My Love This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

“Have you ever been in love?”

“Yes.”

“With who?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Tyler, right? Like, you two had a crush on each other for the longest time… it was really cute. He’d give you his pencils and you’d clean his desk, and that one time he gave you a pencil that said LOVE #2 on it, and you got all excited. Remember?”

“Yeah, that was in like fourth grade. But that wasn’t love. That was just a crush.”

Anna gave me a look. “So you’re saying that’s not it?”

“No. Love is deeper than that.”

“So who do you love?”

“It doesn’t matter. He’s dead now.”

“That’s so sad!” Anna exclaimed, all teasing gone. “I’m sorry! I didn’t know!”

“It’s fine.”

“What was he like?”

“He was really quiet. Very sweet. He was a tough-guy, but he wasn’t mean. He was actually afraid of a lot of stuff.” I sighed. Remembering him was… not sad for me, just kind of lonely.

“What did he look like?”

“He had brownish hair with like, I don’t know, grey-white streaks in it. Probably dye. His eyes were hazely, but he’d always say they were brown although they were more goldeny.” Every person I knew who had hazel eyes tried to claim they were brown, no exception. Not even Dyl. “He wasn’t very buff or anything. Kind of ordinary.”

“Piercings?”

“None that I know of.”

Anna sighed. “I was in love once too. But mine’s not dead, he just totally doesn’t know I’m alive… I’m sorry.”

“No, it’s fine. It’s better for him now anyway.”

“What do you mean?”

“He was abandoned as a little kid, and he was always in different foster homes. I met him in the last one. I think it was really hard on him, moving around all the time, living out of his suitcase like that.”

“That’s sad.”

“Yeah.”

“Did you love him as in, romantic love or friendship love or pity love or what?”

I had to think on that one. I loved Dylan, there was no doubt. I felt sorry for him, but that wasn’t why I loved him. We were friends, no doubt, but it was more than that. “I think I loved him for his spirit. You know, he was like a wolf dog or something, but kind of tame. Like he was always somewhere else in his mind, kind of, but he didn’t hide in there. He defended himself and all that.”

“That’s sweet… like an admiring love.”

I was startled. “Yeah…. That’s exactly what it was.”

“I know you,” Anna smiled. “You’re like that; you admire people, and it makes them happy.”

“Huh?”

“You know what I’m saying. You really don’t judge people much. You just take a liking to people basically no matter what’s wrong with them. You have a quiet way, but it seems to rub off on people. Like when we first met, you were really quiet, but instead of being nervous it relaxed me.” Anna laughed. “I bet you really made a difference for him. If it’s like you said, then I’m sure he was glad to have a companion like you.”

That stopped me. Made me think. Anna and me, we have no experience in love. Just a quiet admiration. I didn’t think anybody would notice me… how embarrassing. Still, if I had in any way made Dylan’s life any easier, I was glad. What can you do for someone who’s not exactly in trouble, but needs help no one knows how to give? We weren’t so different, me and him. We both liked old books like October Sky and To Kill A Mockingbird. But it was hard to believe we’d even had contact at all, much less been such close companions… if it had made his life any better, I can only wish I’d have done more.

“So what about you?” I demanded, quickly tucking these thoughts away for later. “You ever been in love?”

“Yeah, but I think it’s just one of those sad crush-from-a-distance-where-the-guy-doesn’t-even-know-you’re-there kind.”

“Care to drop any names?”

“… You remember Atmar?”

“Of course I remember Atmar! He’s totally awesome. You two are so much alike. I’m sure he remembers you. I mean, he spent like every other waking moment at Band Camp with us. You and he were great soccer players! I bet he secretly likes you too.” I recalled how he and Anna had danced at the dance, and how he got all bashful when Natalie, a friend of ours, had said they made a good couple.

“Well, we can dream.” Anna sighed. “I hope I can at least have an admiring love, if not a true love.”

“I’m sure you will.”

“Yeah, well, thanks.”

“Thank you too.”





Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Sonata16 said...
Jul. 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm
Admiring love.. that answers so many of my own questions about this one young man I once knew. This was a great piece, and I bet it was an even better experience at the time.
 
Mary D. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm
Thanks. Yes, it was a good expereince... a little sad, sometimes, but I'm glad for it.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback