“There’s no love like the first”

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Anna Landis

According to Anna Landis (in purple), she’s been in a relationship with her first love, Paul Kretsch (lower left) since eighth grade.

Anna Landis, Staff Writer

As Nicholas Sparks has said before: “There’s no love like the first.” Okay, go ahead. Judge me. But honestly, I think that this sappy, melodramatic, hopeless romantic of a writer, has a point. Or at least he had a point during my eighth grade year.

Some may say I peaked early, but I’m pretty sure eighth grade was, is, and forever will be the best time of my life. And it was all because of this one boy. Let’s call him Paul Kretsch.

He was handsome. He was kind. He was polite. He was strapping. But I set my eye on young Paul Kretsch because of his “wings.” The way the ends of his hair flipped out from his chiseled cheekbones made my heart flip flop.

After a few months in the Junior High musical together, I could really feel that we had something. Sometimes he’d offer me a pencil. Or we’d look at each other at the same time, not on purpose. This one time, Paul Kretsch even hugged me, in front of Mrs. Stockhaus. Now, if that’s not a proclamation of infatuation, I don’t know what is.

Now, fast forward to February 14, 2008—Valentine’s Day. On the bus ride home from a day of skiing at Afton Alps, Paul Kretsch asked me to be his girlfriend with, wait for it, a chocolate heart. Our dean at the time, Mr. Platt, witnessed the entire thing and asked if he could come to the wedding. At that moment, I promised myself that when I married Paul Kretsch, Mr. Platt would perform the ceremony.

The next few weeks are a blur of affectionate serenading, accordions and lyres, candlelit dinners, love letters, and a few hand-holding sessions. I’m not going to lie; our relationship had gotten pretty serious. One night, we went out to a movie with our friends, he bought my ticket, and then, I told him that I “like liked” him.

But like any fleeting moment of youth, nothing gold can stay. One day, Paul Kretsch got me alone to tell me that we should just be friends. Thoughts raced through my mind, trying to find a viable reason why he would be saying those words, in that order, on that day. That day. It hit me, that day just happened to be April Fool’s Day.

Luckily, from my experience in theater, I know how to improv. So I played along with his entire “breakup,” but I’m pretty sure Paul Kretsch never actually broke up with me. Even though he’s stopped picking up my pencils, sending me flowers, and calling me his girlfriend, I still know we have a deep connection no one could break. Sooner or later, Paul Kretsch will realize, the breakup never happened. April Fools!