Love is a rose, attractive to the eye. It comes in different colours; crimson, pale peach, saffron yellow, creamy white and soft fuchsia. It draws the attention of everyone as they stare in awe at the stunning flower. However, none are diverted by the look of the stem, covered in jagged, razor-sharp thorns. They grasp it quickly and greedily by the stem and their hands are pierced, blood is shed and tears of regret are brought to their eyes. But those who hold it gently watching out and avoiding the thorns find their way to the flower.Later though they forget to water their rose and it withers and die as grief and sadness floods over the owner drowning them in sorrow. But those who hold it carefully and nourish it, sustain it and maintain it are the ones who find their hearts beating with affection and unmistakeable delight. So hold your rose carefully and don’t forget to look after it because that is the best type of love.
I used to believe that love was overrated, a perpetual goal that was never meant to be taken seriously but accidentally became classed as one of the most important things in everyone’s lives, no matter who you were.
I used to think love mainly consisted of untimely commitment, stolen kisses, and experiences judged by how quickly or how far they can spread.
I used to think love was unreasonable, full of a hope that only worked until you learned the truth and realised that this idea of intimate gestures and coordinating outfits wasn’t worth the hype that media painted it out to be.
I used to be wrong.
It took me days of regret, months of realisation, constant self-correction, restless nights filled with fluctuating self-esteem, and the odd existential crisis here and there to figure out what love can truly be.
Love, I decided, can manifest itself in the most peculiar of ways: an insanely consistent set of top grades, forever immaculate acrylic nails, effortless and immediately recognisable style, immortal inside jokes, or even a quiet appreciation that goes unnoticed by most. It can be seen by those who aren’t looking for it and missed by those who are because it remains hushed, not needing the validation of popularity.
Love, I decided, is not something to be defined by mere alphabets. As if being enigmatic and ever-changing wasn’t enough, love is also wholly subjective and dependant on the individual. To some, love is the warmth of a genuine smile or intertwined fingers on a cold day but, to others, love is sharing a body spray or explaining the notes from a missed class because familiar metaphors work better than new analogies.
Love, I decided, is unpredictable. Some can lose themselves in the lyrics of a song where others can climb inside books and forget their worries; some can call their friends at ridiculous times and know they’ll have someone to listen; some can arrange a time and place knowing that they’ll do absolutely nothing, a friendly presence being the most important thing; and some can never utter words that reveal their inner emotions but reflect them with their facial expressions or actions instead.
Equally natural and mysterious, love is a term used both too commonly and not commonly enough.
It’s not as simple as a sentiment, it’s a lifestyle that can’t be categorised or easily recognised. Not limited to people, love can be expressed for just about anything we can – and can’t – fathom. Regardless of whether it’s circle theorems, midday naps, exhausting shopping hauls, or staring at the stars on a cloudless night, love is there with you.
It follows you around like a shadow forged from promises and happiness, laced with hope and healing and learning curves. It festers, but it’s not unwanted. It doesn’t have to touch you to fill you with power, with confidence, and sometimes, with a sense of overwhelming sadness that cannot be described.
Ultimately, love isn’t all about being comfortable, it’s more like accepting that you’re uncomfortable but managing to function nonetheless. In contrast to popular belief, love isn’t when you never feel upset and always feel on top of the world, it’s when you know you’re free to be melancholy because your sadness isn’t what defines you. Because, like it or not, love is what keeps the world spinning.
Of course, love is not two dimensional. Very few things are and abstract concepts can never be one of them, not as long as thoughtful beings like us are around to question, confuse, and complicate. Like most complex ideas, love can be painful and bitter and far more hurtful than even the sharpest of weapons, but it is always there, shifting and adapting, ready to battle on our behalf as soon as we believe in its existence.
So, why don’t we?
But then she is thirty, there is someone with her in the middle of nothing, someone real, someone there but he is a brunette with timid mannerisms, a small stature and she loses hope that he’ll ever lead to him. Still, he convinces her to fall with coffee instead of tea. He shows her book pages in wood-work and weather, writes the world on her feet until she finally – finally – lets him ink a star on her finger. They speak words they could never write and read emotions they were never told about.
Softly, I press my foot against your footsteps, divinely in touch with a place where you once were, a small simple connection, unseen to you. Onward you go and onward, always, I follow. I know where you’re going; you’re a creature of habit. That’s what makes it so easy.
Your warm breath twists and contorts in the bitterly cold atmosphere and I yearn to feel the same tortured warmth.
Sometimes, I’ll wrap myself in a sea of people, lost in my disguise, yet always my gaze is fixed on you. I lose you in a blind moment of panic, before you resurface, and I swear to never let you leave my sight.
I often wonder if you see me, feel me, know me in a similar depth to how I see, feel and know you. However, I pray to be invisible, unfelt and unknown as I’m perpetually terrified of losing sight, losing sense and losing you.
I recall our brief encounter that lived and died months ago, the ghost of which will always feel but a moment away to me. I remember the way you smiled, the way your breath stroked my face. My name escaped you, but nothing of you escaped me.
We’re connected in more ways than you think and in an infinite number of ways you’ll never know; I think it was meant to be so. My scrapbook of tokens and memories tells me this, as it whispers to me in the dark hours of the night. I finger each precious page of your existence and every item adds meaning to mine.
Softly, I press my foot against your footsteps, divinely in touch with you. As you walk away, you lead me on. I will always follow and perhaps one day remind you, I am just footsteps away.