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It Just Sort Of Does That To You
“How are we supposed to act for this? I mean, we’re supposed to act like a couple, right? I don’t really know what to do…” he trailed off, into the awkward silence.
We were alone in a boring room, attempting to practice our assigned skit, but not sure how to begin.
Quietly, rather timidly, I asked, “Haven’t…haven’t you ever been in love before? Like, you didn’t just like someone, you actually loved them?”
Now, it was his turn to be shy.
“Well, yeah, I guess. I think I have, but I just…I don’t…I don’t know.”
There was a pause that made our situation all the more awkward. Why did we even sign up for this in the first place?
We had been standing face to face, looking over the requirements for the “improv”, but now he slowly lowered his paper and looked me full on in the face.
He stared directly into my eyes, and asked, “What’s it like to, you know, be in love?”
My eyes lowered to the floor, no longer able to hold his gaze. I sank into the chair and let the paper float wherever it wanted. This was a delicate subject matter, and I had to take a minute to consider it.
“Being in love,” I began, taking my time, “is one of the best and worst feelings in the world. It’s made up of all the good and the bad.”
He looked confused, but remained quiet, for which I was thankful. If he had spoken, I might not have been able to continue.
“When you’re…in love, you…you could be having the worst day ever. Like, you might want to punch the next person you see. But then you see this person that you love, and just seeing them makes your heart perk up and look at the world in a different light. And then if that person just smiles, but especially if he smiles at you, your heart just dances and wants to burst into song, because he makes you feel so much better.”
I paused for a breath. I had his undivided attention, and it scared me a bit.
“But then if that person laughs, whether at the stupid thing you did, or the joke you told, or just for the sake of laughing, your heart wants to explode and shower joy on the world because you can’t even remember why you were mad a minute before. That person makes you want to dance even if you’re uncoordinated, run a marathon even if you can’t run a mile, or sing even if you sound like a cat dying when you try.”
A soft smile spread across his lips and he whispered, “You sound like a poet.” A shrug was my answer.
“It’s the truth.” By then, I was talking more for myself than for him, but it didn’t matter. I needed it to come out.
“Last year, I fell in love with this guy. Looking back, I really don’t know why. Now, I see him in the halls and think that he’s an idiot, but then a memory pops up of a good time with him, and I fall for him all over again. Because love does that. You forget every flaw, and only see him as this perfect being that completes you. And he does. For a while.”
I could see the question forming even before he asked. And I knew he had been comparing notes, comparing what love felt like. He wanted to know someone else had felt what he had felt.
“And what does falling out of love feel like?” he asked.
I shuddered. “It’s hell.”
“How bad though?”
“It’s like beforehand, you were a bird or an angel flying above a sparkling blue sea in the bright sunlight with a gentle breeze caressing you. And then, when he hurts you, or leaves you, it’s like all your feathers turned to weights, the sun was blocked out by thunderclouds, you were struck by lightning and swallowed by a tidal wave. You die, are brought back to life, and then die in a more painful way.”
He winced. He’d totally been in love if my description of it had brought him that much pain.
Sometime during my speech, he had sat down, and now he was sitting only a few inches away from me. The space wasn’t claustrophobic or awkward now. It was comfortable. It was cozy. It felt so familiar.
“He hurt you bad then?” he asked. Now, he just had to hear everything, didn’t he?
“It hurt…a lot. The worst was the fact that he never liked me, but actually liked another girl.”
A shrug was my only response to that. I was done, and had completely exhausted my knowledge of love. That was about the best I could give.
“So now that I’ve ‘enlightened’ you on the subject of love, do you think you can act for this?”
“I think so.” Almost slyly, he added, “I’ll just act like I’m feeling right now.”
I stared at him, startled. “What?”
He smiled, and in a single, fluid motion, had me standing up with him, his arms around my waist and mine entwined around his neck. Another smile lit his face as he beamed to me.
“I’ll just act like this.”
With that, he leaned down and kissed me, gently pressing his lips to mine, almost afraid he would break me.
I couldn’t help but think, ‘Finally! I finally found a decent guy!’
When we acted out how we’d fallen in love for our theatre class later, they loved it. It had been the best skit most of them had ever seen, even though it wasn’t acting for us. Love just sort of does that to you.