Reaching Out, Touching Hands

For the next 60 (week)days, I’ll be writing a short essay in response to a writing prompt. My writing has become a little stale lately, so this will (hopefully) spice it up again. Today’s prompt is, “Write about the first time you held someone’s hand”.

I do not remember the first time I held someone’s hand romantically. I’m sure it had to be with my first boyfriend Thad, when we were 14, and probably at the homecoming dance, but I have no memory of it. I remember just about everything else seemingly large in my life, but not this.

A less anxious brain would say that we cannot retain every minutiae of our lives and that this just had to go. My overly anxious brain wants to know why. Why was the feel of his hand and the place we first connected so unimportant? Why was my first kiss more important? Don’t both show a level of intimacy that I had not experienced before?

The reality is that holding hands with Thad for the first time was not unimportant but that other things that I consciously deemed important came after and took up large amounts of room. Like another boyfriend, Drew, and I holding hands for the first time in the backseat of my mom’s minivan. Or my husband, Jess, and I holding hands for the first time while walking on a beach near Santa Maria, California, after I had been baiting him to do so all day. It’s not that holding hands with Thad was unimportant but that it was not the best or most memorable occurrence. It is okay to let go of the mediocre memories to make space for new ones.

There were many other more memorable aspects of Thad and of dating him. Like how he often wore Fox Racing shirts, or his blonde bowl cut, or that he was about an inch shorter than me. Or the first time we slow-danced at homecoming (not that I remember the song, though). Like the first time we kissed while working in a haunted house together for community service hours. Like how I found out that he made out with my friend, so I broke up with him and then cried in algebra class.

If I had to rank all of my life events on a scale from one to ten, holding hands with someone romantically for the first time is definitely a two. There was just so much better and more to to come. It is probably a good thing that I cannot remember it because it means I have filled my life with lots of memorable experiences. Firsts do not have to be memorable, they just have to open the door.

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