Thursday, December 8, 2022

Sex and the SUNY: Better to have loved and lost

Love is a box full of nights beneath a solar eclipse, sunsets along a rocky beach and midnight sex inside a thin tent.
At least that’s what hides in my box right now.

It’s hard to open that box once the love stops entering it. Is it even love anymore? Opening that box to keep memories alive is way more difficult than opening it to add memories. It’s a pain college students have to struggle with.
I know I do.

Right now, love has only one face for me: a blue-eyed boy with dreamy, creamy skin and gold soft hair. I met him when I lived in California for a semester. And though I explicitly told myself I wouldn’t fall in love in California, love can’t be fought. It’ll happen anyway.

This guy was it. We read books together at the park, often stealing glances at each other that would end with a sweet kiss. I cooked him breakfast every morning I could. I don’t cook breakfast for myself most days.
But this guy was it.

At least for the moment.

Certainty doesn’t exist for most college students. In the midst of their feelings and love haze, they forget where they are in life. They forget about their dreams. And because that person becomes the dream, they expect they become the dream for that person, too.

At least I did.

I fell in love, man. Like I crashed into this crazy bright light of beauty and magic and wonder and disbelief. I couldn’t believe it. Most mornings, I woke up before he did and would gaze at his perfect face and ask myself, “How am I this lucky?”

But when it dawned on me that he was actually moving to the other side of the world to follow his dream, reality hit. Things got real then.

And while we tried to stay in contact, he found someone new. He had a new life to live. As he said, “You mean the world to me, but for now we’re worlds apart.”

And we were. We still are.

I’m only 21 years old. Most students aren’t older than 22. At this age of confusion and weirdness, only so much is in their control. Sometimes, love isn’t enough. But that doesn’t mean we let disappointment ruin us. So what if nothing is forever? So what if we fall in love only to fall apart afterward?

Most days, I feel scared to open my box of love. I try my hardest to ignore it and pretend it never existed.

But other days, I open that box. While it’s full of heartbreak, it’s also full of warmth. It’s full of love, love that gave sex meaning. Love that made my heart flutter, knowing I’d see that guy soon. Love that still gives me butterflies.

It’s hard for me to imagine feeling that way about anyone again, but it’ll happen. My box of love was once filled with different moments, moments shared with an old love.

It may seem impossible at the moment, but the box I’m afraid to open won’t need my opening eventually. Before I know it, someone else will come along and open it for me, creating new memories to help ease the pain of the old.

In the meantime, I remind myself that there’s beauty in the breakdown.

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