I always imagined Love to be this larger than life, all-encompassing, state of heightened romance. If Love were a person, I pictured her wearing French lace, brown worn boots, and having tight brunette curls cascading around her heart-shaped face. She would constantly be drawing people in. Her presence alone would be a gift to others. She would give the best advice like a second mom or sister. Her hugs would feel like medicine and her voice would be hoarse from singing all day. Love is complex; she’d recite poetry over coffee, and move through life like there was music was playing. She wouldn’t be perfect, and she wouldn’t try to be, either. Love would be okay just being her; as if she knew she knew that was enough. Love would live with a knowingness that she was wanted, and a sadness- wishing the world could better relate to her. Understand her quirks, her unique way of thinking, something. When love enters the room, people can’t help but stare. She’s endearing, speaks with her hands, has the perfect one-liners, and always savors the moment.
Nearly four years ago, I met Love for the second time. She wasn’t at all familiar- like I remembered. She was older, wiser, and more practical. Her hair was pulled back, showing her weathered, yet still soft, complexion. Love still danced when she walked, although it was more subtle. I noticed her feet would stumble when the beat quickened- a reminder to myself that time changes all of us. She no longer fancied the attention, the notoriety, or the stares when she entered the room. Instead, she enjoyed the intimacy of a one-on-one conversation and a good cup of tea. She told me everything she’d been through, all of the adventures she went on, and how excited she was to be returning to my life. I told her I had missed her and was angry about everything she put me through when she left. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this new, unfamiliar Love. And I wasn’t sure about welcoming her back into my life. Where were her boots? Her music? Her poetry?
Where were all the details that I remembered? Could we still connect? Laugh? She told me to be patient; something I always hated hearing her say. Love told me this time that we’d never lose sight of each other. That her days of wild adventure were behind her and she’d found solace in a new type of adventure now. She said she’d be there when I married Adam, and be there the day- my little girl was born. She told me not to be scared, and that over time, she’d show me who she was now. She promised to show me all the things she’d learned during our years spent apart.
It was clear, Love wouldn’t be the same girl I met when I was 15. We wouldn’t stay up, driving around at three in the morning wondering why we felt the way we did. Instead, we’d get up early on Sundays, fold laundry, and read a good book. She wouldn’t pressure me to jump or run every time things got rocky. Instead, she’d help me navigate the rough waters. She told me she wasn’t going to recite poetry every day or give me elaborate, expensive gifts. She said she thought lace was itchy and flats were better for chasing after little ones. Love preferred the comfort of a worn-in sweater and hadn’t worn her boots in years. She didn’t need to dance or listen to music the way she had before- she found a way to become music. The stories behind her eyes said more than any poetry ever written.
It’s been almost four years since Love came back into my life. Every day she teaches me something new, something profound. That small gestures, heartfelt compliments, and good-morning kisses are essential to a good relationship. That honesty and a listening ear can go farther than a diamond ring. That there’s beauty in making French toast for dinner. That there’s lightness in laughter, and that there’s a stillness inside the arms of your loved one.
Love has given me so much, and asked so little. She’s been a constant reminder, a nurturing friend, and a blessing when I needed it the most.