In a satirical play by George Bernard Shaw, one character tells another: "First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity." Not many might agree, at least not until a break-up. What happens later, is the theme of a short story I read ages ago. Be warned that I remember neither its title nor author, only the ending.
In a village in France in early 1900, a boy falls in love with a girl. They walk hand in hand, whispering sweet nothings and discovering each other. Alas, good things seldom last long. Overnight, the girl's family migrates to a distant city. Though the lovers struggle to stay in touch, the snail mail of those days lets them down.
Years pass. One day unexpectedly, the boy now a middle-aged man reaches the city. As he waits to cross the street, a car slows to a halt just ahead and a woman alights. Her face leaves him transfixed. Fond memories of the time they shared come flooding in. He craves to call out to her, but by then she enters a shop. After moments of hesitation, a plan forms in his mind.
From the florist outside the shop, he buys some red roses, walks over to her car, and quietly leaves them on the rear seat. He then steps behind a nearby lamp post to watch her response. Minutes later, she comes out. The first thing she does on boarding the car, is to make space for her purchases. And without even a glance, she flings the flowers out. Soon a bus runs over them.
Crestfallen at seeing the symbol of love crushed beyond recognition, he stands unaware of what Benjamin Disraeli said:
"The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end."
- Benjamin Disraeli