Sometimes love looks so easy. You find someone you can’t live without, and so you don’t. End of story, that’s all they wrote of the great love stories of this world. You find the one you love, and you stay.
If love were simple then maybe that would be true, but what great love has ever worked out that way? Maybe some have. For most though, the story is much longer than that. Everyone alive knows the story of Romeo and Juliet. Every great love story we’ve ever heard has been a tumultuous test of strength.
Sandra Cisneros writes, “Okay, we didn’t work, and all memories to tell you the truth aren’t good. But sometimes there were good times. Love was good. I loved your crooked sleep beside me and never dreamed afraid. There should be stars for great wars like ours.”
There should be stars for great wars like ours, are the words that echo in our throats as we stare back at the most loving and painful parts of our lives. Love is not so easy. Love, so often, is fighting for your life.
We should write a song about war, we said as we lived side by side one day. We should write a song about love.
Great loves and great wars; there’s not always much of a difference. Does a great love fight wars, or is love the war? Maybe they are one and the same. When you meet your future opponent, you don’t imagine the battle. You imagine the care and the love and the joy. The screaming and frustration doesn’t even cross your mind. Why would it? Love is supposed to be patient and kind, and it is sometimes. Wars do not rage on all day and all night. Love is a beautiful, mature, forever thing, they say. Love is not a fight, they say, but it is. Oh my goodness, it is.
We never said the song should be about us; I suppose that’s what we meant.
The details of love and war are never clear. We charge at each other, hearts drawn, our battle cries whispers in each other’s ears. Mine sound like stay, and yours sound like silence, soldiers already fallen. You told me to trust you with my heart, and so I did. You didn’t take care of it. You left it out in the rain. You dropped it. You let it get beat up. And worst of all, you forgot about it. You forgot that you had my heart. Give me your heart, you said, and I was worried but you told me have no fear. You’d take good care of it. And you didn’t. Shame on you, beloved dear. Shame on you.
A war would suggest there are winners and losers, but that’s not always what war is about. There should not be a prize for a broken heart. I suppose you get to keep the pieces, the souvenirs of war. Should love be a war? Whether it should be or not, love is a war. Love is fighting for something that you so fiercely believe in. Love is knowing you are putting yourself in harms way for something that you know in your heart is worth it. Love is knowing you might get hurt, but doing it anyway and never looking back. Love is knowing there are never really winning and losing sides – there are causalities and there are compromises. I’m sure what you have with her could be something too. I don’t doubt that. But our something? Our something would rival all of the great something’s of history. Our something reflects off of the swords used to fight every Great War ever fought. Our something is a great war, of our minds and of our hearts. This is our war, and it hasn’t been won yet. We have some fighting left to do.
Sometimes you’re standing on the battlefield alone. Sometimes love surrenders.
When wars are raging it’s hard to figure out what each side actually wants. All we wanted was each other. All I wanted was you. War has a way making everything seem all over the place. War keeps things from making too much sense. Wars make you think you want to conquer, when really, all you want is to be understood.
Only heroes make it to the stars they say, but what’s more unforgettable than that face you made when your sword finally fell. There should be stars for great wars like ours.
We don’t shed tears over things that don’t matter. We don’t fight wars for things that aren’t important. Whether we’re young or immature or emotional or insane. Love still knows what it’s doing. Love is smarter than we are.
There are no stars for our Great War. There isn’t even a song. There’s a song that was never written. There are constellations waiting for their cue to form. There are blankets and sheets strewn about. There on stains, on the sheets on and our hearts. Some great wars leave stars.
Ours left stained hearts.
Those constellations can still form. They are still waiting. They will wait.
Some say that love should not be a war. Some say that love should be patient, kind. Easy. Some love without a fight. Some love without a passion – but that’s not how songs are written. That’s not how stories are told. We love as a way to start wars, and we love as a way to end them. Our story had conflict, as all the best ones do. Our story had triumph. Our story might have an end, but that’s the great thing about stories. You never really know if they’re over or not.
I’d need you by my side to write our war into a song. Instead I’ll write it into words. I’ll write it into a whisper and blow that whisper into the hearts of people walking by. I’ll write our war onto the hearts of strangers so that it will never be forgotten. Some wars land in history books. Some land among the stars. Ours landed on hearts, and I think that’s exactly where our war belongs. You said you want to be remembered, and now we’re in the history books of love. A heart always remembers. I can feel the battle scar pulsing in my chest.
It used to mean everything, and now it’s just a fantastic piece of literature, kept inside a heart.