The first time I fell in love, I was fifteen. There was a boy -- a lovely, amazing boy -- that I went to high school with who stole my heart.
He had no idea this was the case. He thought we were friends.
We were friends, but I loved him. I loved him in a way that I had never loved anyone before or since; it was wholly unselfish. I just wanted him to be happy. If I had learned that in order for him to be happy I would have to step in front of a moving vehicle, I would have done it. I simply loved him.
To this day, if you said this boy's name to my mom, she'd say, "Oh Yellie. You loved him," and everyone in the room would nod as if to say, it was so sweet and so ... not happening.
Because as it turns out? Life is not a love story.
Except, of course, for when it is.
The good thing about being fifteen (and anyone who's dealt with fifteen year olds on a regular basis will probably agree with me here) is that it's temporary. You grow out of it and move on to other, moderately obnoxious ages like eighteen and twenty-one and thirty.
The better thing about being fifteen -- and every age before or after -- is that you carry pieces of that self with you. Sometimes those pieces are large and become major portions of your character. Sometimes they're little slivers and mementos that you take out of your pocket and run your thumb over. Either way, you have them.
As we all do, I outgrew being fifteen, but my sliver -- my lovely memento -- was the memory of loving that boy. I went on, of course, to fall in love with other people because that's what you do. Relationships. Breakups. Love, with all of its different faces. It's a thing.
If I occasionally took the time to remember that boy and my fifteen year old self, it was with a sense of amazement, that I had ever thought that love could be that simple, and the wish that maybe? Somehow? It could be that simple.
And then? I'd throw myself into the next thing.
That lovely boy and I became friends as adults. Twenty years had passed. Things had happened -- marriages, children, relocations, careers. Twenty years is a long time. He was actually more delightful than I had remembered him being -- funnier, more thoughtful.
This annoyed me a bit, to be honest, because it seemed that my fifteen year old self had more discernment than my adult self when it came to people.
Well, I thought, he's changed some. So have you.
So. Friends. Friends from afar, mostly, via the internet because -- you know, all of the life stuff and busy-ness that comes with it. We saw each other now and again, the way you do, but not often.
The thing was, though, that when I did see him, fifteen year old Yellie would tap me on my no-longer fifteen year old shoulder. "You totally love him," she'd say, flipping back her overly permed hair.
"Of course I love him, stupid. He's my friend."
"Yeah right," she'd smirk.
I'd think, I really can't do this again. Who does this?
Until the day that he told me that he was sorry, this might screw up our friendship, but he was in love with me.
Which, to be honest, made me want to punch him. That only lasted about three seconds, before I confessed to the same, but still.
The last time I fell in love, I was thirty-eight. In an unlikely chain of events, the first person I loved turned out to be the best, most amazing person I've ever loved.
Of course -- and don't think I don't point this out regularly -- I figured it out when I was fifteen. It just took him some time to catch up.
Life is a story.
Sometimes, it's a love story.