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Erin Mantz

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Facebook: Forgiving & Forgetting First Loves

Posted: 10/27/11 05:51 PM ET

I'd let HIM drive my new mint green Honda Spree moped, a Sweet Sixteen gift and my most prized possession to date. I'd spent countless hours with HER walking around the mall, shopping for shoes, eating hot pretzels and plotting cute outfits for upcoming weekend parties. "D" was the first crush (love?) of my high school life, and "C" was my fun, laid-back friend. Life was good that sophomore year of high school. Then, they broke my heart.

That was 25 years ago. So why am I thinking about it today? "C" just sent me a friend request on Facebook.

Since I'd joined Facebook five years ago on the eve of my 20th high school reunion, I'd looked for C. Out of curiosity, disdain or some desire for a sense of completion, I wondered how and where she ended up. Did she still have that long dark silky hair? Did she find true love? I'd heard C and D had traveled from Chicago to New Orleans after high school in 1988, still together, and then broken up for good later that year. (Confession: I'd been so happy when I'd heard that.) The beauty of Facebook was I could peek in on her. But she wasn't there! She was one of those few Facebook hold outs. She hadn't turned up at the reunion, either.

Almost every woman has a memory and sentimental story about a first love from the past, and just as many have an almost equally passionate tale about an ex-friend. In this case, my two had collided.

I'd fallen hard for D the first week I moved to his town and we sat in driving school. Of all the boys in this new town, I'd set my sights on him. I never shared my love life details with my mom, but she'd mentioned his name when we were moving, reminded me there would be a boy I once knew well as a toddler in the city; his parents had actually stood up at my parents' wedding. The families hadn't talked in years (was there a back story there?), but maybe I'd run into him.

As the driving instructor lectured about speed limits and turn signals, I watched the way D's dark hair curled over his ears. I was charmed by his smile and jokes. I dreamt of the day --coming up in just a few months (I'd get my license first - I was older) -- when I would get my license and we'd drive to Dairy Queen after school, laughing and lovestruck.

We quickly grew to be good friends, though I was secretly in love with him and had no idea if he knew that. He seemed to have a lot of girl "friends" that wanted to spend time with him, but he spent time with me. We hung out with a larger group. He was kind of a joker, and kind of mean, but I thought it was adorable. I put up with a lot. He didn't treat me so well, and the more that happened, the more I was determined to have him. I did get my license. He'd come out with my friends and I on the weekend -- me driving my convertible -- and come to parties and midnight donut runs. My friends thought he was a blast. Except one: C.

C never liked him. Outside hockey games that winter, C had discouraged me from spending time with him. They openly bickered that spring. But D and I had finally moved beyond friendship, until the night we had too much to drink and a fight at our friend's house where our group always hung out. C was on her way home anyway, and offered to drop D off at his house.

Exactly one week later, reading Seventeen magazine in C's bedroom with a mutual friend, they both looked at me and C said "Should I tell her?" She and D were together now. They were in love.

The end.

At 41, my stomach turned when a Friend Request from C to me popped up on Facebook last night. It only took me three hours to decide to hit "Ignore" and not "Accept." I'd run into D at a sports bar one summer home from college. He'd approached me and apologized and actually said some really nice things about me. By now, I've gotten over my crush, and basically forgiven him. But not her.

 

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