I remember the first time I fell in love. It was with Eric Estrada, the dark, swarthy, yet sensitive half on “CHiPs.” I was 7, and he would wait for me. I was convinced he’d marry me one day. But he didn’t wait. Damn that Ponch—he broke my heart.
Of course, at that age, I knew little about romantic love and thankfully nothing yet of broken hearts. So breaking my heart meant he didn’t show up at my birthday party to give us all a ride on his motorcycle. I managed to find a way through it, however, and forgot about him the second I opened my Easy-Bake Oven.
Eleven years later, I would experience what it really meant to fall in love. It would be with someone I met in my last months of high school—someone I thought I couldn’t be without; someone who I would marry at 22 and have a son with a few years later; someone who would remain my symbol of first love, that wide-eyed, youthful Nicholas Sparks kind of “Notebook” love, even if he later also became the symbol of heartrending pain when we both discovered that life is not perfect. Things happened, we disappointed each other, we became imperfect and we floundered until the fairy tale exploded in our dumbfounded, crestfallen faces.
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