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It happened way back when. Back when I was a fool who believed I had done all the growing up I could possibly do and there was no possibility of me changing anymore.

It’s funny how people remember their first love in the sense of the very first time they fell in love themselves; but how many of us can recall what it felt like when for the same very first time we realized the one we wanted, we cared for, we desired and loved, is also in love with us?

Let’s imagine for a second. A girl who had only had unrequited loves. A girl who had become resigned with the thought of not being girlfriend material; just the girl who instantaneously falls in the friend zone. And suddenly there was a boy, looking at her like if she walked away like that again it would be like putting a knife through his heart. And for a moment there she was simply baffled – what was this? Was this really happening to her? Was this what it felt like to have your feelings reciprocated? Was this what it meant to have someone care for you so badly?

Head spinning, heart pounding like it’s going to explode into a pink mess, almost hyperventilating. Then I take a breath. Another one. But I’m still not quite there yet. Am I drowning in a sea of my own madness or am I saner than I’ve ever been? Am I daydreaming or is my state of consciousness like a sharp blade? Not unlovable. Could this be it? Happiness!

He had a look in his eyes that I did not know until then. A look that said “Stay! Forever; or for as long as we can make it last. Just don’t leave. Not just now that I’ve found you.” And thanks to that look, the city lights looked brighter and the spring air smelled of acacia flowers almost to the point of intoxication. Thanks to him and thanks to that eye-opening moment, I knew: not only could I love, I also could be loved.