I took a deep breath “Look. This isn’t going to work out. You’re in a relationship and… I’m just getting in the way of things. I don’t think your girlfriend likes it, and quite frankly neither do I..” all of a sudden tears started welling up in my eyes, warm and wet. I knew I had to hurry up so I could get out safely. “We can’t talk as much, go eat lunch, or laugh at inside jokes- because that’s against dating rules. I’m sorry.” I lept off the bench and quickened my stride so I could hide the tears that were streaking down my face. The cool wind blew softly against my warm cheeks and filled my mouth. I could no longer breathe through my nose. I had to get out before he saw me crying. He couldn’t know.
My tears came softly and quietly, I made no noise except for breathing as I walked across the college campus lawn. I searched for a spot where I could sit and think. I found an oak tree nearby, and sank down on the opposite side of its big trunk so no one would see me.
In the silence that filled the air, I knew I was alone. I could no longer keep it together, and let my anguish and hurt fill the air. I hiccuped and wept, and cried and moaned until all my tears had dried up, leaving me with an empty hole in my heart that felt even worse than when I started.
I closed my eyes and let my head fall back on the trunk of the tree, going back many years ago to a time that I have regretted forever.
“Hey Rose? Rose!”
The sixteen year old girl turned around from her locker and looked at the boy coming towards her.
“Hey, um. So I know this might sound weird. But we’ve been friends for a long time, and we know each other pretty well. I mean, I think. And.. um I know that you have a boyfriend, and you're probably going with him, but this dance is coming up… and uh I wondered if you wanted to go with me? To the dance?”
His hands were shaking and he looked completely scared stiff.
She felt a twinge of guilt and sorry for him. She couldn’t lie to her best friend though. “I’m really sorry Sean, but I just… I just… don’t feel that way about you. I have a boyfriend.” She tried to say as nice as she could, but the damage was done- he turned around with the saddest face she had seen in years.
“Yeah, sorry. I’ll just leave you alone”
The tears I thought were gone started to well again, and another memory flashed to my mind from only a year later.
“Hey Rose? Rose!”
The seventeen year old girl looked at the boy , who was running towards the bench she was sitting on.
“Hey, I know you broke up with your boyfriend last month and I’m really sorry about that.” She waited for him to continue. “Anyways, if you're ready I was wondering if… if maybe-” he took a breath. “If maybe you’d like to go out on a date with me?” She once again felt a twinge of guilt and sorry for him. She couldn’t lie to her best friend though. “I’m really really sorry Sean, but I just… don’t feel that way about you. We’re friends.”
The tears were now coming down my face, and I sobbed and moaned once again as I remembered my final memory for the night.
“Hey Sean? Sean!”
The eighteen year old boy turned around to look at the girl who called him.
She noticed for the first time, his soft brown hair that fell across his face with his perfect blue eyes that matched. His kindness to her through all their years of friendship, and understanding. His patience with her and never giving up.
“I know we’ve been through a lot in the past, and I’ve been kind of unfeeling towards you, but now I… I guess I’m starting to see things clearer and…” all of a sudden a young woman only a year older than the girl walked up behind Sean and wrapped her arms around his waist.
“Are you ready to go? We’re going to miss the movie.” she said sweetly to him.
“Yeah hold on- Rose, this is my girlfriend…I don’t think I’ve introduced you yet.”
Her stomach felt empty “No. You haven’t.”
Rose gave a glance at her, she was prettier than her. Rose said quietly, “Nice to meet you.”
Sean looked at his old friend, and the girl felt her heart skip a beat “Did you want to ask me something?”
Then she came back to reality. “No, I didn’t… well not anymore. I have to go.” she turned around, and watched as Sean and his girlfriend held hands walking to Sean’s car.
I heard the laughter behind me, and held my breath as I distinguished Sean’s laugh from his girlfriends, they were happy and there was nothing I could do to change his mind. I gave him no for an answer one too many times, and it would hurt me the rest of my life.
I got up from the oak tree and brushed off my now dusty pants. I slowly walked to my dorm room where my roommate would be eagerly waiting for my answer. I walked in the door and instead of her pestering me with questions, she saw my sad face and gave me the biggest hug. I didn’t even need to say a word, she just held me and whispered her sorrys in my ear as I cried some more. Sometimes it’s good to have more than one friend, especially when you’re in love with your first.
What is love?
An intense feeling of friendship, but wanting more- longing to be with someone forever. A protective family love, sharing feelings and memories with those you’ve known your whole life.
Loving your enemy because you know their human too.
The love of the landscape, and sights we see each day.
The love for our life and the air we breathe.
What is love?
There is no definite answer to the question, as it is whatever you call it.