They first teach us to love what we know most. The sound of a familiar word through our tongue. The smell of a familiar scent luring us with our noses. The name of a familiar person our hearts have always beaten for.
They teach us about the basics. The rules. This is who you’ll love — the only one you’ll love—and his name will be the only one you’ll call out to. His eyes will be the only one you’ll stare at. His scent will be the only one you’ll smell.
You love him.
You know him.
They then teach us to hate what feels new to our eyes, our noses, our ears, our hearts. The unfamiliar sound of a word we can’t pronounce. The alien smell of a scent we can’t break down. The incoherent name of someone new, trying to replace the familiarity of the before.
They teach us the ugly side of it. The apparent truth. The worst that can happen. The hands that will break us apart if we try to come close. The hearts that will break if we try to love.
You cannot love him.
You do not know him.
But what they never taught us — and will never teach us — is the unfamiliar calling of someone new, how it’s not a bad thing if you give it a chance. They will never teach us the foreign click and clack of an unfamiliar sound, how it’s something you can look forward to.
They will never teach us that the incoherent sound of someone new — rolling our tongues to a name our hearts have yet to beat for, opening our arms to embrace the warmth our bodies have yet to get used to, crashing our lips to taste the lips ours have yet to be familiar with — can do more good things than bad.
They will never teach us the good thing about something — or someone — being new to our lives. They will never teach us to open up our ears, our eyes, our tongues, and our hearts to something new.
To someone new.
They will never teach us that the old ones sometimes aren’t enough. They will never teach us that in order to grow, to be happy, to genuinely love, we cannot settle for a familiar love. They will never teach us that the old ones can only continue to hurt us if we don’t let them go.
They will never teach us that in order to truly love, sometimes, we have to let go.