Every child remembers their first puppy. Their first kitten. Their first goldfish. Their first experience at loving something without really knowing the word or what it meant. It came so natural and without strings. A lick. A purr. Watching a turtle do nothing for hours. Or simply tracing your finger along the glass of the aquarium.
In the short span of years following that revelation a new door is opened up and we discover that boys and girls are different. That person who was your best friend is now something quite different when you think about them. Maybe not love, but more than like, and it didn’t matter if you were teasing them. Or roughing it up. Or just having a coke in a booth at the local Dairy Queen. It all felt the same.
Until high school the seriousness of what love meant was not wholly important or even an emotional prerequisite in your relationships. Then without warning and without knowing why, it was important that he or she feel the same way back for you. Suddenly it hurt when they didn’t. Life has now become so much more complicated. It was no longer as simple as tracing your finger on the aquarium glass anymore.
Looking back it isn’t any wonder why we can’t seem to get it right. There aren’t any set rules for love. No one to teach us in the art of loving. No graduation to the next level. No preparation for the expectations that being in love has on you. One minute you are rolling on the floor with a new puppy.. and the next.. you have failed miserably at the majority of every relationship you ever had.
In each of our lives we have loved and will love many. But only a few.. probably less than five.. will have tethered themselves to our heart. Those few were truly loved, and it is those few who remain behind when that door is finally closed.
Between all of the laughter and the tears.. beneath all of the memories.. and behind that door that once was opened so many years ago.. what I know about love is this.. it always hurts.. and it always ends. Nothing is forever.