I thought I knew exactly what love was. When I was fifteen. Love had wispy hair like Justin Bieber. He wore skinny jeans and played guitar. Love called me "princess." Love didn't have respect, though. He didn't have manners, chew with his mouth closed, or knew when to stop. Even after repeatedly screaming no. This love didn't stay when charges were pressed.
I thought I knew exactly what love was. When I was sixteen. He drove a Chevy Silverado with a monster sticker in the rear window. He wore jeans that had more bling than mine. He thrived on chewing tobacco and near death experiences. Love was careless, reckless, and not for me. Love teased me for studying and staying sober. Love didn't stay when I was honest.
I though I knew exactly what love was. When I was seventeen. Love was blonde with blue eyes. He was six feet tall, precisely six inches taller than me. Love wore glasses and had the same music taste as I did. But, love didn't like to read for fun- or respect my fun for that matter. This love didn't pick up on social cues and caused me more embarrassment and shame than butterflies and happiness. Love didn't stay when I told him "no."
I thought I knew exactly what love was. When I was eighteen. Love wore a military uniform. Love was a firefighter and knew how to defend himself. Love was short, though. I towered over him. Not like the love I'd always imagined. Love was sweet, like the licorice I'd later use to pull you out of hell later on. Love was genuine. Until deployment. Love was fun and games until my heart shattered like the coffee cup you'd thrown at me. This love didn't stay when I threw one back.
I thought I knew exactly what love was. When I was nineteen. Love knew how to work hard. By day he wore a suit and tie, while at night it was blue Levi's and Carhart coveralls. Love wasn't blonde. Love wasn't Norwegian like mom wanted. Love laughed at my jokes. Love was encouraging. Supportive. My cheerleader. When love came around, my heart skipped a beat and the butterflies in my stomach came to life. When love came around, I was loved and cherished and worthy. But then love left. Or, I left love. Love didn't stay when I became too much to handle. Love didn't stay when I needed him to.
But, nineteen-year-old love came back. It came back bigger and better than ever. More determined and grown up. Love came back ready for more with open arms. But, when love came back, I didn't know exactly what love was anymore. I didn't know what it was supposed to look like. I didn't know the sound of love's voice. I forgot how love's body felt next to mine. When love came back, I hardly recognized him. With new favorite songs, a new job, a new home, and a new mindset, I didn't know what it was I was looking at. It was like looking into a black hole, looking at him. I didn't know what was inside.
I still don't know what's inside of you, this black hole I am trying to configure. I don't know what lies inside of you. I don't know what's changed. And I most certainly do not know what love looks like anymore. Love doesn't feel the same, look the same, or talk the same. But love still laughs at my jokes. Love sounds like he can handle the storm that I am. Love came back. But I didn't stay for love, this time.