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  • Writer's pictureKaya Long

First Love Series Pt. 5: The Lion and the Cheetah

February 14th has officially come and gone. Wilting flowers and cutesy photos are all that remain–-and the love of course. As a final farewell to Valentine’s day, I sat down with another Parker faculty member this past week to ask them the question: “Who was your first love and why did you love them?”

Let’s call this faculty member The Lion. The Lion considers himself to have been more of a “slow bloomer.” He never had a serious girlfriend in high school, so when he got to college he was certainly ready to test the uncharted waters of dating. Luckily for him, The Lion attended a college where there were three times as many women as men, which meant the odds were greatly in his favor.

The Lion first fell in love when he was a freshman in college. He fell in love with a girl that we’ll call The Cheetah. The Cheetah was the first of the three women that The Lion has ever loved. “How we got together was very romantic,” said The Lion. It felt like a movie–from the moment they met, to when they fell in love. “I thought, if that can happen to me then maybe the world is not such a bad place after all,” said The Lion.

The first time The Lion saw The Cheetah he was in his friend’s dorm room. She walked in “full of energy and enthusiasm” and he was immediately attracted to her. After she left, The Lion immediately turned to his friend and asked “Who was that?” All The Lion could say was “Wow.” It turned out that that’s what most people said after meeting The Cheetah for the first time.

The Lion shared a photo with me of The Cheetah at the time that he fell in love with her. The women that walked through the door evidently radiated confidence, independence, and fearlessness. She was one of the many “uppity women,” uppity meaning strong, intelligent, and forceful, that his college specialized in, said The Lion. He described her as a “cheetah.”

Shortly before Winter break, The Lion and The Cheetah were at a party together. “We were just dancing and sort of fell into each other’s arms,” said The Lion. This is the kind of thing that happened in the 80s apparently. After, the two were together for a short time that was “pretty intense.” The Cheetah showed The Lion around the city and the two had a lot of fun together. That is, until she dumped him. 

“I think I was probably too clingy and too needy,” said The Lion. After all, it was only his first real relationship. The Cheetah didn’t seem to want that kind of commitment at that point in her life. They were 18 years old. “We were just kids,” said The Lion.

Even so, to this day The Lion and The Cheetah are still very close friends. They have both visited each other several times. Truthfully, The Lion doesn’t have much to say about The Cheetah from the time that they were together. She was the first woman he ever loved–-the first woman he gave his heart to–-but the short time they were together was largely driven by intense attraction above all else. “We’ve since, over the ensuing 40 years, gotten to know each other as actual humans,” said The Lion.

In the years since they dated, The Cheetah has had various jobs that are indicative of why The Lion fell in love with her. On one of her many endeavors, she traveled to the Amazon rainforest to document how the hydroelectric dams were displacing native peoples. To gather intel, she pretended to be researching hydroelectric dams so the people at the facilities would take her on tours. Her beauty was certainly an asset in this regard. When The Cheetah asked for a tour, her request was swiftly granted. Little did they know, she was actually doing an investigative report to expose the detrimental effects of these facilities.

When these facilities discovered what The Cheetah was up to, she had to flee Brazil. She was worried for her safety. So she wouldn’t have her evidence on her, she mailed a package of tapes and photographs home to herself. They never arrived. All her intel was intercepted. Based on that experience she wrote a book exposing her findings.

Later on, she had a job where she captained a small boat where she would patrol the waters of Puget Sound. If she saw an industrial company in violation of any waste management safety regulations, she had the jurisdiction to pull up to their boats and serve them with legal documents. She was essentially “an environmental cop on a boat,” said The Lion. To this day The Cheetah is still an active environmentalist.

“I loved her. I love her. I love her still,” said The Lion. The Lion still loves all the women he’s ever loved. I asked him if he thought it was possible to move on from someone without falling out of love with them. “Falling out of love? I don’t even know what that means,” said The Lion. He thinks that how you love someone and the quality of that love can change, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t love them.

On that note, have a lovely loving year everyone! 

If you enjoy this series, check out the most recent installation, ”First Love Pt 4: Happily Whole,” to discover the many lessons that can be taken away from the love lost, and the love that has lingered. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for next year!

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