I’m not sure how to begin; I’m pretty new here. I’m hazarding a guess that starting off with some reasons as to why I, and not Irina, am the one writing this entry would be a good start.
This is a response to Irina’s blogpost about second love. She is my second love as well, which is pretty much a sweet slice of serendipity (this is my favourite word in the world, FYI) when I think about it. Truth be told, I wish she was my first love, because that would mean that up till this point, my love life would pretty much have been clean, cool and smooth sailing. C'est la vie.
First, maybe some background information about me (although not too much, this isn’t a personal expository article). I’m 21 and thus, two whole calendars behind Irina. The age doesn’t bug me at all though. At the start, dating an older woman can be an entirely scary prospect and I still remember being gripped by an overwhelming anxiety each time I opened my mouth to speak to her.
“What if she thinks I’m a small boy? Is my world-view mature enough to capture her attention or is it going to bore her to tears?”
But as time wore on, things just began to flow naturally. Nowadays, I don’t even really have to care or think about what I say to her. Nonsense just streams from my mouth and I don’t have to filter my thoughts. The outcome is pure bliss. It’s good to see your partner for what they truly are and not as a number. To be completely honest? It’s also pretty fantastic dating an older woman. She’s in control, she’s mature enough and she’s strong— things I didn’t suspect I would find myself attracted to at first but which now I find irresistible components of the her magnetism that grip me and refuse to let go.
(Funny digression - I’m writing this while Facetime-audioing Irina and she assumes that my fervent typing was me summing up my economics notes. Far from the fact, love — I never type so purposefully unless its about a topic I’m really passionate about: in this case, You.) (I am passionate about economics though. Hm.)
Right now, I am studying in Oxford University and doing Economics and Management. I one day hope to sell my soul for money (I’ve said this joke so many times that I’m beginning to suspect there’s some truth underlying the punchline). I am exactly 10924.916 KM away from her, which sucks most of the time. Well, all the time. But its good because she keeps me sane, stable and satisfied with what my lot in life is right now. The workload is abysmally tough, the weather cold and without her, I think I would be pretty depressed right now. But the prospect of seeing her again in exactly 42 days (at the time of this writing), of coming home after class each day, calling her up and finally hearing her gentle voice is what has been getting me through these cold days and colder nights.
She has this way…. with words. Her words are pretty simple (she complains that I’m unnecessarily pretentious with my choice of vocabulary) but yet they have a… calming effect. She chooses the right words at the right time. She knows exactly what to say when my mood dips to cheer me up. She also doesn’t hesitate to scold some sense into me when I’m behaving like a brat, which makes her a truly impeccable girlfriend (I assure you, there’s not a single trace of sarcasm there. If you have a girlfriend who knows how to discipline you and in the process make you realise you’re actually quite the little shit, she’s a keeper). So yeah, I get to hear from her almost daily. If you look at the math, sound travels at 340.29 m/s.
So, 10924.916 KM isn’t that far after all.
So steering this back on track, what’s second love like? It makes everything right. It closes the wounds you’ve had inside of you. It makes you feel like you are worth the love that you had previously thought you weren’t deserving of. Recently, I’ve learned an axiom of life from a friend here in Oxford, and her words made quite a lot of sense:
“There’s a lot of reason to question things in life. Like, you just wake up and realise, why am I? There’s a lot of things that we cant understand as of yet and probably will never understand. The only probable truth in life is Love.”
So yes, second love is better than the first. Falling in love the first time is easy. But giving it away to someone again, after the first heartbreak, is something that requires a conscious decision. It takes a lot of courage and it requires you to trust the person. Before love comes trust. You know what it is like to be crushed and smashed and ground into an interminable oblivion. You trust that this person, as you place your trembling heart in her hand, will handle it with the utmost care and delicacy. That she’ll hold it both tightly and gently at the same time—she won’t let you fall and she won’t hurt you. That she understands the profundity of the exchange that is taking place.
I’m not religious (I try to be but haven’t found the right time nor place), but falling for a second time has taught me that God’s greatest gift to us is our ability to love. Love is powerful; it is the thread that holds the entire tapestry of our being. Thus, something so sacred must surely be the divine handiwork of some celestial being. That means that no one else has the ability, means or right to take it away from us. This gift is ours and ours alone and we will never lose our ability to exercise our love. It is our choice. We and we alone make our own decision to love. I seriously doubted my capacity to love anyone again after my first breakup, but Irina stirs something deep inside me. I took the plunge, and I am the happiest man in the world right now (except when I’m drowning in a 200 page management reading list) because of that.
I love Irina and I wish she was my first love. I would have loved (am I overusing this word? My essay tutor told us to cut down on repetition, maybe I should thesaurus it. But then agin, there’s no substitute for a word that’s both a beautiful noun and verb) to discover what holding hands, having a first kiss, falling asleep together and so much more felt like with Irina. But the what's past has past and there’s no point looking back when the road ahead is long and the scenery beautiful. The future is bright, especially with her by my side.
42 more days. Fall be kind.