Usually it's easy to forget, but Christmas at home always bring back memories because he was not only my first love, but also the only boy (or rather man) I ever brought home to meet the parents - to spend Christmas with us.
I'd gone all the way to England for school and uni only to meet a boy from down the road. His parents and my parents move in sort of the same circles, though they're not close. They may both be from old money, but his family live a simple rural idyll while mine tend to be extravagant and live it up (yes, apples and trees, I know already!) Clearly there was still enough solidarity between the families for eyebrows to be raised when I brought him home, though.
Let's just say that by the age of 23 Sébastien had already racked up enough of a reputation to warrant his parents uninviting him from Christmas dinner. He drove a motorcycle, drank too much, partied too hard, had his first tattoo. I still have a thing for tattoos and motorcycles.
But that wasn't why his parents all but disinherited him. What upset them most was that Bastien dropped out of university, stopped his music studies, and decided to live instead off the trust fund he'd just come into.
My parents, needless to say, were not particularly happy either.
He was the boyfriend who shared my twenty first birthday and we spent one magical summer together in Paris, living in a tiny apartment, screwing like rabbits and generally believing that the world began and ended with us. But the relationship didn't survive the following spring, and so we went our separate ways. He stayed in Paris. I returned to England. Devastated.
I'd had boyfriends before and I've had boyfriends since, but Sébastien was the only man I've ever lived with. The only man I've ever truly, madly, deeply fallen in love with.
It was inevitable we'd burn out, I guess, and probably for the best, but it's days like these, snowed in with my family with too much time to think and not enough to do, that I remember.
I heard through the neighbourhood grapevine that he's not so much of a party animal these days. He's reconciled with his family, and apparently he's even married with a kid on the way. I'm not jealous of her. Really, I'm not.
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