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  • He set the bar everyone else had to meet. Isn't that what first loves are supposed to do? Really, it wasn't about him, but about how I felt and behaved around him that set the standard so high. At a time (those tumultuous teenage years) when identity is so fluid, he was willing to accept whatever role I wanted to take on any particular day. It never mattered and he still loved me. Mostly.

    He couldn't get past the role of someone else's girlfriend, though. That role I decided to play without telling him and deeply regret (a role I have never repeated). I apologized then and again years later when we rekindled a friendship, but I could tell he was never the same. Of course, neither was I. The years made our edges harder, our judgment sharper, our trust less flexible.

    Even knowing how the years changed us, I still remember the feeling when things were really good. I remember feeling loved like that, and still set that bar damn high. I still have all those memories stored away for when I question my self-worth. I keep that love in a box high up on the shelf and swear some day someone will make me forget it is there.

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