again over MSN, so that I would have my chance with James.
Karma got me back after that one – James dumped me after several months of hiding in deserted suburban streets to make out after school (we weren’t supposed to be seen in our school uniforms). It was winter at the time. I still remember walking an entire 20 minutes out of my way, for two entire years, to avoid seeing him at the bus stop.
There have been many boys since then. A relationship that lasted a year. Another that lasted two years. Another that lasted six months, before blowing into an emotionally abusive mess. There have been non-relationships, with boys interested in my body but really nothing else.
There have been brief flings with boys in foreign cities, kissing in Balinese swimming pools in the wee hours of the morning, stumbling up icy Queenstown steps after a random snowfall. There have been lovers that turned into friends once it became apparent that the chemistry wasn’t quite there.
I’ve had love, I’ve had lust, I’ve had longing glances from across the room, I’ve had 3am pouring-out-the-heart text messages. I’ve had stolen kisses when no-one else is looking, I’ve had the hand on the small of the back that makes you think, yes, he adores me.
And recently, I’ve had a break-up. My relationship of two years ended suddenly, about a month ago. It wasn’t mutual, although I admit that the partnership was largely imperfect, and probably a long time coming.
I was shattered. And my first thought was that I needed to find someone else to move my attention to, to distract myself. A different boy to think about so that I wouldn’t need to feel the stinging pain in my chest when I woke up every morning.