Where Does Love Go When It Dies?

There was a friend you saw every day when you were little. They were the friend with whom you built forts, told scary stories (trying not to fall asleep first), and ran around in the neighborhood until you had to come in for dinner. (Five more minutes, mom, please?) All of the most thrilling, scary, confusing parts of growing up and navigating a world three sizes too big for you seemed manageable with them, almost an adventure. Catching fireflies and wiggling around in sleeping bags, setting up a tent in your backyard, seemed like the stuff of a dangerous safari. You were sure you could catch a lion together, if only provided the proper equipment.

But things happened. You moved away, or they did, or seeing each other just got too hard. Even a simple change of school can do it. Before you know it, you’re an actual adult, and the person who knew you best for such an enormous part of your life — the only person with whom you share such an extraordinary quantity of childhood memories — is gone. You remember the first few months after you two were separated. You recreated all the little things you used to do together, spending hours up in the tree fort by yourself, hoping that you’d be enough to make the magic again. And one day you realize that there was just a certain kind of magic that existed between the two of you, at that time, in that small neighborhood, with those fireflies. It’s not that you’re not enough; it’s just gone.

_____

There was the person who taught you how to love. The person with whom you felt more alive and real and full than you ever imagined possible, who seemed to love even the dark, ugly corners of yourself you were constantly trying to squirrel away. They licked your wounds and told you that you were beautiful. They took you on adventures that didn’t even require you leaving your house. Between the bedroom, the kitchen, and the plush, perfect couch, you existed in a kind of seclusion from everything else in the world. You didn’t need anyone else. You lost entire days kissing, talking, laughing in the car holding hands over the stick shift. You remember the things they showed you, things you were certain that no other human had ever been privy to, things that seemed too beautiful to look at directly. With them, you were some kind of royalty, protected from the ugliness of the world outside.

But things happened. And one night, you found yourselves at the rough, tattered end of a conversation that spanned several hours and had clearly been overdue for weeks. You had both said things that stung, that made you question whether or not this was all some sort of mirage, that you could have imagined such a beautiful interlude out of such a crippling need to feel loved in some way. You can feel the tears welling up and burning the corners of your eyes, but had promised yourself a thousand times before arriving that, no, you would not cry tonight. But you do cry. And they cry. And you hold each other and cry. But in the morning, it’s still over. It’s gone.

_____

There was the friend with whom you came of age. Learning how to kiss, how to sneak a beer, how to run away quickly if you heard an authority figure coming — they made the education seem easy, even comfortable, learning everything by your side. You swapped tips, you grew, you started to figure out life in a way that adulthood would eventually demand. You started to understand what it meant to save money, to make hard choices, to worry about your future. Without realizing you were doing it, the two of you held hands and waved goodbye to the childhood that was clearly fading into your past. Though the future was scary, unclear, and full of all the tedium you knew would wear on your spirit; knowing that someone just like you was taking the step as well made it alright. “Everything is gonna change,” you would whisper at night, staring up at the stars, passing a single bottle between the two of you. “I know,” they would reply. And you knew, just knew, that it would always be the two of you seeing the change together.

But things happened. You had failed to account for the changes that would literally pull you in different directions, that would make you a sort of new person, that would leave one or the other longing to forget about their wild days before adulthood and everything that came with it. From distance, emotional or geographic, the rate at which you come together to share everything dwindles to nothingness. Eventually, it’s been too long to just call them back. Things have become strange, and there’s a certain metallic taste in your mouth when you think of the memories that have nearly evaporated into thin air behind you.

_____

Where do these people go? What do they do? Is there some kind of colony in which they all live together, holding hands and thinking of the time they spent with you? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. People are whole entities with their own struggles and histories and reasons for not calling back, and they can’t spend the rest of their lives thinking about how great it was when you two were together. But it was great, wasn’t it? And the idea that they can go a whole lifetime without ever looking back and feeling that aching, sinking feeling in their stomach, that crippling nostalgia — it’s almost worse than the ending itself. The separation is so much more bearable when you know that you both look back fondly, and would always want to meet for a coffee, should the occasion arise.

Just because you two are no longer the comic book duo that you once were doesn’t mean that you don’t want to see a Christmas card from their new family, or hear about their big move, or find out whatever became of their incredible talent for drawing. This isn’t about a broken heart. A broken heart implies a kind of shattering, a searching the hardwood floor for pieces that might have gotten lost under the couch. Yours isn’t broken, it’s long-since been patched together and, despite the occasional stutter, functions quite well. This is about a heart that aches with memories too big for its fragile little form, that is bursting on all sides from love that longs to be accepted, to at least be vocalized. This is a heart that dies a slow, quiet death from this awful need we have to pretend as though something never existed the second that it is over.

