“I find so much peace in knowing that love still lives in unlived loves silently.”
Later, with age, wisdom and hindsight, to be recognised as an innocent infatuation. Naive, all-consuming, confusing. Walking school corridor routes that I’d carefully calculated were most likely to cross his path; looking for the back of his black-haired head in morning assembly; casually hanging out near the football pitch during breaks between classes. That kick of butterflies any time we were messing around and our skin came anywhere near brushing; walking A to B together via the longest route that it was possible to feasibly give an excuse for; trips bowling and to the cinema and hour-long phonecalls about everything and nothing. Most of all, what sticks with me is that memory of the intense, never-fulfilled craving for another person; a perpetual frustration of youth, innocence and inexperience.
Real love. Love beyond the description of words. Love that changes you and the way you experience the world. Two years of adventures and memories. Of kisses and cwtshes and flesh-on-flesh. Getting to know bodies and what it meant to live for someone else. Forgetting who I was without the other half of me. Falling deeply without realising or maybe caring. Pure joy. Pure sorrow. All the pain that comes with learning how to love another person right. The desperation to keep it going, not yet knowing that life would carry on without it. Feeling my heart break under the weight of the end of it. The healing time; the gut-wrenching sickness of loss. Slow and tormenting; patiently enduring the process. Forcing myself to look forward until I woke up one day and I could breathe easy and start all over again.
The idea of love.
A love that didn’t last, and so lasted too long. Jumping into love without looking where I was going. Feeling love on the surface but feeling lost in the depths. Still lacking the assertion or courage to call it quits. Letting the fleeting love fade, only to be replaced with bitterness. Learning to let a love go when the love isn’t there.
The love that couldn’t work.
A love which made promises, but couldn’t deliver. A love that peaked too soon and couldn’t keep up with itself. A love with no bad intentions but no determination to be better. An unequal love, one side of which greedily consumed the other. Learning that no love is worth losing yourself for.
Love made of dreams.
A short-lived love offered to me in a foreign world, where every one of my senses was already overwhelmed. A love rejected by my rational self, unsure whether it was love for a person or love for a place. Or that person in that place, and the world of magic that surrounded it. An idea of love, lost. A hypothetical love, built from tangible moments. Memories of paradise, collected. A love I had to leave but didn’t get to say goodbye to.
The love that remains. Deep love; someone you love beyond lust. Things making sense in each others’ company. Love that might be hidden, or temporarily forgotten, but is always there ready to be realised. A lifetime of love, only maybe lived.