First Loves & Pretty Relics

Picture of the author at eighteen looking off camera for First Loves and Pretty Relics post by Malin James

Me at 18, looking at my best friend’s boyfriend.

I’m turning 38 this week. I’ve been looking forward to 38 since I was 18, which is when that picture was taken.

From my 18-year-old vantage point, 38 seemed like the age of a happy medium – old enough to have gotten a little bit wiser, but young enough to still be young(ish).

18-year-old me never fully believed that 38 would happen. Now that it has (barring unforeseen disaster), it’s hard not to look back.  Eighteen-year-old me feels more like a little sister than my younger self. But she is me, no matter how much distance I might like to put between us. That’s why I remember this….


I loved watching you with your too-long limbs and crooked, dimpled smile. I loved watching you too much. You were beautiful and flawed – more flawed than I knew. Nearly as flawed as I was. I wonder if that’s changed….

You had a girlfriend, my very best friend, but I wanted you anyway. I wanted you knowing it was probably wrong but feeling, deep in my heart, that I had a right, as if part of you was mine. I thought of you as I lay in bed, staking claims I didn’t have, feeling all of the everythings that felt so good. I’d stare, blind-eyed, at the ceiling and see your body over mine. That’s when I would come.

I hadn’t seen you naked yet, hadn’t felt our crash and grind. Your heart hadn’t been broken. Our attraction was plump and full. There had been no accidental kissing in your car…accidentally for three hours. We hadn’t made out on your parents’ couch. We hadn’t peeled back our layers til we were raw and tender, drunk on the risk of it.

I didn’t know those wishes would ever come true; that they would leave me thin and wrecked. I didn’t know that we would fuck for years but never, ever date. Except once. Maybee…it might not have been a date. I looked at you and saw laughter and road trips, kids and a cozy life. I couldn’t see our first and only (maybe) date.

You gave me tea and conversation after filthy fucking things. You showed me porn and I loved it; made me love how wet I’d get. Every straining bit of the girl I was – the hungry parts, the horny parts, the rapacious, joyful, sexual parts – found their place with you. We lied and lied and I didn’t care. I could be myself with you.

That was the hook – how I felt with you – even after we got mean. You started going to confession. You’d whisper no, this has to stop… just one more time. Just one more time. Months passed. Just one more time. You’d call and I’d answer from habit, the habit of wanting you. Poor, silly thing. It took me seven years to eat my heart. When I’d finished, we were done.

I remember how his hands shook the first time we kissed, and how well he filled my so-wet cunt. If I try, I can almost feel it…almost but not quite. My eighteen-year-old heart would’ve broken to know that, but my heart is calmer now. My eighteen-year-old self is a pretty relic. I like who I am now…and I’m curious to find out what I’ll be like at 58.


    1. Thank you so much. I often wish I could talk to my future self too – I suspect I always will. For what it’s worth, you are handling something incredibly hard with so much grace.

  1. You are very pretty! Striking, really! Ahhhh…. young filthy 18 year old fucking! Although my 40’s sex I would rate as the best. May just be the way my partner and I grew. So just think, As good as it is at 38, in 10 years you may still be amazed, it can continue to get better. We can never go back to are young and our younger selves would probably not take our older advice anyway….

    1. Thank you! I am indeed looking forward to what the next 10 (and 20) years bring! As for my younger self, I can guarantee that anything I could say would go on one ear and out the other… 🙂

  2. The yearning intensity of 18 seems filled with need. I never realised at the time, but that hunger is different from the one that develops two decades later. They are both filled with passion. Happy birthday, beautiful and loved lady. Xxxxxxxxxxx

  3. I enjoyed 18, even though I was still a virgin then. But 38 was HOT. I knew so much more and cared so much less about things and people who pissed me off. I even gave up smoking at 38, so a good year. I hope it will be good for you too. Happy birthday, Malin.

  4. I’m weeks behind on commenting on this, Malin, but I loved this one so much. You then, you now—absolutely beautiful, even the yearning, achy bits. Love you and your words!! XX

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