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Love <3

By , Brooklyn, NY
The beginning was simple, it was like a cheesy romance film, the kind that you can’t help but roll your eyes at. A simple girl from Ukraine who falls in love with her neighbor that plays her romantic songs on the guitar. That’s the way she would tell it to you, anyway. My cousin, caught up in her fantasies of an American dream with an American boy. But I remember that she saw it at the beginning too. Some part of her, the part that deals with all of the unpleasant things that you can ignore, saw the sleepless nights and broken promises. But the hope of love was tugging at the girl who dreamed of meeting a perfect prince.
I saw him failing college, dealing pot, smoking it. I saw him watching her pick up the tab, every single time. I love this girl, Valerie. It’s the kind of love that you have for a sister who’s your best friend; a bond that doesn’t really care that your completely different people. Her life revolved around him; all of her conversations and her plans. I suppose it rubbed off on me. Why wouldn’t it? I found myself spending more and more time thinking about what she was going through, how love wasn’t worth it. It wasn’t worth her leaving her family in Ukraine, her not going to college, her crying, her getting tied up into drugs.
It was with the best intentions that the conversation started. After a year of rage at the delinquent who had stolen my cousin from me and transformed her, I vowed to get rid of him. I told myself that it wasn’t real love, that she was too young. And it began with me slipping hints about how bad he is.
“Love is worth it.” It was the same reply every time. I watched as she twirled her fingers in her hair, clearly thinking about the same boy that made her scream and curse at everyone around her.

Then I mentioned how much better my boyfriend treated me. And one day, I couldn’t hold it back. I told myself it was with good intentions when I called her stupid and them him even worse. She cried. I had never seen her cry because of me.
I walked away from her tears, and told myself that I was trying to protect her from herself. She was crying because I had a point, not because I had hurt her. But of course, it is rather difficult to lie to yourself. I had hurt her, and betrayed her trust. I suppose love is blind, deaf and dumb. Maybe it’s because I was never in love. But now she guards herself when she’s around me. He’s still around, and is still the same. But it wasn’t worth trying to banish him, to lose a friend. It hurts to see the people I love making mistakes, but I can’t live their lives for them. Good intentions or not, I had threatened the relationship that she depends on, and not even in a loving way. And this is all about love, isn’t it?





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