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The Downside of Love
Love. It's such a strange concept, isn't it? Placing your heart in the hands of someone else, as if it wasn't fragile. Fragile enough to crack and break at the tiniest constriction. And yet, we still give our hearts, our love, away to people, trusting them as if they couldn't destroy it, destroy our entire being, with the simplest of actions.
I don't really remember much from the young years of my life, other than screaming, fighting, glass shattering on walls. Watching the love I thought would last forever fall apart right in front of me.
After that, I never quite believed in love, barely even thought of it. I watched as my parents fell out of it over the first few years of my existence and the only thing I knew of love was the fact that it hurt people, broke people, destroyed trust, and destroyed family. If I really think about it, I hated love for it was the thing that broke me apart. My life grew dark, monotone, all blacks and whites, and grays.
That was until I saw you. You were sitting there with your friends, the sky dark and overcast behind you. But as I watched you, I saw you tilt your head back and laugh at one of the silly jokes your friend said. And then the sun peeked its rays of brightness from behind the darkness and shone down on you, highlighting you, surrounding you in its halo of light. And for the first time in years, I saw color.
It was the brown of your eyes I noticed first. They weren't molten pools of gold, like the brown eyes I've read about. No, they were deep and mysterious yet they twinkled with a dazzling emotion I hadn't felt in forever. Joy. Your entire being radiated it. I would notice it as I walked past you in the halls. After that, I noticed the blue of the sky and green of the grass, the whiteness of your teeth, the rainbow posters on the school halls I never took the time to think about before, the blue linoleum tiles. The pink of your lips as you smiled.
After seeing you that fateful day in the courtyard, my life became more colorful, more vivid, more... bright.
Ever since then my eyes would stray to you in the halls, in the bleak classrooms- but even the unremarkable atmosphere was more exuberant if you were there. I couldn't stop the corners of my lips from tilting up whenever I saw you in the crowd, the smile that seemingly never left your face.
As time went on, I still couldn't gain the courage to go up to you. Every time you turned your head in my direction, my gaze would slip to the ground no matter how much I just wanted to stare into your eyes and marvel at the color which was so unique to me.
My mother was surprised when I came home one day, a small smile gracing my lips as I recounted you blushing and waving when you caught my staring at you. I, being the shy person I am, swiftly turned away. But I could not get the image out of my head. Your cheeks a sweet red, a soft look in your eyes, wonder maybe, as you slightly lifted your hand and waved. As I thought about it, that was the first time I started to think about love again.
Could I be falling for you? No, impossible, I decided. I hadn't even spoken a word to you. Mayhaps you did live in my mind at all hours of the day, your eyes and smile being the first and last thing I thought about. But surely that didn't mean I was in love.
Oh, boy was I wrong. But I wouldn't realize that until a year later when you broke up with your girlfriend of eight months. You know how they say when you love someone you should feel joy at their happiness? I tried to- I really did. But when I saw you with her my heart would hurt. Just the tiniest bit. Honestly, I hated seeing you with her. But the hurt I felt seeing you hold someone else in your arms was nothing compared to the pain of seeing you cry. I remember this moment strongly, the day I first realized that I truly was in love with you.
It was 3:45 P.M. on the last day of junior year. The sun was shining bright on the pavement as I walked out of the school, later than everyone else because I took extra time to go through everything in my locker. I stood there for a solid five minutes, basking in the sun before I heard it. Fast, shuddering breaths. I followed the sound to the side of the school where I saw you, hands clutching your head, and for the first time, no smile on your face. Instead, there was a frown joined by tears streaming down your cheeks and your back was bent as if you were carrying a large boulder on your shoulders, weighing you down.
I immediately dropped everything I was holding and rushed to your side. I fell to my knees in front of you and watched as your head lifted and you gaped at me in confusion. I had heard the rumors that day, about what happened between you and her. I didn't want to believe that someone could hurt you. I didn't want you to be in pain. But here we were, your face crumpled in a way I never wanted to see it again. Gently, I grabbed your hands in one of my own and used the other to softly wipe the tears from your face.
"Hey, look at me," I said. "Everything will be okay." Before I knew what was happening, your arms were wrapped around me and your head was buried in my neck and I was holding you as you sobbed. "I'm here," I murmured.
And that was the day I decided, I would give you my fragile heart, no matter the risks of you shattering it into a million pieces because I know all those pieces would lead me back to you.
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Keep your face always toward the sunshine and shadows will fall behind you.