First Love Like a Flare

  1. When you're seventeen, it's so easy to love. So easy to save words and ballpoint ink on skin and notes and concert stubs that become your talismans. You're in love-- you have the proof. You're drunk on kisses in the front seat of his car after he pulled off the road and parked in that ditch, just so he could hold onto you with both hands.
    You both ducked, giggling, when a cop drove by and flashed his lights at the back of the car.
  2. You get beginnings at seventeen, not endings. You don't know a thing about endings. You throw yourself at him and he pulls his heart right out of his chest and flings it back at you.
    You don't know where it's going and you don't know how it will end but you're there and he's there and it's right for then and you love so hard, you love so hard, you give it everything. Your love becomes the best thing you have, a silken string that ties the two of you together, ribcage to ribcage, heart to heart.
  3. When you're three years older and jaded, both wrung dry of all the love you can give to each other, it ends. And it ends like this: you're in a car with a beautiful boy, and he won't tell you he loves you but he loves you.
    You still feel it. But the words are choked in your mouth and it's already ended. It's over. You choose to pull that silken string loose as you slide out of the car, shut the door and he's gone.
  4. There's comfort in knowing that the blind choices you made served you well, that you didn't screw up marvelously on the way into your second decade, that you've become a fairly responsible adult. But sometimes there's also a sadness for who you used to be.
    That inexperienced and very, very naive girl, before life knocked you around a bit and ground the bright optimism off your edges. Isn't that what getting older is? Learning to hold the weight of the past alongside the present and keep walking.
  5. I don't know how to fall in love like I'm seventeen again, unaware that in the laws of this universe, all things eventually fall apart. First love like a flare, the pop and fizz of a bulb blowing and you can’t turn it back on. I haven’t been able to since. In some small weird way, everything after you was transference.
    You made me happy. I made you happy. It was not enough for forever.
  6. But it was enough for then.