Love is one of those strange emotions that has the ability to turn your entire world upside down. It is magical and painful at the same time. It can make you laugh, smile, cry and scream all at once. It can lift you up higher than the clouds and drop you to the deepest, darkest depths. I can honestly say I have been in love 5 times in my life, each time completely different than the last. Each love was completely unique in its own right; a kind of love that is adapted to the person that you are in love with. Its hard to say if its real or if its just lust or infatuation, but its real enough in the moment that the memory stays with you forever.
The first time I said "I Love You", I was 16 years old and it was my first serious boyfriend. We met at my friend Kim's sweet 16 party. I sat next to him and didn't really like him. And so, I ate his cake. He got upset and I laughed hysterically. A mutual friend gave him my screen name and we began chatting and hanging out at school. He sent me one of those AIM emoticon bunnies and I replied *wiggles nose... hops*. He began calling me bunny. Then we realized that we liked each other and shared our first kiss at a local amusement park over french fries while everyone else rode the ferris wheel. Then we became bf/gf - which caused some slight problems because I was supposed to go to the prom with someone else in his limo and this resulted in a very awkward "Date Swap" situation. The first time we exchanged I Love Yous was after he teased me in the mall about him checking out other girls and I got mad and walked about 20 ft ahead of him. He caught up with me on the escalator and told me not to get upset. I asked why and he whispered in my ear, "Because I think I'm in love with you." It was a fun and youthful kind of love. We were each others' firsts. But after high school, it was clear our paths were in completely opposite directions and so, the love fizzled out.
The second time I said I love you was with someone who I once believed to be my Soulmate. Our love came on quick, richly passionate, then exploded brightly and faded.
#3 was another quirky, silly kind of love. We met at a house party, but I had already apparently met him at a party before that. Anyway, we spent the end of the night talking and I accidentally used his sleeping friend as a pillow. He gave me his phone to put my number in it. He never called, so I was able to track down his screen name through a friend. We hung out a few times casually and shared a first kiss under covers in between tickles and giggles. I fell so hard and so fast for him within a month, but I was so afraid to say it first. We laid naked in my dorm room bed, his arms around me, as I tried to bait him to find out how he felt about me, to get him to say those three little words first. Eventually he did say it and our love was this vibrant, eye opening, mind expanding (literally, based on all the weird experimental drugs we used to do together) roller coaster adventure despite our long distance (he lived in MA where I went to school, but then I moved back to NY for good). But once again, there became a fork in the road and we went our separate ways - not to mention the long distance thing was especially hard to keep up when I was going to school/working and he wasn't doing either.
My fourth love was the most painful, dangerous, awful, wonderful, life changing love I ever experienced. I went to hell and back. It was a love that never should have been and one that it took me a very long time to get out of. I spent a lot of time in that relationship trying to get back the love that we had, to make him love me the way I loved him and spent a lot of time crying, heart wrenched and helpless in return. Sometimes I wonder if he ever really did love me at all. (Especially all the claims that he made about loving me once I finally did leave him.) It seems like they were just words to him, but truly he left my heart in shambles.
For so long, I worried that I would never be able to love again. I had been hurt so bad and I just didn't want to hurt anymore. I completely shut myself off from all possibility of love. Kept all my feelings and situations completely casual. And yet, in the midst of all that, I tried to have hope that I would find love again one day. I searched high and low, but that spark was never reignited by any of the suitors I tested.
And then, one day, seemingly by accident really, he came into my life.
Our relationship started off casual, another victim of distance and internet romance. Soon our conversations became impassioned, flirtatious, sensual, stimulating mentally and sexually. We finally met up one summer weekend and within moments of meeting, we kissed and it was like Christmas, New Years and Fourth of July all rolled into one. Whoa. What was this feeling? It was like nothing I'd ever felt before. Like our lips were meant for each others. Like two polar opposite magnets attracting. So tender and gentle and perfect. Something just clicked when we were together. All the time we spent together, all the moments we shared - It was just effortless. Every conversation we had, every laugh we shared, every smile we exchanged, I could feel myself falling for him almost immediately. But it was so quick, I must have just been mistaking this feeling, wasn't I? I tiptoed around saying it to him drunkenly one night and his reaction kind of reaffirmed that maybe I was moving too fast. But things were progressing at a steady rate and looked to get more serious....
And then, one day, just as quickly as he came, he had to leave.
My heart hurt worse than it had before; a little piece of it had been taken and transported 9000 miles away. The pain was deep, intense, cut like a knife, coupled with a severe depression set on by his absence and no communication. I cried every day. Why did this happen? Why was this amazing chance at love taken from me? I had been broken so badly and here was a beautiful chance for repair, so why was the rug pulled out from under me? This cruel twist of fate as I had moved and hoped to start my life over with a new job, a new city, a new life, a new love. 3 out of 4 just wasn't good enough for me. What was the point of all these great new experiences if I had no one to share them with? Why was love so painful?
Then, one day, after months of loneliness, we were finally reunited. I had been worried that it wouldn't be the same. That everything about our relationship had all been in my head. That I built this bond up so much that it was all just an illusion I had created for myself to make me feel better. But our first kiss after so long confirmed that I hadn't been wrong. It was an adorable, almost high school-ish kiss, and the sparks were still there and they were just as strong as ever. Delicate, amazing, passionate. I remember laying in bed one night and it just seemed like the perfect moment to say those words but I held back in case I had jumped the gun again. But when I looked into his eyes and saw him looking back at me in the same loving way, I could tell that the feeling was there. (Ours is a very difficult situation in which to say it and everyone knows once you say it, it just complicates things... as if a love that spans two continents and an ocean wouldn't complicate things enough.)
And then one day, we were back apart and as we were before.
Hopefully soon I will get the chance to tell him how I feel, in person, as I am kissing him and looking deep into his eyes just as that day, and have it reciprocated. I can't wait to add another chapter on to this amazing love story, one that we will continue to write for years to come.