And where does this love go? Because it’s impossible to believe that it simply ceases to be a part of our universe, that it falls into some pinprick-sized black hole and no longer floats amongst us, making the world brighter for its once having existed. Things are better because you caught fireflies in your back yard, because you kissed under a blanket with your hands on their chest, because you drove around in circles in your parents’ car, blasting music. This love must still exist somewhere, transmuting into more love and better love and love for people who haven’t yet felt it. It must be there, because you still remember it.

Maybe we just need to hear that they do, too. TC mark

image – Bahman Farzad

Chelsea Fagan

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

Read Here

More From Thought Catalog

  • http://airrocksea.wordpress.com joanabagano

    People are whole entities with their own struggles and histories and reasons for not calling back, and they can’t spend the rest of their lives thinking about how great it was when you two were together.

    SPOT ON.

  • http://twitter.com/Amphx AnnamariaPhilippeaux (@Amphx)

    “This love must still exist somewhere, transmuting into more love and better love and love for people who haven’t yet felt it. It must be there, because you still remember it.”

    That made me feel really hopeful, actually. I’m one of those people who hasn’t felt it yet and I still work really hard to try and convince myself that one day I will, even if it feels like that day will never come.

    • JL

      Dido

  • http://www.lookalittlecloser.com/blog kkullmerim

    this is beautiful and made me tear up.

  • http://www.itmakesmestronger.com/2012/07/where-does-love-go-when-it-dies-2/ Only L<3Ve @ ItMakesMeStronger.com

    […] Thought Catalog » Love & Sex Add a comment […]

  • Ice

    Best cry in months. Well-written. Thank you for this Chelsea Fagan :)

  • http://mendacities.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/there-was-the/ “There was the… « mendacities

    […] Chelsea Fagan, Thought Catalog Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. loverelationshipsthought catalog […]

  • http://mendacities.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/where-does-the-love-go-when-it-dies/ Where does the love go when it dies? « mendacities

    […] Chelsea Fagan, Thought Catalog Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. loverelationshipsthought catalog […]

  • Em

    Beautiful, especially the last paragraph.

  • sky0620

    best thought catalog article ive read in a long long time. very beautiful :)

  • liv

    It might’ve gotten a little cheesy at times, but god, so’s everything that I love in life. This article was perfect for where I’m at. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I know you probably hear that a lot, but I hope you still know what it means.

  • http://theperfectlymad.wordpress.com theperfectlymad

    Reblogged this on The Perfectly Mad and commented:
    I still feel it, faintly, here.

  • thisrocksmen

    Reblogged this on cheryl.

  • Kendall F

    I am currently in San Francisco with a person whom, up until two days ago, I thought was going to be my husband. We had plans.
    But two days ago he told me he didn’t love me anymore, and there’s no fixing that.

    I’ve trekked the rest of the tearful trip by myself.
    Here, on a boat to Angel Island, I read what my life has wound down to.

    Thank you, Chelsea.
    At least in reading this I don’t feel too alone.

  • http://twitter.com/StarJonestown Star Jonestown (@StarJonestown)

    WELL DONE. Very happy to read this and couldn’t agree more.

  • Sarah

    This one made me cry. One of your finest, Chelsea.

  • Ashley

    “Yours isn’t broken, it’s long-since been patched together and, despite the occasional stutter, functions quite well. This is about a heart that aches with memories too big for its fragile little form…”

    Amen, sister.
    Thank you, for finally putting into words what my own fragile little heart has been feeling.

  • eamiegee

    Written like a symphony. :)

  • eamiechan

    Reblogged this on Some Kinda Random.

  • http://msaprilo.wordpress.com April Oliphant

    Best article by far that I’ve read here. Each word hit so many emotions.

    Thank you.

  • Anice Barbosa

    Thank you for this! I feel that way as well and people say that I always hold on to pieces of my past, but that is not the case, I am nostalgic and can’t help but look back at things that made me happy! Very well written I’ve shared with my friends!!

  • http://alyannamiranda.wordpress.com yanastarrr

    Reblogged this on Dates & Letters and commented:
    I am at a lost for words. This piece captures that feeling of lost and longing to know where all the love went. This is a must-read to all! :)

  • aishvarya

    This is beautifully written. Thank you.

  • Emjae

    Clap, clap, clap. The emotions were just so real it hurts. The best I’ve ever read here. You never fail to deliver, Chelsea. Hands down.

  • michelle

    Oh my dear, thank you for expressing what I am feeling right now – and have been feeling for two friggin’ years. This is so beautiful and true. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=5740314 Far Ch

    This is just…good.

blog comments powered by Disqus