Nothing Like the First TimeBy: Keren Hughes
To Calum, my one and only baby boy—thank you for supporting me and telling everyone I make you proud—you make me the proudest mother alive!
To my Nan, who may never read this due to not wanting to read your granddaughter’s sex scenes—thank you for your constant support, throughout my life and my writing—your faith in me is unwavering and I love you so very much.
To all of you who are still with your first love—may you always know there is ‘nothing like the first time’.
It was a cold morning, and as I walked down the familiar high street with its hustle and bustle of everyday life, I couldn’t help but think of all the times we’d walked this street hand in hand. I stood on the footpath outside the window of the little coffee shop where we would often stop in for a morning caffeine boost before heading our separate ways to work. The aroma from inside caused my heart to skip a beat.
We had been young and in love. We had the rest of our lives ahead of us together to figure out what we wanted to do. I had a job but it wasn’t a career. He had a career but it wasn’t the one he’d had in mind. But none of that mattered as long as we had each other. That was until the day he left. That was ten years ago. He’d finally found the career he wanted, but it was on the other side of the world. When it had come to a choice between the career and the girl, he’d chosen the career. I didn’t blame him. He was young and had to follow his dreams until the bitter end.
I decided to go into the shop and order a pumpkin spice latte, my drink of choice back in those days. I hadn’t been to the shop since he left and I had stayed away from pumpkin spice lattes. I also hadn’t been able to keep a relationship for very long. A few months here, a few months there. No one could live up to my first love. I know it may not be fair to judge everyone by his standards, but he was my first everything. My first kiss, my first boyfriend, my first lover.
The girl at the counter smiled and handed me my polystyrene cup. I paid and went to sit at the corner table where we used to sit and laugh, cuddle, kiss…
Everything about the shop had remained the same over the years except for the staff. The décor was still the welcoming warm tones of red and beige. The floor was still the same slate grey tiles. The tables were still packed into every nook and cranny.
At least I was safe in the knowledge that he was on the other side of the world. I could sit here and enjoy reminiscing about my youth.
Talking and laughter could be heard all around me. There were couples both young and old. There were businessmen and women in their suits, getting their morning cup of caffeine before work. People were all going at different paces. Some fast, wanting to get in and out as fast as they could on their way to work. Some were slow, enjoying the friendly environment of the coffee shop. Me? I was just relishing in the memories that were so sacred to me.
I hadn’t been down this road much since our split. I’d found a career as a freelance journalist. It gave me the freedom to come and go, I never had to use the same route twice if I didn’t want to.
I took my laptop from my bag and connected to the shop’s Wi-Fi—I had a deadline for a piece I had nearly finished writing.
I was just finishing my second cup of the morning when a squeal caught my attention. Lifting my head, I saw what all the commotion was about—a couple stood at the counter and the girl serving was gushing over the girl’s left hand. The light caught on something shiny on her ring finger. I smiled at the couple’s obvious happiness and would have turned my attention straight back to my laptop except for something that caught my eye.
It was the way he was stood. That confident stance with his broad shoulders, his hair that brushed against his collar—it was longer than I remembered, but it suited him. I would know that body anywhere from any angle, after all, I had seen it from every angle many times before. My heart began thumping wildly in my chest. He couldn’t be here, he just couldn’t—he was meant to be on the other side of the world, not here in our old coffee shop, and especially not bringing another woman to what had been ‘our place.’ What the hell was he doing here? I hadn’t seen him in ten years, and now the one time I come into our old place, he turns up.