When she was fourteen, Akira fell in love for the first time.
His name was Ezra, and he sat in front of her during their third period French class. During an in-class assignment, the teacher paired the students up to practice conversations. As soon as Ezra turned around in his seat and she saw the pale blue eyes looking at her, Akira was sure she would never love anyone as she loved Ezra.
The blue-eyed, dark-haired boy was impressed with Akira’s pronunciation and she was forced to admit that she’d been taking French lessons since she was small. Taking French 2 was her version of an “easy A” class. Ezra admitted that he was struggling with his second year in French and asked if she’d be willing to tutor him after school.
Akira was over the moon. They planned to meet on Wednesdays in the library.
The first Wednesday, Akira took her time getting ready that morning. She combed her long hair and tied it into as perfect a French braid as she could. She wore her favorite green skirt that fell just below her knees, adding a pair of brown sandals so she could show off her red painted toenails. She was anxious all day for the school day to end.
Ezra showed up to their tutoring session with a copy of his last test to practice from. Akira was shocked to see the bright red D sitting so close to his beautiful name.
They practiced for an hour before Akira had to get home. Ezra lived in the same direction, so they walked together for a while. When they came to the corner where their paths diverged, Ezra asked if Akira might want to get together over the weekend to see a movie. Akira agreed, pushing aside thoughts of whether her parents would even allow her to go on a date.
Ezra and Akira dated for the rest of the year. Ezra got an A in French that year, and Akira dreamt about what their lives would be like together. She imagined the perfect wedding dress, named their children, and designed the home they would grow old in together. She was head over heels.
That summer, Ezra went to baseball camp – he played for the high school varsity team – and Akira wrote him a letter every day of the two weeks he was gone. She tucked sketches she’d done of him into the envelopes, seal them with a kiss, and write his name in her best calligraphy.
Ezra didn’t write her a single letter.
On the day he got back from camp, Akira showed up at his house with a painting she’d done just for him. The canvas depicted the blue-eyed boy and the green-eyed girl sitting beneath the bright pink cherry blossoms in his backyard. She had spent the entire two weeks working on it. She was proud of it and hoped that Ezra would love it – and her.
Akira presented the canvas to the boy she loved and she knew from the look in his eye that he wasn’t impressed. He set the canvas aside and asked if she wanted to come inside. She followed him into the living room, where he stood in front of her and told her that he had met someone else.
The little fourteen-year-old Akira couldn’t breathe. She told Ezra that she loved him, and he waved her feelings aside as if they were a pesky fly. She ran out the front door and didn’t stop running until she was home.
Once she was alone in her room, she allowed herself to burst into tears and wallow in the misery that was her first heartbreak. Then she vowed to never fall in love again.
And she didn’t. Until she met me.