What Gets Called Puppy Love This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

October 3, 2009
By , Bristol, ME
Imagine a girl in love. Hold the image in your head; don't let assumptions about her or about the love she is feeling cloud your vision. Imagine this girl feeling sadness. Imagine her feeling grief. Imagine her being elated and exulted, and convinced that nothing else in her life would ever compare to way she flutters when her love strokes her face.

Imagine her as a complex being. See her now as someone who has a passion for thinking, only matched by her passion for simplicity. She is a self-declared anti-romantic, but can throw that role out in an instant if she thinks it's necessary. See her writing stories at five in the morning, stories that tell of life as she would like to know it--padded with yoga mats and drenched in sunlight that smells like jasmine. She loves to dance in nothingness, because euphoria without a point fascinates her. Listen as she sings to herself, and realize that she never really sings to herself; the words are all coded references to the love that drips off her wherever she goes.

Now you know her, as well as you ever will. Now that you know her, do you love her? Do you want to take care of her? Do you care in the slightest? Try not to let your caring or lack of caring come too fervently into the picture. This one is about her. She wants to believe that it is about something larger, something that transcends her meager body, but she knows in her heart of hearts that this really is about her, and having that kind of importance scares her terribly.

She tries to write it all down, knowing that words are her one weapon against pain, but she can't seem to connect enough to the marks on her paper; she can't get out of third person.

Shifting gears -- these are my thoughts on my oldest friend;

She is so beautiful. She seeps light. Her mother claims that her name is Italian for "life," but I know the truth; those wise Italians named life after her.

We are everything that young adult authors want girls to believe best friends are supposed to be; confidants, soul-sisters, totally at home in each other's arms. We are the image of perfection.

We learned to strum our guitars and bang away at our pianos while propped against one another's backs. Together, we learned to create--she became the artist prodigy, while I discovered my love of writing. The way we bumped off of one another would have been impossible, if it wasn't for the fact that we were doing it. Everyone agreed how perfect we were together.

For years, perfection was enough, but we were both growing, and beginning to realize that perfection was vastly overrated. We struggled to find ways to make our lives more complicated--suddenly, a whole world was opened up, made up of our undiscovered longings for normalcy. Boys had always wanted her, before they realized that they wanted girls at all. It had been my job to protect her from them, to snap at the drooling desire and tape the dropped jaws back shut. No one had any business wanting her. She was mine.

She didn't want anyone else, either, not for years and years. I stayed happy, or at least satisfied. She was permitted to hang with other friends as long as I was still number one in her heart, and who would dare try to mess with me? By her side was my rightful place, and that was made clear every time she put her head on my shoulder and sighed how much she adored me. That was the start of my love affair with poetry, kissing her forehead and telling her that she was my sweet summer rainfall. It was from her that I learned that saying something true is better than saying something fancy, and it was from her that I learned that the two could be the same.

Everything was simple and pure. Young love is supposed to be that way, isn't it? She was always more of a romantic than I was, and I was the one who knew that two girls in love was just too good to be true. It didn't occur to me to see us that way for years, and when it did, it was less an awakening discovery and more a sudden burst of fact; you're in love with her. You're completely in love with her. You love her more than words can describe. You love her like that.

Like that.

It was less "I would die for you," and more "I would throw myself off a cliff while engulfed in flames if it could somehow communicate to you how far I would go to prove to you how deeply I care."

She was the first person I told, and she didn't care, like I knew she wouldn't.

"Hey, um? I think I might...like girls...but guys, too. Both."

"Cool. So, what movie do you want to see this weekend?"

That was all. None of the responses I got from the rest of the world; "What?! We thought you were gay."
"Everyone's bi nowadays."
"But you're so pretty!"

Mm hmm. Thanks, guys.

I told her first because I knew she wouldn't mind, but there was also a part of my mind that could see her throwing herself at me, sprinkling my face with her ice cream kisses. Her Oh-well-guess-we-can't-play-strip-poker-anymore reaction was one part relief, two parts melancholy. We both knew it was the only way we could remain friends, by finally experiencing something that we couldn't share.

She was the first person I ever found who would listen to me speak. Really speak. What could be dismissed as ramblings she completely embraced, and through her embrace she got to know me in a way no one else had ever done. We would sit in silence for hours at a time, and then one of us would ask a question;

"Where does the sky start?"

"Can art ever really capture what's in someone's soul?"

"Does love ever really last forever?"

"Want some ramen noodles?"

It was silly, but it also managed to be philosophical. We lived in the domain of profound irregularities, making observations that years later we would recognize as deep and moving. It did take years, first for me to realize the difference between how I felt for her and how she felt for me, and then years longer for me to realize that it didn't really matter. Sometimes, love really is just love, and we don't have to push harder. I only wish I had realized it earlier. It would have saved me a lot of tear-stained pillows. The hurt can be sweet, but if you indulge in it too long, it becomes sickly.

She kissed boys, I kissed girls and boys. We had fun together. We went to different schools. We saw each other less and less. Now our reunions are infrequent enough to be a big deal, but every time I see her, it's as if time rewinds and we're back where we were, on the same page about every topic we deem important.

There are still things I'd like to say, things I wish I had the guts to draw out of myself. If I was fearless, I would tell her so many...tell her...tell her all the trailed-off sentences I ever said "never mind" about.

Here. In my personal throne of sentences and paragraphs, let me say this.

You're not all I want anymore, but I certainly wouldn't mind having you. Still, though, you have taught me enough about selflessness and caring that I can now honestly say that I want you to do what makes you happy. I want you to be with people who allow you to shine, people who don't ever shy away from using your name.

I loved you then, I love you now, I'll love you forever. Thank you for teaching me everything I now know. Thank you for opening my eyes. Now go out and let the world know how amazing you are. I've finally realized that you're not mine to set free, but I'll give you my blessing, if that means anything.

Young love does exist.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

nagrombackwards said...
Oct. 25, 2009 at 6:59 pm
amazing, but so, so sad. i wish you the best of luck in finding someone who loves you just as much as you love them.
Duckie430 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm
wow. seriously, just wow. this is really amazing. your writing is full of so much emotion.
Iliveinyourbasement said...
Oct. 19, 2009 at 12:44 pm
I cried. Seriously. Magnificent. Like chocolate.
Site Feedback