On the 19th I'll be driving to my parent's house to watch my dad in his church's Christmas cantata. I'm excited for this for one main reason. I love driving on December nights. I have ever since 2001, the first December I had a license and the first December I had a broken heart. I'm not going to wax nostalgic for a love than never was. Obviously, things turned out for the best. It wasn't the last heartbreak I'd suffer. I'm sure it won't be the last. But there's something interesting about the first of things. It defines the experience to a certain extent. I mean, this girl I'd wanted to date for three months choosing some guy she'd barely known over me hurt quite a bit for sixteen year old me; but let's be honest, my fiance who I'd been dating for nearly five years leaving me and immediately moving in with some random guy hurt far worse. And if my wife were to leave me, I'm sure that would be unimaginably worse still. But the first time seems stuck in my brain as the example the others follow. Everything before that seems like childhood to me. Everything after was. . .something else. Certainly not manhood. I don't know when I first described myself as a man, but it definitely was not nine years ago.
But back to my first point: driving on December nights. Hell, let's just say December nights specifically. Sure, I had fifteen Decembers before 2001, but somehow I never appreciated them until December 7th, nine years ago. The fog and the snow, mixing with the glow of the streetlights. Driving through the park a dozen times to see the the faintly viewed Christmas lights in the park. The soundtrack: Something to Write Home About by The Get up Kids. I listened to "Long Goodnight" for the better part of the night, and I seldom listen to it to this day for that reason. Why? Because some girl didn't pick me. Now, I scoff. If I were telling this story instead of typing it, one would hear a distinct "pfft." But it's a part of me. Sometimes I wish it wasn't. It's why I get depressed every year come December. It's why Something to Write Home About is my favorite album. . .OF. All. TIME. If that hadn't happened, maybe my musical taste would've become much different. I was at a crossroad at the time. I'd just discovered Dashboard Confessional, but I'd also just discovered BoySetsFire. Who knows? Maybe I would be horribly into hardcore right now if not for that night. Thank God for near misses, right?
Still, I've thought about it, if I never went through that first heartbreak, I might never become so close to the girl I was to date for four and a half years, nearly marry, and eventually be betrayed by as well. If I had not met Rachel, Chandler and I probably wouldn't have become such close friends and I would've never met my currently wife (also named Rachel.) It's hard not to look at these things and wonder about fate and chance. Maybe that is the true reason I get depressed around December. It's not the cold. I love the cold. It is invigorating. But maybe I'm simply chained to memories. Firsts can be highly definitive.
It's easy to see why they're a good thing though. Without them, this picture of my wife and I would never exist. The girl who broke my heart back then is happily married with a child and another on the way--or she already had the baby. As for my ex-fiance--I'll not speak about that more than necessary.