When I was sixteen, love
within pain. It was the knowledge of something
so real, and so big, a little too early, before love even knew
how to react to a girl who felt so deeply. So instead, love was
“You’re ugly” and “I’d never date
someone like you.” Love was “You have fat
thighs” and years of verbal abuse. Yet love was something I
still felt through the torment, it was an immature heart playing
with my own, and years later even an apology wouldn’t scrub
away the confusion of its game. Love was hurt.
When I was nineteen, love was a boy with too many options. Love
was cancelled plans, and one sided effort. Love was convenience
and a different bed in every city. Love was apathy, until the
options went away. Then love was an abundance of determination, a
sudden knowledge of how valuable my heart was. Love was
“Now that I don’t have anything else going on, I can
commit to you.” Love was “Now that you are growing
into your own, now that you have attention, I am finally ready to
claim you before anyone else does.” Love was selfish. Love
was too little too late.
When I was twenty-three, love was a spontaneous unknown; a need
to believe in two people beating the odds. Love was
contradiction. It was turbulence and nights under New York City.
It was “I miss you, but I don’t have the time to call
you right now.” It was “I can’t wait to see
you, but until then I’ll fill my time with other
prospects.” It was “You are the woman who inspires
me, who makes me want to be a better man, but I am not going to
fight for this.” It was “You are everything to me,
but I am busy.” Love was always busy.
And then, when I was twenty-four, love finally introduced itself
to me. It said “I am sorry for what you have been through,
but you needed to experience everything I was not, in order to
appreciate everything that I truly am.”
Suddenly, love was mornings spent laughing until I cried. It was
having someone make time for me. Love was airport gates, until it
turned into “I am moving across the country to be with
you.” Love was “After work I’m driving for two
hours just to fall asleep in your arms” and “I want
to give you everything you deserve; I want to show you just how
much someone can adore you.” Love was whole. It was
assured, it existed within certainty and ruthless declaration. It
wasn’t built on the foundation of empty promises, it
wasn’t bred from pain, or confusion, or apathy. Love was
bred from choice. From maturity, from presence. Love was suddenly
more beautiful than I had ever imagined, something that blew
every old feeling and past name away in the path it was forging.
Love was peace.
After all of those years, love was finally peace.
Love was finally real.