I think love is when you try really hard to hate someone but you just can’t. For every reason your brain comes up with to protect you, your heart comes up with a defense. That’s the thing about being in love. You’d rather die defending their actions than just accepting that they fucked up. Love is when it becomes harder to hate someone than to forgive.
Loving someone like you is easy. You call at two in the morning to tell me you miss hearing me say “I love you”. I tell you I love you and you fall asleep on the phone, satisfied. I promise to make you breakfast in the morning but when morning comes, I’m too lazy to move. You get out of bed and make sandwiches for us, just the way I like it. I tell you I’ll go to church with you the next morning but I oversleep. You sneak out of bed quietly and go alone. When you crawl back into bed an hour later, I’m still asleep. See, loving you is easy, but I guess loving someone like me was hard.
The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.
- John Green
It’s mind-blowing when realization hits you. You realize that you’re too poor for Manhattan so you live in Brooklyn and take the two hours commute to and from school. Your mom doesn’t want your “clutter” in her house so you somehow managed to fit all your “clutter” in an old studio apartment. You spend your nights wondering if tonight’s the night a psycho breaks in and kills you. The apartment is so old that there’s probably at least ten colonies (?) of cockroaches living behind every crevice of your room. There’s so many of them that you don’t even get goosebumps anymore when you open the closet door and three or four scurry across the shelf.
You wake up late one afternoon and sit silently by the window, a sloppily made sandwich in one hand. It had snowed all last night but your room is so toasty you hadn’t even noticed. The view from your window is total crap but with a thick sheet of fresh snow hiding all the trash, it doesn’t look half bad. Then, it hits you and you think to yourself, “Wow my life is actually going pretty damn well.”
It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things work. All good things are difficult to achieve, and bad things are very easy to get.
Years ago, I sat with my aunt at her dining table. I had my eyes fixated on my phone and she was lighting up a cigarette, her beer left untouched. She took a drag and spoke, “Do you think you’ll ever start smoking?” I laughed right in her face. Ha. Me? Smoke? Never. She smiled sadly. “You never know.”
I smoke now. Camel. Marlboro. Newport. Parliament. Back to Camel. I was (almost) sixteen when I started to really grow up. Twenty when I accepted my first cigarette. In the four (and some months) years since the summer of my sixteenth birthday, I’ve lost myself tenfold.
I failed classes because I was too busy writing love letters. I moved out but spend 12 hours a week on a bus home to help work anyway. I met a girl that swept me away and dropped me on hostile territory in the middle of nowhere. I thought I couldn’t breathe without her. I spent all my savings in the span of 6 months. I get drunk sometimes because I can still taste her and that burns all the way to my toes. I don’t expect anyone to stick around and losses don’t bother me. I stand a little too close to the edge of subway stations. I give up everything to save money to move out of this damn coast. I can’t fall asleep before 4am. I spiral out of control every night and wake up in the morning with a giant smile, ready to start all over again. I’m slowly getting better, one day at a time. But sometimes, I smoke.
The first time I visited her, the floor beneath me fell away. I think she may have said something, may have smiled. I don’t know. My heart was too busy screaming “I’m going to marry her”. She’s beautiful. More beautiful than the Orion, more beautiful than Christmas snow.
The first time I left her, she leaned in to kiss me behind a wall at the airport. I had my arm wrapped around her and the longer we kissed, the tighter my fingers fisted in her shirt. I would’ve given up my ticket home that night to stay with her. I would’ve given up the stars in the sky to kiss her longer. And then she was gone.
The last time I visited her, she reached out and touched my face when I got into her car, just like every other time. I laughed. Laughed because even as we were falling apart, some things never change. Laughed because I was falling in love all over again.
The last time I left her, we had fought the night before. The entire morning before my flight was spent in short passive aggressive retorts. She didn’t say anything when I reached into the back seat for my bag. Didn’t say anything when I lingered awkwardly. She just turned in the driver seat to watch me silently. “I’m going to marry her” kept echoing angrily through my mind as I leaned back into the car to kiss her cheek and mumble, “Goodbye”. She still didn’t say anything. She managed a half smile and tight nod. And then she was gone.