submitted by Nour Hassaine
Freshly turned 18, two months into my university course (BA Journalism if you’re interested). Four months before moving to LDN, I met him. For four months, our interactions were snapchat exclusive. Separated by 7000km of land (Abu Dhabi-Brussels), I saw him once for a couple of hours at a party. Talking to him every single day was enough to make me completely dependent on him. When packing up to relocate for my studies, obviously there was the excitement of uni, meeting new people and doing something I am strongly passionate about. There was also an extremely strong excitement for finally seeing him again. So, first night alone, I was sitting at a dinner table with him sitting right in front of me. Mark the date: 19/09/2016.
Our relationship started then and ended five months later (March 7th to be precise). Our relationship was very simple, he was doing his thing, I was doing my thing and we would meet in the middle (at least every weekend). His friends were my friends, it wasn’t complicated, never really had an argument. We were both extremely supportive of one another and here for one another. This sounds very cheesy, the cheesy of the cheesiest, but we were best friends, actual best friends who occasionally kissed.
I knew what he meant to me but never realised it until it was over. Once our relationship ended, I was disoriented. The person I shared my late night strolls around Southbank with, the one who showed me independent cinemas where I spent a lot of time now. One of our first dates was at Prince Charles Cinema, where we went to a sing-a-long version of Grease. Comfortably seated on those red movies’ chairs, observing how much fans, adults were of the 1960s classic. The room was filled with actual Pink Ladies and T-Birds and two kids singing their hearts out in the middle. Of course he knew every single word of all the songs, who doesn’t ?
I’m not gonna describe the amount of pain I was feeling after we broke up, but I will tell you this. First loves are not overrated. I don’t think I went through the five stages of moving on: “denial, acceptance …” because people go through every single one of them in the movies, that’s not true in real life . I will explain to you how everything changed though. It was the first time I was actually on my own, which wasn’t a big deal. What mattered the most was that I lost my first very best friend. Growing up, we always have friends and we always say “we’re gonna be best friends forever” and you never talked to them after changing schools or whatever. But this time was different, he was my best friend. So yeah, that was hard because now I had to go back on depending on myself only and I forgot how to do that, it had been a couple of months. Weirdest thing as well, when you have a funny story but it happened with him, so when you tell it and say “my ex”, people look at you like “babe, you haven’t moved on yet”, when you actually have.
We still see each other and spend time together because we have a common group of friends. Before we started doing that, we had lunch, just the two of us. No, it wasn’t awkward, nothing had changed. It was basically two really close friends catching up over a nice meal. Nobody mentioned the past. We just looked at each other, and asked how we were doing. We weren’t asking for the overall state, it was obvious. He looked good, I looked good. Everyone experiences their first real relationship at different points of their lives, mine was when I started university.
header art: Mina Tumay
illustration: Sian McKeever