Long, long blonde hair. Still a slip of a thing but with improbably big boobs. Taut limbs honeyed with the fading summer.
I was nineteen years old. And I had no idea that I was lovely just as I was.
He had called. Told me to meet him outside – he didn't want to come in if my parents were home. So I walked half way down the long driveway to meet him. The sun was sinking low in the afternoon sky, and with it, my heart.
The pale blue ute slowed and pulled into my driveway, carrying my first love and bad news.
I stopped walking, let him bridge the space between us as his car crawled forward.
He wound down his tinted windows, the ones I had almost ruined butting a cigarette out on the inside of. Somehow, I'd figured the tint was on the outside of the glass. He had been so angry. Was I stupid?
A silly girl. That's how he saw me. And because he was strong and made me feel safe, I embodied that role for him.
He was a good country boy with simple aspirations. I was a city girl overflowing with lofty dreams. Months of push and pull had taken their toll. Too many beers, so many tears. Hormones and jealousy and no love quite like ours. We were kids.
And now, the words fell from his mouth as they were always going to. Too much, too hard, all the fighting, not happy.
Then, the words falling from my mouth, the quintessential script for teenage heartbreak. But I loved him, we could work it out, didn't he love me?
He was out of the car now, taking me in his arms, hushing me, he couldn't bear to see me cry.
His hands moved across my body, settled on my hips, so familiar. My arms moved up and entwined themselves around his neck. And we were kissing. As though we might never kiss again. Sad and hungry, consuming one another.
"See what you do to me?" he said, hard up against my hips.
There was a moment of hope. Confusion. Did this mean….? Were we okay? Guiltily, he pulled away, desperate to reinstate the space between us. He was sorry. He shouldn't have done that.
And then, the tyres were spinning in the gravel, sending up clouds of dust for him to disappear into.
I walked back to the house, heaving sobs pushing up from my chest, breaking free from my throat. In the bathroom, I watched myself cry in the mirror. My face was blotchy, streaked with tears and mascara. I was strangely comforted by this portrait of heartbreak. I was entranced by the drama of my own despair.
In the following weeks, I would wake in the mornings, suspended in that fog for a moment before the awful truth would squeeze my lungs like a vice. My pillow bore witness to the very depths of my desolation.
I believed my heart would never mend.
Get up, little girl. You think he is the only one for you, the only boy you will ever love. But your life ahead is filled with other boys. Three in particular.
One will write a song for you and when he finishes singing it, you will have to decide, do you want to be his wife, yes or no?
One will arrive in the place of your longed for daughter. And you'll be shocked to the core at the extent to which you will love him.
The third will be unlike any other human being you have known and when he calls you Mumma, you will break into a million tiny pieces and be reformed into the woman you always hoped you could be.
Get up, little girl. This ending is your very beginning.