Love is not a choice.
Love is not a curse.
Love is a fair game,
Until the other team takes the ball.
I repeat the same stanza in my head as if my mind is a television set and on constant rewind. I sit in class, Mr. Jay acting as if he is actually grading when in reality I can see the reflection of the solitaire game pulled up on his computer from the whiteboard. I am not really the poetic type but I am being forced to write a poem by the time the bell rings in exactly eight minutes.
I don’t know what to write. My pencil is hovering over the lined paper, hesitation reining over any slight creative impulse my mind might encompass. As I begin to doodle little hearts and flowers on the side of the page, I notice that the third line from the bottom is a much darker blue than the rest. Was it an accident? As all of these things randomly pop up on the surface of my mind, deeper inside my head all I can think about is Brock. Promise me we’ll be friends were the last five words he spoke to me. I nodded at his question that was expressed as a statement because if I talked, the lump in my throat that I was trying to swallow down would explode making the tears that I was holding back pour out. That was a week ago and we haven’t talked since.
Love requests of us to be loyal to thy partner.
Thy? That doesn’t sound right but Shakespeare uses it a lot, doesn’t he? I wonder if Brock will take the usual way up the stairs, the same way he’s taken all year. The way where we run into each other right between room 105 and 107. The way where we stop to talk and kiss and laugh for almost five minutes leaving us with barely thirty seconds to get to our next classes. What if he takes a different way today? He didn’t last week because he was sick- well besides the day we broke up. Maybe he is just as upset as I am. Or maybe I am letting hope get in the way of reality.
Love is like the ocean,
Just when you think it’s calm a big wave will come crashing down on you.
How cliché does that sound? I don’t know what to say. Four minutes remain and I still have a whole stanza left. I know what love is but I don’t know how to describe it. I remember the first time I knew I was in love. Brock and I were at the drive-ins. He brought a twelve pack of Budweiser that he snuck from his dad’s fridge.
“Two tickets for The Town,” he said to the woman at the ticket counter we pulled up to.
She handed him the tickets and we drove to screen five. It was extremely crowded. Brock put the back seats of his truck down so there would be more room for us. He turned the station on the radio to 109.3 just like the lady at the ticket counter told us to. We weren’t watching the movie though. Come on, two teenagers in a drive-in theater with a whole pack of beer to themselves? We kissed and cuddled and drank our happiness away until we reached all of our miseries and then drank that away too. Brock told me all about his parents’ divorce and his dad’s alcohol problem. I listened. I listened as he slurred on about the truth that he would never bring up to me again.
We began to play 21 questions in our tipsy state of mind.
“You first,” he encouraged me.
“Alright,” I don’t even remember what I asked but I remember being so numb that I forgot how to swallow down the last sip of my fourth beer.
When Brock asked me the twenty-first question what has been the happiest moment of your life so far? my buzz was beginning to fade off.
I thought about the question as much as I could for a lightweight who had just consumed four beers. I knew it had only been five months, but I loved Brock. I really did love him. It wasn’t a drunken decision. I had chosen to let him into my life and being with him was when I felt the happiest so that is exactly what I told him.
I notice the first line of my poem, Love is not a choice, and quickly erase it. It is very much a choice.
One minute until the bell rings. My mind is drifting off into memories that make realize I have known what love is all along. Screw this literary “thy”, “thou”, “tis” bullshit.
Love is a choice.
It comes along with this sort of feeling that is indescribable.
It differs for every animal.
It is not always blissful.
It is sure as hell not always fun.
It isn’t a roller coaster ride.
It isn’t an onion.
It isn’t an ocean.
It is just a part of life.
Just like eating and drinking and breathing.
Just like drinking alcohol, being in love is the best feeling.
But the hangover sucks.
The week that Brock and I broke up the drive-ins closed down. His father went to rehab. I got into college. He had to move in with his grandmother. My dog had to be put to sleep. Even with all of this change, time does not stop. It will never stop. Life goes on and it keeps moving. Brock said that when we broke up. With life comes changes but we must move on and leave the past where it belongs so that time does not leave us behind.