Young love. You’ve felt it yourself, seen it in the eyes of a friend, or heard about it in your favorite song. For me, it started on a summer night with the kind of air that young lovers need to breathe. It ended almost four years later, miles and miles from where it began. So I ask you, what happens when young love stops being innocent? I was 22. She was 19. She moved here for school and had gotten in with part of my social circle. Others saw crazy, spoiled, entitled.
All I saw was her red hair and a pair of brown eyes, the kind of which I had never seen. It was a perfect storm – the young man who wanted to love someone in a way no one ever had…and the young girl who needed so badly to know what that felt like. We were off. Romance; wide-eyed passion; road trips; knock-down-drag-out fights, permanent butterflies – those were just some of the things that made me feel as alive as I ever had.
But while we were both college students, we couldn’t have been on more different wavelengths. Sure, the endless conversation and electric touch helped keep that at bay. But deep down I knew we would start growing apart. A break-up after two years should have done it. She ended it, citing some of my shortcomings and her desire to live her own, un-shackled life. It didn’t last long. She needed me too much…way more than she wanted me.
And I wanted her so much that I didn’t care. But I should have cared. I should have let her go. After two more years, a desperate attempt to save us by moving back to her hometown, the death of one of her best friends, and the toughest, most draining year of my life, we had become shells of our former selves. We were just holding on to something that had long since passed us by. Our wavelengths couldn’t have skewed any farther apart, and we broke apart in a sea of disappointment and indifference.
And I had become someone I never, ever wanted to be. After the dust settled, I realized that it’s called ‘young’ love for a reason. It doesn’t always translate to an ‘adult’ world filled with responsibility, sacrifice or compromise. Sometimes it is just meant for those summer nights, the car rides, and those moments when love feels like the only thing that matters.