A lifetime ago, I asked a dear friend what love was. She told me it was “eating a bowl of cereal while watching your favorite show,” and despite loving the line, I didn’t understand it at all. Years later, I’m still not certain I understand. Love is far too abstract a concept for me to understand what it means to someone else, but for the first time I can say what it means to me.
I’ve felt love for far too many people. Not in the same way, and far from the same intensity, but nevertheless I’ve loved a lot of people. Late at night, as I listen to old playlists, memories carrying feelings I thought long dead come to me with perfect clarity. Each one reminds me of a time I felt love, and so since no one asked, here it is, the definitive answer to what love is.
I love you Noah
I love you Nikki
I love you Emma
Love is drunkenly dancing to Avril Lavigne at 3 in the morning. It’s feeling okay being observed, not because you don’t think they see, but because you’re sure they do, and that no matter what they won’t look away.
Love is hearing a reassuring voice as you navigate a panic attack on the highway. It’s the realization that, at that moment, their voice is the only thing keeping you from running headlong into the stone medium.
Love is waking up and deciding to drive 300 miles for a smile. It’s the euphoria so strong you forget to breathe when you see them, and the crippling despair when you’re forced to leave.
Love is shouting about non-existent happiness from the rooftop of a building you hate. It’s hearing them shout that lie with you, just loud enough that you can pretend it’s the truth.
Love is hot chocolate with someone you’ve never met, long walks to stadiums in the night, and conversations so special you can’t help but write about them.
It’s remembering every second of every minute of someone who’ll never remember you, the pain of revisiting the special things you shared, and the acceptance that you’ll never love anyone like you love them again.
Love is unrelenting, unending, and wildly unrealistic, and that’s why I love it.
Because love is a memory so special, only you could understand why.