Then I was in Love This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 1, 2012
Generally-written, I am a rather private person. I am not the sort to spill the ins and outs and ups and downs of my life to the world, nor have I friends called best to enlighten with my thoughts and experiences. Though I have often tried to shape myself to fit this personality-type, I cannot. Fact is fact, and fact is I’m quite reserved. Generally. But on that meter of reservation, there comes a point when the dial hits red and something breaks loose.
Well, it’s that now.
I consciously write this, knowing that I will hate myself for this later. But it’ll be heard one way or another, and it might as well be right now.
I am more than less in love.
I am fully aware of the hackneyed feel of that statement, but whatever is, is, you know. Anyway, I can’t help it anymore than you can help the sun turn purple.
Well, I realized this over the holiday, and I am eager to expound on the circumstances. So let me tell you of the moment of impact: realization.
The day was a rather windy one, not cold so much as I’d like, but fine hiking weather. I think when I hike, and, boy, did I have some thinking to do. So I grabbed my summit pack, laced my boots, pointed my toes in the direction of woody solitude, and marched onward. The descent was not terribly eventful externally, but, oh, I’m being much too broad. Here’s the tale in depth, probably more depth than you care to hear, really:

Meow. I looked down, startled from the haze of deep thought that had begun to enshroud my mind in anticipation of the hike. Again meow. Wasn’t that just the most pitiful noise. I was in the spare room now, just about to leave the house, and the meek mew pulled me from my hard-to-get-out-of thought trajectory.
The cat. I forgot to let the cat out of her crate this morning. (No surprise.) Poor thing, I thought. But I didn’t really care. I had bigger fish to fry, so to speak idiomatically. Quickly I grabbed the cat and threw her outside in front of me, slamming the door shut in my wake. I was outside now, and already the mechanical cogwheels of my mind where whirring once more and lowering the steel door that blocked my thoughts from the world outside and the world outside from my thoughts. “Caution! Caution! Girl deep in thought coming through!” my glazed eyes screamed to the entire planet like so many flashing sirens and “Wide Load” signs announcing a transported trailer. But only that poor, confused, recently-tossed cat read the warning.
I have a light tread in the woods, a practiced fox walk avoiding branches and leaves that have the most terrible tendency to announce the arrival of any unaccustomed woods-walker. So my feet slid me further and further into the woods, ostracizing common forest gossips. But my mind paid no heed to the doings of my feet. I have two brains, it seems: the gray stuff in my skull and the two toe-ridden appendages nearer to the ground. I’ve also got my third brain-type thing: my heart, but that is a bit different. They all act very much separately from each other, yet each knows my ultimate wish. For right now – hike on!
My head brain and heart brain, you see, were engaged at the time. I was reviewing that which my mind had been examining for weeks, my constant thought companion, really. I had obsessed about him for the longest time now. My interest in him was purely friendly, my head brain told my heart and feet brain. I knew even ruminating too long on the topic of “Him” was stupid, yet I persisted. (By earlier experience I had determined that all romantic thoughts, likes, relationships, feelings, crushes, and the like were injudicious ventures in my book. I would have no part in them because my parts typically led to a mud pit of depression and foolishness somewhere along the way.)
Regardless of my powers of reasoning and the arguments of the day, I allowed him to haunt my thoughts. What is he doing right now? Will I see him today? What will he think of [fill in the blank]? Such questions occupied my thoughts every millisecond of every second of every minute of every hour of every day (and so on). I never allowed myself to think that I even liked him. My head brain would never let my do that anyway. Impossible! Yet I continued to think about him even into my sleep.
But I never talked about him. There was no one who was worthy to hear about him. He was my favorite secret. (Even though, remember, I did not like him.)
I never truly realized my obsession. Sure, I thought of him always, but I never fully pieced together my thoughts to form any coherent bit of information other than No, Self, you absolutely don’t like him. He simply was the unattainable prize, but I never thought anything more.
