Yesterday evening, I saw a young teenage couple eating pizza as they waited for their bus. Short (as in height) and happy…it reminded me of Julio and I when we were teenagers…before my growth spurt continued and his stopped. Lol. Their innocence wasn’t full of overly sexual PDAs. It was just them being teenagers, enjoying pizza, and dare I say it…enjoying being in love for the first time. I watched them from afar missing that feeling of everything being a “FIRST.” Don’t get me wrong…I still have firsts in my life but they aren’t met with the same openness and world conquering view like they were when I was a teenager. From the first time I held hands with him to our first kiss (which all happened on our first date…my sophomore semi formal)…I saw a tenderness in Julio that I had never seen in any guy before. And so our puppy love began (and lasted for over 10 years) with me being distant and harsh and him being so full of love and care. Yea those were our teenage years. No matter my mistakes, he held my hands through it. Then we began adults and the roles reversed. I kept waiting for Julio to turn back into that patient and loving young man from the Bronx that I fell hard for but it never happened. You ever waited for someone to be the person you first fell in love with? This is the reason why I don’t believe in young marriages (though I know some do survive)…you barely know who you are much less to know who the other person is. There will be times both of you will lose yourselves and only the strongest couples will survive each transition. I do believe even in more mature relationships there are huge transitions but I feel at some point we come to terms with who we are and what we want after long periods of self exploration…and…MISTAKES! And those learned mistakes make us better people. In the Julio era, I had this need to find myself…to be free…to explore…to move all over the country…and to travel. Julio, on the other hand, wanted everything to stay the same…especially ME. He never trusted that after all my adventures, I would still choose him. That selfishness and that need for control are why I eventually fell out of love with Julio. To this day, over 19 years later, I don’t believe it’s love he feels for me. It’s familiarity. No self respecting woman wants familiarity over true and everlasting love! At least…I sure don’t. In the beginning, I felt so loved by Julio and as time went by…the fire (arguments, time, fights for power and control) burned even the most tender feeling I had in my heart for him. But it’s these lessons that let me know early on that Elijah and I would never work out. I always escape from control. True love should be free. Control is not love. It’s fear. Fear cannot hold a person forever…only love can do that by setting them free in the process and knowing that they are choosing you every day BY CHOICE. And that’s how I know there is hope for the Ex Factor and I….for even after 6 years of ups and downs…NOW is the time I feel the most loved. I’m not looking for him to return to the person I fell for…I’m watching us evolve into two people who are choosing each other BY CHOICE! And only time will tell if we continue to do so. Have we had fires?! Yes fucking bonfires! But if I’m reading us right, I think we decided to put all the bad things in the bonfire…hug it out and leave the ashes behind. Not everything has to be lost in the fire. Each thing we throw in should be a sign of a rebirth of at least two beautiful things. For every hurt put in the fire, a stronger love and bond should have ascended in the air…breathing life into even the most lifeless situations. At least that’s what I hope….~KJM on Throwback remembering the “FIRSTS” and all the painfully beautiful lessons that followed.