tilt shift lens photography of flower field during sunset

I Was Young, But I Knew What Love Was

I knew what love was. I was quite young, but I knew.

Love was an eyebrow scar. It was a booming chuckle (not laugh) that overtook the sanctuary. It was a mess of curly hair, twinkling eyes, and crooked smiles. It gave the best hugs and knew I loved talking on the phone and laying outside underneath the stars. Love was a Yann Tiersen song.

Love was a piano prodigy, a raspy voiced singer, and a secret poet. Love was a genius to me and could do anything they wanted. Love was a lot of things I made up in my head.

Love was not as enamored by me as I was by them. Love would take extensive absences with no explanation. It would come back just long enough to give me a taste and pull me back in, only to leave for longer than it had before. Love strung me along until love slowly faded away.

Love became quiet for a long time. I thought I had seen it once or twice in the coming years, but I was mistaken. When love finally returned, it looked different.

Love was taller and was covered in tattoos. Love had a booming laugh (not chuckle) and filled up every room it was in. Love was excitement personified, with a wardrobe I didn’t understand and a past I couldn’t relate to. Love was patient, love was kind, and love was willing to love me despite my reservations.

Love broke my boundaries and it showed me possibilities that I didn’t know existed. Love softened my edges and looked at me like I hung the moon and drew the stars myself. Love became everything I cared about and the future I wanted. Love and I grew to see this future differently over time.

Love left quickly, abruptly, and shattered my understanding of the world. Love did not leave kindly, though that much I was used to. Love did not look back when it left. Love moved on so fast I hadn’t had time to wipe my tears or unwrap my arms from my stomach.

I didn’t know that I wanted to meet love again after that. I didn’t know if I could.

After some time, love returned in quite a different way than before. Love became the fancy coffee I make for myself every morning. Love is now the unbelievable amount of water I drink every day. Love is the food I put in my body, the time I spend at the gym, and the thoughts I write down in my journal. Love is the person I see in the mirror every day. Love is a daily commitment to myself. But I know there is more love out there, and one day I will meet it.

Because the truth is, love could be anywhere right now. Love could be eating lunch in Colorado while I’m still finishing my morning coffee in California. Love could be exploring New Zealand, or writing a song, or getting fired from their job. Love could be anyone, doing anything, and I want to be ready for it.

Love is the great possibility, the ever existing ‘what if’, and the greatest game of chance any of us will play. Love is eyebrow scars and tattoos and songs I can’t listen to anymore. Love is also a lot of things I haven’t met yet.

I know what love was, I know what love is now, and I can’t wait to meet love in the future.

Good person, messy eater, notorious plant killer.

Keep up with Shelby on Instagram and shelbyirene.com