Chapter of My Life: A First Love Remembered

Short Stories

Love came to me in many different ways, but my first love is the one I still think of every so often—not because of a lack of love in my life, but because he was the first man I gave my whole heart to.

I met him through his younger brother, which was awkward because his brother and I were the same age and he was older. However, I enjoyed conversing with him more. It was the spring of 1995 when I received a call from him. He was just bored and going through his brother’s phone list, calling girls. Somehow, in our conversation, we hit it off.

I was 14 years old, still a kid. Despite seeming mature, my mentality was childish. He was in college, so my mentality lacked his knowledge. As we got to know each other, I truly fell in love with him. Whenever I had a bad day, he would drop everything to comfort me. Being young and naive, I cried wolf about many things just to see him. I didn’t understand the importance of his work or school. I was stubborn and wanted him close to me. He never complained and was always there for me, comforting me without ever trying to touch me inappropriately. He was respectful and never asked for anything except a hug when he was going home. Sadly, I never even kissed him. We only held hands and hugged throughout our relationship. He was a true gentleman.

Moving Away

The following year, he told me that his mom had remarried long ago and he lived with his brother and grandparents from his dad’s side. His grandparents had moved to Green Bay, where some of his relatives lived, and he would have to move there himself. He asked if I would go with him if he took me. Unsure if he meant it, I told him no. He didn’t try to convince me further, and I thought he didn’t want me to go bad enough. When the day came, he told me he would talk with me until his car phone died and he lost signal. Once he reached Green Bay, it might be a while before he made contact because he wasn’t sure how they were settling down. I was sad but still a kid who couldn’t just leave. I didn’t know what life would be like and couldn’t provide for myself.

We continued writing letters to each other, but as time went on, I became more and more sad missing him. He attempted to calm me down, but his letters revealed frustration with our relationship. Eventually, his cousin moved to California and started calling me. When I asked how he got my number, his cousin (D) said my boyfriend (K) gave it to him and said he could call me. I was really saddened by this, wondering why my boyfriend would do such a thing. When ‘K’ called, he was shocked to hear his cousin had called me. ‘K’ told me not to believe anything his cousin said and that he never gave my number to him. His cousin had stolen my picture with my number on it from ‘K’s desk.

‘K’ explained that his cousin might be trying to get back at him due to a misunderstanding over a girl. His cousin saw him dancing with a longtime friend at a family party and thought they were involved. ‘K’ didn’t know his cousin was dating the girl, and she hadn’t told him either. I was upset and confused, still a kid not understanding love. Despite ‘K’s wishes, I talked to ‘D’ to learn more about the misunderstanding. ‘D’ eventually confirmed that what ‘K’ said was true but still believed ‘K’ and the girl had more going on. ‘K’ later admitted they used to date but didn’t tell me earlier because he feared losing me. It broke my heart, but I loved ‘K’ and didn’t want to know more.

Growing Apart

‘K’ came into town the following year and asked if I would leave with him if he sent a bus ticket. I said no. He asked if I would go if he took me, and I still said no. I wanted him to ask my parents for permission. I didn’t understand that asking parents meant more money. If I had known, I would have left with him. He suggested we leave first and his uncles would notify my parents, making it easier for him. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t be respectful and tell my parents first. Again, I was a kid and didn’t understand the Hmong way. He never explained it to me either. He spent one day with me and then left.

Now that I’m older, I think he came to spend one last time with me and to try to take me with him, but I was too young to understand, and he was too quiet to explain.

After that day, ‘D’ told me that ‘K’ had asked his grandparents for permission to marry me, but they took him to see a divorced woman and told him to marry her since there would be no dowry. ‘D’ said ‘K’ had worked hard to survive and was lectured about getting married. I wish he had told me, but he probably didn’t want me to worry.

‘K’ wrote less and less. Our weekly letters turned into monthly letters, and our weekly calls turned into monthly calls. One day, I received a letter from him saying, “It agitates me that you would think our cousins can flock together because life never happens like how we want.” I took it as him losing faith in our relationship and that I was more of a burden. Eventually, we stopped writing, and I moved on with life. Even though my cousins married his cousins, we never brought up the topic of him and me. A few years later, my best friend called to tell me she had bumped into him and he was asking for me. She broke the news that I was married, and life moved on.


I don’t lack love from my husband, but sometimes when I drive down an old path we shared or a spot where I cried on his shoulder, it brings back sweet memories of him and the good things he did for me. I wonder how he is doing and hope he has found someone to love him because he deserves a good lady.

As time passes and I reflect, I think he sacrificed our relationship due to lack of support and financial issues. Maybe we were not meant to be and only shared a moment of life together. If that’s the case, it was worth the time and suffering. I got to know a good man, and even if we didn’t make the cut that our cousins did, I’m fine with that because they live the dream we once sought.

To this man, I bid you longevity and lots of love in your life. I have been loved by my husband and don’t regret anything in life. You were my first love, and I will always hold a memory of you in my heart. As I write this, I realize I needed closure because we never ended properly. Thank you for letting me close this chapter of my first love.

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