Author's note: Based on a true story.
March of 2012I typed the letters into the search box and pressed enter. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach as the page loaded. I wiped my sweaty hands off on my pants.
Would it work? Would I find it? What if it’s not there? Questions filled my head, making it feel light and dizzy.
Suddenly, the results appeared. Fifteen people with the name of Joshua Reed. One with a mutual friend. Hardly breathing, I clicked on the name. I was transported to another page. I shut my eyes tight, hoping with all of my heart that it would happen just the way I had pictured it. Then I opened my eyes.
My heart stopped.
No. That was my first thought. No. That can’t be him. My Josh, the Josh I knew did not look like that. At all. This boy was tall, and he had a buzz cut.
I leaned back in my chair. I looked down. I leaned forward. I looked up.
But it was. I saw the resemblance. His freckles, his big, brown eyes. But he just looked so different.
What happened to his dark, wavy blond hair? Where was that solemn look that had always made him look older than he really was? Who was this stranger he had become?
I stared at the photo. Josh was holding a little girl and laughing. Laughing. Never in my life had I seen Joshua Reed laugh.
I noticed his info. It said, “works at Patrick and Sons Plumbing”. That was it. No school, no state, no age. I studied the picture, leaning in to get a better perspective.
I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t him, but deep down, I knew. I would recognize those eyes anywhere. Huge eyes, like a deer caught in a headlight. Brown eyes, with little flecks of bronze and gold. Eyes that made me notice him three years ago.
Sighing in confusion, I leaned down and rested my head on the desk. It was true. So true. What everyone said, what I’d heard so many times.
You never forget your first love.