It’s only afterwards that we know.
When I met Pierre, and instantly fell in love with his appearance and personality, I’d no idea I would love him for five long years - and after that miss him almost as long.
He was thirteen, I was fifteen. And I was a coward who feared, sort of, commiting statutory rape. Or, rather, I respected the official view around us, that minors oughtn’t have sex. We were both of us active Scouts, and Scout leaders were expected to live up to high moral standards. But I also feared his need to merge our personalities into an alloy.
When, at eighteen, sex finally was legal for Pierre, he searched someone who dared to introduce him into adult sexuality. It wasn’t me. I was still a coward. Of course I couldn’t blame him. But I blamed myself. Bitterly. How many times hadn’t I dreamt and hoped that we two would eventually lose our virginity together?
Five years later, I got a workmate whom I courted shyly for two years until we had exactly one date. Then followed seven years of love and splendid sex. A few years we even shared an apartment. Other times we lived some 400 kilometers apart but met at weekends and holidays. We are still the closest friends, phoning eachother almost every day. Though now the distance is 4.000 kilometers.
(4.000 km, that is 2.400 miles. That’s like from New York to Los Angeles.)