I went to her to understand love in a different light. She turned and looked at me. Her brown eyes were pools overflowing with emotion. She had sat there pouring her heart’s demons and angels to me for the past few hours. We had started with the sun in the sky and now the night sky watched our exchange through the window.
As she had talked, time seemed to lose meaning. I traveled with her to a past that glowed with a brighter hue in reminiscence. She told me about the first woman that she ever loved. The story started in high school and came packaged with sweet kisses, time spent, and so many butterflies. They were a couple of kids thinking they had it all figured out. They fell for each other when they didn’t expect to fall. They fought; as do most couples. They made up, because at the end of the day, the future looked a million times brighter in each other’s arms.
She told me that she loved her in a way that you only love your first love. There was never any hesitance to give herself when it was asked for or take when she wanted. They knew that if nothing else, they had each other. It started as a crush and it blossomed into something that they themselves could not explain. She told me these were the kind of things that were felt. She believed they’d always be together. They both did.
It’s funny, she said. You let life take it’s own course, because at the end of the day, to think that you have control of anything is hilarious. Life is as independent a woman as you can get. But, they were young and thought they had the world at their fingertips and nothing, but time to spend…
They spent the next 10 years of their life together. Ten beautiful years, she said. Ten years spent living a life so filled with love, she didn’t think she’d ever go hungry again. Sure, they had their ups and downs, but truly it was all worth it. Every tear of frustration, every fight, every night spent awake, because neither would sleep while being angry with the other…she said was all worth it. She told me the makeups were always more memorable than the fights. They were just two fires that needed to learn to love each other as they needed to be loved. And that they did. It came with time.
Then life did, what life does best. It came swooping in and shook her world to the core. She got that call. That call that no one should ever have to get. Just like that it was all over. The woman that she had given everything to, her mind, body and soul was all of a sudden no more of this world. She told me that she would not spend too much time on how she left this world, because the impact of her as she was alive was the greatest impact that she could ever have and that was what she had come to share with me.
She said she wanted me to know that love is weird. It’s so weird. It leaves you breathless in one second wanting more and more and more and more. And then, the next, it takes and takes and takes and takes until you feel like you have nothing left to give. This love of theirs took them on so many wild rides. There were so many highs and then there were so many lows. But, at the end of all that, they came through and knew that they would always get through whatever it was that life threw at them, because they had each other.
But, this? Well, this was not part of the equation. She told me she was angry. So angry at the world, at God…at everything and everyone. They were so young and they had so many plans together.
I asked how she kept it pushing.
She said she didn’t for awhile. There were nights where she was just so numb to it all. She said that scared her the most out of everything else. The numbness was stifling.
But, then one day she was woken up by a noise outside her bedroom window. It was the sound of laughter. A sound that seemed so foreign to her in those days. She didn’t know what it was that gave her the energy or why she did, but she got up out of bed and walked to the window.
She looked out and saw out on the sidewalk below a couple. A young man and woman. He was holding her from the back and she was laughing in delight pretending to struggle to get away from him. She felt their joy through her forlorn bedroom window. She closed her eyes. She told me that she didn’t know why she did. Maybe, because the scene below was too much to take in. Maybe she wanted to capture that moment of love and hold on to it for as long as she could. Whatever it was that made her, she kept her eyes closed. And then it hit her. First subtle and then stronger as though there was another presence there with her. She was hit by a familiar scent of perfume. A scent that she had not smelled in over a year. She felt the tears follow the scent. Then she was overcome by emotion. So much emotion. She felt it hit her as though a blow to her stomach and she keeled over and curled up right there and then on the floor and cried.
She told me that she did not know how long she laid there, but by the time she got up, it was dark outside. When she did, she felt lighter somehow. As though those tears that she shed, was shedding a part of herself. A part of herself that only chose to think of the woman that she loved in resentment, bitterness, sadness, hurt and anger at all the moments lost. And there it lay. She was faced with a decision. Either she chose to lose herself in her hurt or she pick up her broken self and run with it. Whatever the fuck that means.
She told me, with an awe-inspiring strength that she chose at that moment right there and then to never look at herself as something that was broken. That whole year or so of mourning the love that she lost did not leave her broken. She was whole. She was a whole woman who was starting to see that the vulnerability with which she loved made her strong enough to get through the year in hell that she witnessed. She wasn’t broken. She never was. Now it was time for her to love the memory of someone who made loving easy, even in the moments that did not seem so easy at the time. It was time to let love live through her memory and then let her go.
She turned to me and said,
“Listen, love is not meant to be understood. I don’t understand why it happened. Why we fell in love, why we built a life together only to have it torn apart from us. But, that’s ok. It took me a long time to get here. I never thought I’d get to a point where I could talk about her and not lose my mind in my sadness. It’s now been two year since she passed away and almost six months since I watched that couple through my bedroom window. Love is weird. I would live a thousand lives feeling that pain I felt from the moment I first got that terrible phone call just to hold her again. But, if you were to ask me, would I erase the memories we made in order to never have felt the pain I felt? Never. Not for a million, trillion dollars or a million lifetimes. I could not. I would not. Loving her has been the greatest joy I’ve experienced and realizing that losing her was me actually gaining love in a whole new format has been a blessing that no one can take from me. Love isn’t meant to be understood. It’s OK to ask the questions, but just know that when you do, be prepared to find that no one can explain it to you, because they themselves don’t know.”