13 Ways Of Looking At Love



I don’t remember what it was like before him. And I’m not quite sure how we got here, but maybe that is exactly what I needed. Maybe that’s what we all needed. Someone to come in, to make us forget where we came from, and to make familiar that feeling of love, even though the falling remained a mystery.


They were fighting about something again. I tried to press my head against the cool window of the car and ignore it, but the piercing yells told me otherwise. I sat up in the backseat, careful to not make a sound, because I knew that if I did, his hand would leave a mark on me again. I prayed that my mother wouldn’t say anything that crossed the line. I looked over at my sleeping sister to the left. She laid there sleeping peacefully with wisps of dirty blonde hair framing her face. I studied her face in hopes that it would distract me from what was going on in the front seat. I didn’t want to wake her up from this bad dream, but I knew that I would have to soon enough. The car jerked as my sister woke up howling. My mother’s hand reached across to try and grab the steering wheel from his drunken grip. But he didn’t want to give it up and instead struck, leaving her with a crimson tattoo and bewildered eyes on her face. He looked back at me with fire in his eyes and a desire for control, so he balled up his fists and gave me a tattoo as well; this one on my arm. The three of us sprung out of the moving car, stumbling away as fast as we could; hearts and limbs all banged up. My sister got away for free tonight; thankfully one of us. If love was going back to a man that repeatedly left scars on family members, then I didn’t want to know was love was.


She was there for me when I thought I couldn’t continue anymore. Because of her, I did. She was there for me when I was successful. I made sure to thank her. She was there for me at 3am. And I made sure I was there for her too. She was my best friend.


If I was the lightning, then she was the rain. We would rub up against each other, time and time again, the bond growing stronger. And when the connection was strong enough, the electricity within me would be too much to handle, causing lightning to strike and the rain to pour. Nothing could keep us away from each other. In the midst of the storm, all logic was gone. We craved one another and nothing could keep us apart as the world outside us was disappearing. Although I was the loud lightning, she was the magnificent rain; the main event between the two. For she had the ability to cleanse, keep things pure, and create a sense of clarity in the midst of it all. She was the death of me, a beautiful chaos, and I was merely the noise to her torrential downpour.


“You played great out there.” my opponent remarked as she reached over the net to shake my hand.
I grumbled under my breath, “Tha-sdkj you err-too”. I walked over to my chair, plopped down, and wiped the sweat from my forehead with my towel.

She turned to me, breathing heavy, and asked, “What grade are you in?”

Shit will she ever stop talking? I responded exhaustingly, “Sophomore.”

My opponent annoyingly continued, “You know I’m a senior” Way to go. “And in my years of playing tennis I haven’t seen many people make a comeback like that. You lost love-6, six-seven. If you would have played like that in the first set, that match could have totally gone your way”! I wish it would have. Now will you go away?

Maybe that’s why they use ‘love’ as zero in tennis. The only thing keeping a player scoreless in the game is their lack of love for it. Love isn’t all you need out there on the court, but when the sweat burns your eyes, and your legs can’t move any longer, maybe that’s all you have. I looked up and she was walking towards the door, bag hanging off of one shoulder, and empty water bottle in the other.

“Wait”, I insisted, “Do you have any advice?” Maybe she wasn’t so annoying after all.

She turned around, smiled, and responded, “Fight like you have been. It’s all about experience and playing for yourself. Have a great season.” And with that she turned on her heels and made her exit.
I needed to find out why the little girl at the age of nine first loved such a game.


It was 12:35 am and I could hear my mother close the garage door from upstairs. I was thirteen at the time, rocking my three year old sister back and forth on the ottoman. It was the only way she could fall asleep. Ever since my step-dad left after the divorce, my mom picked up a second job to support us, while I spent my school nights calming my sister’s whines and making sure she was ready for day care the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that. Getting her ready for day care eventually turned into getting her ready for elementary school, and I went from thirteen to thirty in about five years.

I could hear my mother quietly walking up the stairs trying not to wake us. I closed my eyes pretending to be asleep. When I closed my eyes, I thought about how much I missed my mother. I tried to think of her beautiful, yet strong face, but it was hard to conjure up her image. It’s been days since I’d seen her. Maybe tomorrow I thought, as I drifted off to sleep.


I was eight years old when I fell in love with Ariel’s world through the words in the book. We were both fascinated with the human world and all that it offered.


You get a response two hours after you send the message. Maybe he’s just busy? Maybe she’s just playing hard to get? She ditches you when you two were supposed to hang out. Maybe her phone broke? Maybe she forgot? You see him kissing another girl when you thought you were exclusive (whatever that means). Well we never really did give it a title. It’s just not that serious yet. He takes you to his bed to ‘Netflix and Chill’ instead of a restaurant to talk. Maybe he’s making sure I’m worth it. Maybe he doesn’t want to take it too fast.


Love is…

All consuming. Balanced.

Passionate and crazy. Calm and steady.

Something that makes your heart beat flutter. Something that subsides the rhythm in your heart.
Something that sweeps you madly off of your feet. Something that gently picks you up.
When you know their fears. When you know their quirks.

Whatever you want it to be.

Two oppositions making a whole.


I ran my fingers over the glossy photo that dad sent me from 1,000 miles away. In the picture he was kneeling on the sand by the beach, half smiling into the lens of the camera. The phrase ‘I love you’ was traced in the sand next to him, but only until the salty waves decided to kiss the sand and wash it away. Even though the waves would come and then recede, they would always find their way back to the sand, just like my dad and I find a way back to each other.


Terror: ‘Thousands’ dead as hijacked jets slam Trade Center, Pentagon

The unity we presently feel doesn’t represent a kind of self-deception.

40 Killed in Paris Carnage; coordinated attacks

Splitting under these horrific conditions allows us to weather the immediate trauma.

Horror at the Beach; 22 dead in terrorist attack on Ivory Coast

@baeklivion when the city of light goes dark in memory of the victims, the whole world lights up for them ” #PrayForParis


I stared my-self down in the mirror and affirm “I am beautiful. I am important. I love myself”. Why was it so hard to believe? I couldn’t even get through the full phrase without breaking eye contact with myself. Okay, only nine more times. I look back up again and grip the edge of the bathroom counter, knuckles white. “I am beautiful. I am important. I love myself,” I seethe through my teeth. Try to do it without such force. I fake a smile and go at it again. “I am beautiful. I am important, I love myself” My psychologist says this will work. Why isn’t it working? I take a deep breath and continue. “I am beautiful. I am important. I love myself.” That’s it. This is awkward. I push myself away from the bathroom counter, turn on my heels, and walk out of the bathroom. Maybe tomorrow I will make it to ten.


He sat across from and me, chewing on his steak babbling on about golf. I liked the way his smile lit up like a little boy’s at a toy store when he talked about it. I examined him and noticed the little speck on the outside of his left eye’s iris. I wondered what he saw in me through those hazel eyes. His hair looked nice tonight, greased back and smooth like in the 80’s. I remember it was that ‘cool’ vibe that caught my eye the first night I saw him. I kept nodding my head so he would think I was listening and not just gawking at him. His rant about how beautiful the silver gold wedges are was interrupted by the waitress who had just dropped off the ticket. He opened up the little booklet, took a look at the receipt, and jokingly gasped exclaiming, “Well I will have three dollars in my bank account after this meal.”

I grinned and asked him, “What would you have done if I had ordered the most expensive meal on here?”

“I would let you order whatever you want and eat your scraps,” he cooed back as he took the pen and signed for the tip.

And that was when I knew that no one else before him mattered. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Self-acclaimed coffee addict, English major, and avid eater.

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