At 20 years old, love is still a four-letter word I cannot explain. To put it simply, I guess love is just love: it can’t be put into a particular amount of words. Sometimes, I think it’s limitless. Love cannot be taught, yet once it presents itself, it is undoubtedly known.
With love there’s usually a relationship, whether friendship, family, or more.
But what happens when that limitless feeling isn’t mutual?
You can assume there will be heartbreak, but honestly, I wonder if that would be too easy. Maybe the most beautiful aspect of love is that it can exist without any reciprocation. Maybe that is the ultimate form of love– the kind that does not require anything or ask anything in return.
When I reflect on my past relationships, it’s my last one that eats at me the most. He was absolutely wonderful, the type of guy my mother always dreamed of for me. He did some wrong, but so did I; we’re only human.
So what happened?
The cliché breakup line, “It’s not you, it’s me” became my motto after our split. I truly thought that I was the person responsible. Why couldn’t I reciprocate his love? Was I a heartless monster? Because what we had was, I thought, just one-sided love. And I thought that was my fault.
But once it was over, I realized it really wasn’t over at all.
I may not have loved him the way he loved me, but I did care about him. So I guess love really is just love.
Although we have not spoken since the split, and while the last things he said to me were hurtful, I hope he has healed.
It’s been more than a year, and I can now say that I still love him, just maybe not with the kind of love he had for me.
The love I have for him is what I call infinite care.
And it’s limitless, even if our relationship met its limit.
I love him in this way knowing he probably doesn’t feel the same anymore. And that is completely okay. I don’t need anything in return. I just want to love the people I love, even if that four-letter word is something I barely understand.
Photo taken by the lovely and, literally, darling, Colleen Scobie.