Love Is...

August 12, 2011
By , Boca Raton, FL
It never rained when we were together. I’m not sure if that was a higher being’s doing or just messed up coincidence but in some weird way the sun always found a way to shine when in our joined presence.

I got my hopes up one day when, with only ten minutes left until he’d come out of his class and be with me, a dark blue sky emerged in place of the usually scorching and humid Florida weather. Despite my one hundred percent certainty that this time there was no avoiding the pouring rain that would undoubtedly greet him when he came out, I was left perplexed and childishly disappointed. In ten minutes’ time, a few drops had fallen, most of the ominous clouds had receded, and when he smiled at my sitting form it was only a pacified, neutral sky that greeted him. No rain, no huge, dark clouds… just a sun slowly peeking behind a light gray cloud.

All this I took subtle note of in my head. Maybe it was my aptitude of believing intangible concepts like fate, serendipity, and omens that made me so susceptible to thinking it a meaningful sign. I had, after all, already been convinced that fate was real thanks, of course, to him. He was the one that would playfully plead it fate’s doing when odd coincidences between us would occur. Perhaps no event deserved his “blame it on fate” accusation more than when, the day after I realized my heart was in trouble due to the very real feelings I had developed for him, he saved my life. Alright I probably wouldn’t have died had he not extended his arm just when a friend pushed me hard toward the cement flight of stairs at school, but there was no doubt that I would’ve gone careening through the air and down the rock-hard stairs. At first, I didn’t realize what had happened. I had shut my eyes and braced for the impact. As soon as I realized I wasn’t in excruciating pain, my head wasn’t split open, and my leg wasn’t broken, I tentatively opened one eye, realized his now outstretched arm had blocked my fall, and desperately tried to move. His arm was firmly and protectively around half my body; I knew I needed to step away from him but my muscles had momentarily paralyzed themselves from fear so all I could do was wait until he gently pushed me off of the edge of top step of the stairs and onto the solid, flat ground in front of him. I’m positive I mumbled a shaking thank you following that but my memory of that incident is if not somewhat skewed, then slightly impaired. Forever after that, he’d always feign shock and offense at how he’d saved a helpless girl’s life who hadn’t even thanked him for it.

Or maybe it was the mere fact that I loved him that made me take the sun’s relentless shining at our presence as more than nature’s coincidental forecast.

I fell for him long before our first kiss; the kiss was, in a way, a seal of approval. Approval that, despite our differing beliefs, skin colors, and families, it wasn’t wrong to be together. We weren’t breaking rules, we were mending hearts. We weren’t irrational teenagers, we were fused souls. We weren’t going against what people considered to be socially correct, we were following the path love had laid out for us. We most certainly were not blind. Our eyes were wide open not only at the challenges of life and love but also to those of religion, society, distance, fidelity, and everything else that would get piled on our plates.

At that point in time, however, when it was just him and I in the domed end of a shadowy hallway, problems disappeared, worries faded, and challenges disintegrated to mere pebbles in our way.

I was leisurely leaning on one wall, watching him nervously pace in front of me. I kept telling him he wouldn’t kiss me, he’d be too nervous, and that we might as well just leave. His response was more pacing, and telling me how wrong I was. It was clear he was all talk and no walk so I decided to give it one more minute until I called it my win and began to revel in my victory. Just as I was about to get my back off the wall, gather my stuff, and start rubbing my win in his face, he proved me oh-so-wrong. In a split second, he’d closed the small distance between us, his lips were on mine, his arm on the wall near my head. Given a do-over, I would have wished that to have been my first kiss, seeing as it was a thousand times better than my actual one. He pulled away within seconds and for the first time I was left breathless and speechless over something positive.

As with our first kiss, I thought all of ours were too short and needed to be never-ending. He’d forever tease me about the fact that it was always him having to pull away and end the kiss. I truly couldn’t, though. As soon as our lips touched, it was like a powerful adhesive bound them together, so that prying them apart was as arduous and tormenting as ripping gray duct tape off your bare skin.

The last day we saw each other that year was the last day of summer classes at a local high school. My emotions were meshed stew, one moment wanting to give in to the desire of crying in front of him for the first time, the other being elated at spending even this short amount of time together. We walked around and around the perimeter of the school, mentally recollecting how walking around our old school during lunch had made us friends and eventually more than that. Weird thing was that we barely talked while we walked. Usually, I’d have my iPod on, giving him one earphone while I listened to the other while we held hands. We didn’t need more than that- just each other.
The time finally came for us to separate. I said bye; he didn’t. He never liked saying good-bye for he thought it too definite, as if saying it foreshadowed the end.
Weeks passed, months flew, years pushed on. Boyfriends came and went. School brought both reprimands and praise. Family drama brought tears, fear, and strength. Time went by. Oftentimes people say love is dangerous. It impairs the mind, skews one’s judgment, and makes a person irrational, susceptible to believing only that which someone in love wishes to believe.
The only way I can describe our love, any love, is to put it like this: love is… it’s like when you’re fighting in a war- gunpowder stifling your nose and burning your lungs, smoke blurring your vision, bullets battering your body, and the sight of your dying comrades marring your heart and soul. Then, when the battle dies down and you’re lying on the bloody floor and you’re millimeters from giving up on loving, living, and being… you hear a sniffle. And you’ve heard this sniffle hundreds of times before so a tear flows out the eyelids you’re too afraid to open for fear that what you heard was a fragment of your imagination, only a hallucination. But then you hear a hiccup and this you’ve heard thousands of times before; in fact, you’ve heard it every time she’s cried because for a reason incomprehensible to you she always hiccups when she cries. And then you feel a touch and this you’ve felt millions of times before but to feel it right here right now amidst all this chaos breaks you down so deeply you start crying and you can’t stop; you open your eyes and you see her familiar face red and puffy from crying, hair burned at some edges and splayed with mud at others, but in your eyes… she’s all the reason you need to keep loving, living, and being.

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