A Love You Can't Replace

November 26, 2012
Love. I was always confused when I would hear this word. I never really knew what it meant. I never believed in love at first sight or even falling in love. I thought it was a waste of time. A waste of my breath to mumble the words “I love you”. So I didn’t. I never told anyone I loved them unless it was their birthday, Christmas, or some other holiday like that. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved a lot of people, I just didn’t let them know. I loved my mom, my dad, and my sister. I loved my nana and poppy. My aunts and uncles. I just never took advantage of the word. Instead I let it float by my ears like a feather, falling down, down, down from a tall building

I remember the first time I told someone I loved them. It was weird. It didn’t feel unnatural, because instead, it was like I’d been practicing for 8 years, this day was just my big game. I fell in love with my neighbor, a blonde, bright-eyed boy, with his shadow too far ahead of him to catch. His name was Carter , and I loved him. To me, he was perfect. To me, he was irreplaceable. To me, he was everything I ever wanted. Days, I would spend with him in the woods, building forts and snacking on the delicious Coca-Cola popsicles his mother would freeze for us the night before. Nights, we would have barbecues outside my house and roast marshmallows in the dancing flames. When it was too cold to play outside we would watch our favorite television show, Kim Possible, under a fuzzy blanket and eat popcorn with just the right amount of butter. When he would tell a joke I would laugh, even if it wasn’t funny. I was head-over-heels in love with him. I knew it. I worshipped the ground he walked on. I believed he was perfect. I believed he would never leave me, but he did. I remember the moment, almost perfectly. It’s like someone videotaped it, then, re-ran it over and over again until it was perfectly inscribed into my brain.

My mother pulled me aside from dinner one night, asking me if I wanted to hear the good news or the bad news. I told her the bad news. “Carter and his mommy and daddy will be moving to Florida soon. Carter wanted to tell you himself but--” The words burned my ears almost as much as it burned my throat to hold in the tears. I could feel my eyes swelling up. For some reason, I remember being mad at my mother. Why? I don’t know. All I know is how fast I spun around and took off through the door and down the street , lit with the glow of lampposts , looming overhead. My brain told me this was all a dream. That I would awake eventually and go to play with Carter in the woods, like nothing ever happened. No, I never woke up. It was like I was dreaming wide-awake. That world was too real, like a kaleidoscope made clear.

The last thing I remember about this terrible time in my life was saying good-bye. Time to say goodnight. I gave Carter a hug, just like I always did, but this time I held on longer, squeezed him tighter. It just felt right. “I’m gonna miss you Carter, a lot.” I spoke, my voice shattering like falling dishes. “I love you.” And that was it. His smile, like nothing I could replace. He told me that I was his best friend in the whole world, and that he loved me. I looked up at him one last time. It was so easy. It was too easy.

I really did love Carter. You may think it’s strange that his moving away was my best moment, but it wasn’t his moving that impacted me. It wasn’t his leaving that changed me. It was the words I spoke to him, right from my heart. Right from a place I didn’t even know existed until that day.
I said I’d never let you go, and I never did. I said I’d never let you fall, and I always mean it. Getting over your first love is always the hardest to get over, because no matter how much he did you wrong, he will always have a piece of your heart. A piece of you. You will forgive him and forget everything he’s ever done wrong, if he only asked you to. You will always relate the boys you like to him.
And, secretly, you will always wish that you had just one more chance.

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KenyaLove41 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm
interesting piece about love and i really like your thoughts about it but i think the story would've been better if you'd did a lot more showing that telling in  your story.
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