The first boy who caught my attention played varsity basketball. Cedric maneuvered through the other players in lighting speed and successfully performed a layup. I cheered even though he was from the opposing school. I had no choice. His footwork was on-point. 

The first boy I thought about constantly wore big billowy shirts. Mark told me that his mom liked his school uniform loose because he was 14. “Clothes didn’t need to be form-fitting when you’re 14.” I often daydreamt about the time when we were in line at our school fair. A strong gust of wind blew his shirt in different directions and I caught a glimpse of his smooth flat belly. I’d draw this image in the corners of my notebooks.

The first boy I desired with my body was the class clown. Ramon was a physical comedian and one of his acts was to swirl his fist around his crotch then give high fives. Sometimes, he’d stand behind me, put his arm around my waist and rock back and forth. I’d moan for comedy’s sake. We were a hit. Our religion teacher told us that our actions brought us closer to God. I second-guessed the credibility of such a statement. The way my body responded to Ramon said otherwise. 

The first boy I kissed sang for the school choir. John was a baritone and I a tenor. We practiced show-tunes and mass songs for 2 hours every day after school. I got lost in the way he got lost while singing – as if he was in a field with no one in sight. I kissed him after practice, one afternoon, while we waited for our parents to pick us up. He didn’t resist. We continued until he found a girlfriend. Besides his good rolling vibrato, I could attest for his talented tongue. 

The first boy I casually dated was 36. Allen was almost twice my age at the time. We met through a dating app and he sent me pictures I couldn’t save on my phone, which my parents still paid for. He asked me what my college major was and I asked him if anyone knew about him being gay.  

We met at a fancy Italian restaurant in a neighborhood I knew existed but had never been to. I told him he could order for us. He explained the difference between Shiraz and Pinot Noir. This was the second time I consumed copious amounts of alcohol. 

He asked me if I wanted to go back to his place. I told him “maybe another time” so he dropped me off a few blocks away from my house. In bed, while I browsed through my news feed, he texted “I had a great time. Are you free for a movie next weekend?”

The first boy I seriously dated was obsessed with sushi. Alistair and his dad joined a food tour in Tokyo where he was introduced to the technique of several sushi chefs by a translator. So, when he returned home, he took me to sushi joints dubbed “the best” and “most authentic” by food blogs and magazines. 

He admired how much care the chefs put into the selection of each piece of fish. How precise each slice of the knife was to get a smooth cut of tuna. Instead of using chopsticks, he ate the morsels with his hands, dunking the package of seafood, wasabi and rice in dark soy sauce then into his mouth. 

I liked to imagine that when he tossed me in bed, removed my clothes and had his way with me, every position was carefully selected. Every thrust was precise. Afterward, in his arms, I thought “this is nice” and imagined our future together.

The first boy I fell in love with loves dogs but couldn’t have one. His building had a strict no dog policy. He proposed that every weekend we spend in the park so he could throw chew toys for my beagle Molly to chase after. Molly likes Jack too and would stand on her two hind legs while balancing her two front paws on his knees whenever she sees him.

On my birthday, Jack cooked us dinner. Pan-fried rib-eye for me and a steak of dog-friendly meat for Molly. Jack was no chef. We both knew that he spent weeks perfecting our meal so we told him “dinner was lovely” and “thank you.” 

He brought out a small velvet box and I got nervous. I gulped.  Inside it was a key. “Move in with me?” Jack began to sweat. He found a slightly bigger apartment that welcomed pets.  Molly’s tail was wagging in excitement. I said “sure.”

I moved out of the apartment my parents were helping me pay for and into ours. We spent the next few days moving and rearranging furniture as suggested by experts on YouTube to have good Feng Shui. Exhausted, we slumped down on the couch. Jack, me and Molly.

He turned his head and cupped my chin with his hand and said “I love you” for the first time. I replied “Molly loves you too” and lifted her paw up in agreement. I was 23 and didn’t know how to reply to such a declaration. 

Molly, Jack and I continue to live in our apartment. Every weekend, we still go to the park and play fetch.