I can still remember my first heartbreak. I was living in Spain and attending kindergarten. I remember that first day when my parents dropped my off and the teachers closed the gate, separating me from the only people I’d ever know. I jumped onto the bars of the gate and started screaming and crying, like a very angry, blonde monkey. One of the teachers had to coax me down and almost drag me to the classroom.
It took a couple of weeks for me to go into the building willingly. The tantrum became routine: My parents would drop me off, I would latch onto the gate, and then a teacher would walk me inside after convincing me that they would be back in a few hours. Sometimes I wish I was still brave enough to throw a tantrum of that magnitude when facing something I don’t want to do.
Then I met Fernando. He was in my class and sat at my table. Sometimes I would borrow his colored pencils and he would always compliment me on my drawings. He must have had great taste because I was an awesome artist.
One day, during recess, one of the girls was explaining the concept of boyfriends and girlfriends to the group. She’s probably a huge slut now because we were only five or six. I don’t exactly remember how she described it, but I think it had something to do with kissing. Our group decided we were going to go out and get boyfriends, and I had my eye on Fernando. He was playing soccer with the boys. I found no reason to be nervous about propositioning someone at that age, so I went up to him right before the bell rang and asked him “Do you want to be my boyfriend?”
He said no. I was confused. That wasn’t how it was supposed to work. According to the girls, we were supposed to have boyfriends by the time we went back to class. There was another boy named Fernando in my grade and I figured as long as he had the same name it wouldn’t really matter. So I walked up to Fernando II, who was also playing soccer, and asked him. He told me no as well. The bell rang, and I was the only girl without a boyfriend.
Fast forward 21 years. I am still that girl who went back to class with no boyfriend. All of my friends are getting married, having children, and leading a pleasant, domestic life in suburbia. My cousins in Spain are all paired off, and even the younger ones are having children.
Every time I speak to a family member, they ask me if I have a boyfriend yet. One of my relatives even asked if maybe there was a girl in my life, but I told her that even though open to the idea I had no one. No boy, no girl, no one.
Dating is different in my world. I live on a island with millions of other people, a large portion of which are models and actors. Relatives in Spain are used to small town life where you usually end up with your high school sweetheart or end up married by the time you’re 21. Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with waiting. I don’t want to settle for someone I’m not completely passionate about, and although my grandparents may never get to meet my children, they can still meet my puppy.