Jessie's eyes flashed around the room. She crossed her legs, then uncrossed them. The noise of her shuffling earned her a stern look from the lady across from her, a grey head and thick glasses over a newspaper. Jessie put her hands on the armrests of her chair, preparing to stand up and ask the receptionist what on earth the holdup was, but then changed her mind. Why hadn't they called her yet? Her results should be back. It should be a quick appointment. The labwork was complicated, and she had been wating weeks for this moment. She was due back at work in fifteen minutes when they finally called her name.
"Jessica Brighton, the doctor will see you now."
Jessie stared at the nurse standing in the doorway for a moment before she recognized her own name. The doctor and another nurse were waiting for her in examination room 2. Negative lab results shouldn't require an examination, should they? Would they? Picking at the seam of her pants, Jessie stood rigid in examination room 2 and listened to her life change forever.
My First Love, but Not My Last
My first love loved me more than I loved him. I did love him, but I just couldn’t make myself vulnerable enough to return his love in the same way. Still, I was closer to him than I was to anyone else, and we talked on the phone every night for hours, even on nights when he’d pick me up in his piece of junk car and take me to the movies, or to grab a burger. We were seventeen and eighteen, and our worlds hadn’t even begun to open up. We went to prom together in 2015, and I was so nervous and he was so sweet. Two months later, I told him we needed to break up because I was moving several states away. Three months after that, he was gone.
I was walking my dogs when my best friend called me. One of her dad’s friends had been the one to find him. I didn’t believe her. Later that day, our youth pastor’s wife called me. She told me everything she knew. He left a note, with all the typical points. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, he just couldn’t do it, he had saved up enough money to pay for his funeral. I was still in shock. Three days later, I read his obituary and cried for the first time. Then, I didn’t stop crying for a week.
I didn’t go to his funeral. At first, I regretted that, but I don’t anymore. I hate funerals. Instead, I gathered around with some friends and we talked about our good memories of him. We laughed and cried together, and I felt a little better. Then I went home, and I was alone, and I felt worse. It took me two years to stop actively mourning. It took me three years to feel healed. Now it’s been four years, and I can look back with a smile, or with tears, and either way, it’s okay. I can never forget my first love, but I have learned to love again.