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First Love

by Paula Nilsson

I remember the way your arms wrapped 
around the the small of my back and 
pulled me close
That look in your eyes telling me how you loved me so
and later
singing our favorite song 
very loud 
in your convertible on PCH
I didn't do a lot of studying that semester
but I sure did learn a thing or two about 
and joy 
and love
I look back on those times of 
flip flops 
and t-shirts 
and ripped jeans
I look back on those times of waiting tables 
and drinking red wine 
and laughing with you at three in the morning
standing naked in your kitchen eating your roommate's leftover pizza
and I remember a time in my life when I was 
and carefree 
and beautiful
a time when I would ride to the beach 
and appreciate the bright blue sky 
and stop for ice-cream
A time when you and I were content with a Saturday morning drip coffee 
and sharing a paper
A time that was less complicated 
that didn't include
and Zofran schedules
and Biotine mouthwash
remind me of what it was like to not have 
with your blue eyes 
strong loving hands about my waist
wearing your heart on your sleeve
wearing your heart on every piece of clothing you own
And when at the end of myself 
no one applauds
will always remind me 
of that place where I could be 
full of 
full of 
full of 
for the future
my friend
my love

Paula Nilsson, 37, lives in Alameda California with her husband and two children. In the midst of planning birthday parties, high school reunions and summer vacations with her family and friends, she was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. Currently, she is happy, healthy and feeling stronger every day. She attributes her survival (and sanity) to the remarkable women of BAYS or Bay Area Young Survivors, who inspire her daily to keep on keeping on...and so she does.