And that’s what I pondered as I trekked up and up. But this time I added a new dimension to my thoughts, suffocating the reason of my head brain: was I… did I… did I like him? Did I really and truly, positively, absolutely like him? No. Definitely not. There is no way! my head brain jumped to say.
And it was true.
I didn’t like him.
I loved him.
At the thought, my feet gave way beneath me, and I tumbled onto the ground in a mangled heap. I was breathless at the very thought. It seemed to open up something… different… something new inside me. And so I thought.
That kiddie crush stuff? Bah, I was way past that. I didn’t just feel all silly inside when he was around, nor did I simply smile at his mention, nor did I merely have weak emotional attachments to him. Nope. I was way past that. I never did anything without thinking of him. Anything. Ever. Wasn’t that what I felt when I thought of him – love?
“What is this silly ‘I’m in love’ business?” demanded my very logical head brain. “I? In love? The very thought is ridiculous! Love is Cinderella and the seven dwarves and Humpty-Dumpty, don’t you know. It’s not me. And it never will be. It’s stupid. It’s dumb. It’s not me. It’s. Not. For. Me. Don’t you know that being ‘in love’ would only complicate things immensely? And eventually you’d end up looking like a fool. Abandon it, Self, abandon the very idea. It’s impossible.”
My heart brain argued back, “I? In love? Why, certainly! Don’t be daft, Self. He’s all you think about. You love him, and to think otherwise is a lie. You can tell yourself again and again and again that you don’t love him, and all you would be accomplishing is strangling the truth. You love him, and it couldn’t be any more obvious.”
And back and forth and back and forth, my inner battle seethed. Was I in love? No. Yes. Yes. No. No? Yes! NO! YES! Yes? Yes! NO! My brains clashed for far too long until the quiet voice of my feet (yes, my feet) brain interjected, “Pardon me, Self, but I thought it might be helpful to point out the fact that, well, I fell when love was brought into the picture. Isn’t that proof? Isn’t it obvious? You know it’s true, Self. Why else would you have fallen, Miss Sturdy Footing, when you pride yourself on your woods-walking skills so very much? Heart, you’re quite right. Head, you know it, too. Self, you’re in love.”
Thus, I found myself in love. And I caved completely. Standing up, I blinked, now fully recognizing my situation. I – I! the person who swore never to surrender to blasted “love” – had quite subconsciously succumbed to it. How had I not seen this coming?
So I walked on with a new idea of myself. I now knew that I was indubitably “in love” and nothing could be done to remedy the situation; I knew that I was clearly prone to the self-proclaimed weakness of being in love which I had so carefully tried to guard myself against. But my thoughts were not all negative. I was in love, by golly! Wasn’t that supposed to be a good thing? Why, yes. Yes, it was. And somehow in the deepest catacombs of me (apart from my three semi-brains), I knew I was happy in my realized and titled affection. Now I knew my purpose in thinking of him constantly. Now I had a reason to think about him.
But The Big Question weighed horribly within me. I KNEW I loved him, and now that I knew this, how much worse it would be if he did not love me in return! Could I bear it? No. I needed him now. I missed him at that moment. I knew that there was no way that he could love me as I did him. It was impossible. Unfeasible. Not happening. So I walked on and prepared for him to hate me for loving him.
Oh, I’ve never experienced more certain happiness and uncertain sadness than that day. How I needed him right that moment, if only to look at him from a distance. And in my sadness I could walk no further. I fell down where I was.
The wind blew hard and the gossips of the forest piped up. The leaves, the creaky old trees seemed to chatter about my despair. He couldn’t love me, and they say it all in my unshielded eyes.
But then there was a stirring not like the wind. It was the fox walk of forest- accustomed feet. I knew this with my eyes shut. And then I knew it was him. He knew where I was because he knew me completely.
And then he told me he loved me.
And that’s what happened over my break.
And although you may not believe me, I needed to tell someone. And so I told you, although I cannot utter his name. I told you this much because it burst out from my heart like water boiling over its little pot. But his name is sacred. His name is now my favorite secret. And that’s all I can say.

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