Remember Your First Love?

Remember Your First Love?

I didn’t know at the time how little I was, how fresh-faced and innocent. ¬†Eighteen was a grown up, I was ready for college in a new state. ¬†I, who had never been kissed, never gone on a date, and never lived away from my parents and little brother. ¬†I was confident I would make a success of it.

I was so ready to make new friends and get started on life that I hardly noticed when my dad reluctantly drove away and left me hundreds of miles from home.

I was there to learn, but also to fall in love.  I had been waiting (not entirely patiently) for years for someone to notice me, to like me, to pick me out of the crowd.  College was where it would happen.  In my romantic brain, every man I met might sweep me off my feet, there was limitless potential.

Then I met him.

The man I only realized in hindsight was my first love.

I went to one of the college clubs and it happened to be his turn to lead the meeting. ¬†I walked in at the back and the room was already full. ¬†I will never forget when I first laid eyes on him. ¬†He was small, wirey, and energetic. ¬†He had a smile that seemed bigger than his actual face. ¬†There was charisma and energy dancing around him. ¬†The thought in my brain was simple… I must become friends with this person.

And I did. ¬†He was leading one of the smaller off-shoots of the club, a discussion group, and I signed up for it. ¬†The first night, after the discussion, we went to Friendly’s and talked for hours. ¬†He was one of the first people I encountered who actually listened to me. ¬†He cared about my voice, my thoughts, my life. ¬†He drove me back to my dorm in the dark night and I wondered: is this a date? ¬†I had no idea, I had never been on a date.

It wasn’t. ¬†Before I got out of the car we kept talking, him parked outside my dorm. ¬†He told me he had a girlfriend, long distance.

Despite that knowledge, my feelings grew stronger and stronger. ¬†I wanted to see him every day. ¬†I joined the school’s Gospel choir because he was in it. ¬†We talked, we laughed, we had fun together. ¬†I baked him my well-loved apple pie and he gave me a giant Hershey’s kiss for Valentine’s Day. ¬†One night on the spur of the moment we gathered friends and drove across the Canadian border to¬†Niagara¬†Falls and drove home the same night. ¬†It was the latest I had ever stayed up.

He drove me to the airport whenever I flew home to my parents, even though my mother books flights that leave at 6:00 in the morning.  He would wait with me until the very last second (this was pre-9/11) and he would hug me before I got on the plane.  He made me feel tremendously safe and cared for.

I couldn’t help talking about him, gushing over what he said, his thoughts and beliefs, to my family. ¬†They were busy winking at each other behind my back, not knowing that he and I would never date, would never kiss.

Even when he and the long distance girlfriend didn’t work out, there was still no chance for us. He and I were of different religions and that was extremely ¬†important for both of us. ¬†He married a Christian girl a year and a half after we met. ¬†I knew that our special connection was fading and I had to let him go be fully a husband.

I still think of him frequently. ¬†I remember his beautiful hands, his addicting smile, the warmth that would fill me whenever I was in his presence. ¬†Ten years later, I’ve never met anyone like him. ¬†He is an amazing and very special human being. ¬†My life was enriched because I was his friend, I will always be grateful for that.


My new book is out, it is a collection of short love stories.  They are stories of love like you hope it will be, the way you expect it when you arrive in the grown-up world ready to make it yours.




Amazon (coming soon)



  1. Beverly Diehl
    Jun 24, 2011

    Wonderful, poignant story, Ruth. Sometimes we feel a very deep emotional connection to someone, and on one side or the other – it’s just not a romance. I’ve been on both ends of a not-quite romance, either where I was in love but he wasn’t, quite, or where someone loved me and I couldn’t return the feelings in that way.

    Sad, but beautiful at the same time, and you capture it beautifully here.

    • RuthMadison
      Jun 24, 2011

      Thank you! Even when it isn’t romance, love is always a wonderful thing to have!

  2. Robin Sullivan
    Jun 27, 2011

    Great story…takes me back to a time when I met a boy, and spent late nights talking about everything from the existance of God to the origins of the universe. I remember how my heart leapt when I saw his car pull into the parking lot of the condo I lived in. I remember how I couldn’t stop thinking about him when we were a part. We becamse best friends and without ever having a date we were married and have had 31 wonderful years so far.

    Thank you for bringing back my memories of those early days and the realization that nothing really has changed. I still am sad when away from him and there is no one I’d rather having an interesting and well debated discussion with.

    • RuthMadison
      Jun 28, 2011

      Awwww, how beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing that.

  3. crimit
    Jul 2, 2011
  4. CJ West
    Jul 2, 2011

    Wonderful story Ruth.

    I can only guess how great your book must be when you can write a blog so engaging as this.

    Best of luck!

  5. Dr.Mani
    Jul 2, 2011

    Lovely story. I enjoyed reading it. Will watch out for your book when it’s available on the Kindle store.

    • RuthMadison
      Jul 2, 2011

      Thank you! And thanks also for the reminder, it is available at Kindle now and I forgot to update the link! How terrible of me. It’s up now ūüôā

  6. Inglath Cooper
    Jul 2, 2011

    Lovely, Ruth. So enjoyed reading this.

  7. Cheryl Kaye Tardif
    Jul 3, 2011

    Thanks so much for sharing this. It made me think of my first love–Steve. Although I am happily married now to a wonderful man I love more than anything, Steve was my first love. I only recently discovered he ended his life a couple of years ago.

    I have never forgotten him–or how he made me feel. It saddens me that he didn’t feel his life was worth living. He was a good man with a kind heart, and he was the kind of first love that most girl’s dream of.

    Great post.

    Cheryl Kaye Tardif,
    bestselling author of Whale Song

    • RuthMadison
      Jul 3, 2011

      Oh, what a bittersweet story! I hope that where ever his spirit is, he can see how much you cared about him, and that he is at peace from whatever haunted him.

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