It was the kind of passion that only comes with youth, with inexperience. It’s associated, probably with the unfamiliarity of the thing, the newness of the feelings. You start to believe no one before you or after you have ever had what you have found with this man. You genuinely think it is the greatest love of all.
When it hurts, it hurts because it’s real. When it breaks your heart, it’s because it’s passionate. When your smarter friends give you advice, you don’t listen because they wouldn’t understand. Anyway, you are the kind of girl who follows your heart. You go for it and you do it even if it doesn’t make sense because it feels right. As far as you are concerned, there is no other way to live.
But nothing is better at showing you how little you know than age.
You are 21, he is 11 years your senior. He is married. You know it. You were raised to know right from wrong, but you are cocky enough to believe you can handle whatever he came with. You let him talk, because there was no way he could trick you into falling for anything he said. He did.
But when you are 21 and you believe you are in love; worse, you believe you are loved, you become adept at ignoring reality. In fact, you find a way to make it not so troubling that your conversations actually have a curfew. Instead, you are overwhelmed by how much you talk to each throughout the day. When he admits that he had sex with his wife last night, you ignore the wrench twisting in your gut and you are just happy he respects you enough to be honest.
You think it is because you are a rational person that you haven’t asked him for any loyalty and have made no demands. You believe you are mature enough to know that he should prioritise his wife and children’s needs over yours and you would demand nothing that contradicts that.
For the most part, this works. It’s a whirlwind of emotions and excitement, because you have found someone you can bare your soul to. He is there as much as he can possibly be, he listens, he gives advice, and you believe he knows you inside out, because you have given him so much of who you are. It works so well, nothing keeps you apart from him. And you know you will never experience a love like this again. In fact, it feels so real, you don’t doubt anymore that it is right.
There is no guilt when you arrange the rare overnight rendezvous. There is no guilt when you help create scenarios for him to get away from home.
There is just him. And you are certain beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is no way for you to exist in this world without him.
At 21, 22, 23, it’s the same; only more consuming. This is your best friend. And it means everything in the world to you that she doesn’t know him like you do.
When you are sitting in a doctor’s office about to have an abortion, it is the first time in three years that reality ever truly hit your shoulders. The weight of it threatens to break you. Not even when he had told you seven months earlier that his wife was pregnant, had it truly settled on you.
But now as you wait to give up your child for theirs, with him right by your side, you feel the all-encompassing force of the love you held for him, slowly metastasize into hate. In that long, smoke-filled wait to have the cells that you imagine would have been your little girl suctioned from your body; you believe that you have found strength enough to free you from this blinding adoration you have been lugging around.
Yet, in time, not even that is enough. And eventually you come to understand that what kept your head in the sand all these years, was that sliver of hope that you would at some point be his choice. This one truth, which you had denied to yourself for all this time. You are smart, you know the statistics and you were sure you had no expectations.
But you do. And even when it is more unlikely than it has ever been, you want more than anything for the years already devoted to count for something.
And because you are a stupid, hopeful, lovesick young thing, it takes you forever to realize this will never happen, and even longer to learn that it was never meant to.