Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ~ Lao Tzu
He was brooding with a mop of strawberry blonde hair that hung over his speckled blue eyes. And I’m not sure if he was shy, but the fact that he didn’t talk to anyone was enough to add to the mystery. He had come from an all boys school and looked like he really didn’t give a f***. He was a silent rebel, which made him all the more appealing.
I never even talked to the guy and couldn’t tell you his name, but as I sat across from him in art class I couldn’t help but be curious. You see, it was always the unassuming quiet guys that piqued my interest and made me want to know more…
Valentine’s Day is almost on our doorstep and it takes me back to memories of unrequited love.
I was 11 years old the year I was stalked and taunted by a boy at school. He was blonde with tanned skin and he would follow me around at lunchtime, watching me intently with his scary piercing blue eyes. Sometimes he would gang up on me with his friends. One afternoon he cornered me against a classroom wall with the legs of a chair so that I was pinned there and couldn’t move.
This kid would often hang around outside my house and throw stones and I used to have nightmares that I couldn’t escape from him. Even driving past his house gave me the shivers. Was he a future rapist, or just a kid with a crush so bad that he didn’t quite know what to do with himself?
For anyone who has ever had a crush: there’s always a fine line between liking someone and bordering on exercising your power as a psychopathic stalker.
A few years later, I received my first handmade Valentine’s Day card. It was a cool mid-morning and we were waiting for our teacher to arrive. Wondering who the card might be from, I turned to the back of the room and was swiftly met with the smiling face of PB staring back at me; his face turning a bright shade of beetroot pink with ears so red I thought they’d set themselves alight.
PB was a smart kid with dark curly hair, fair skin and glasses. He was nice, but I never thought about him in ‘that way.’ He was just too straight, and nowhere near mysterious enough.
Looking back now, I think about the card as a nice gesture. But when you’re fourteen, the only kind of attention you want is from someone you have a crush on yourself. Unfortunately, his offering didn’t send my heart fluttering. Instead, I was half flattered, half disappointed (that it wasn’t from someone else), and completely and utterly embarrassed.
What next.Would he ask me out? Needless to say, I did the only thing I could. I avoided him from that day on.
Then a year later, I had my first real boyfriend.
It may have lasted a few months, or maybe even 6 weeks. He never spoke to me at school, but we hung out together in the weekends along with his other friends. We’d ride our bikes around the neighbourhood at night, and once I even picked the garage lock just so that I could grab my bike — against my parents wishes — and head out with them.
But the day finally came.The inevitable break-up that I never saw coming. He’d sent it via post in a white envelope and I was devastated to find the chocolate heart I had sent him the week before, returned to me, broken in half.
I was so distraught that I couldn’t even read the letter. This love was finally over and it sent my 15-year-old heart ricocheting into pieces. It was like he’d violently wrenched it out of my chest and wrung it out like a heavy mud-soaked sheet. My heart was beyond repair.
I cried silent tears at first, until it was all too much and I forced my face into my pillow to stifle some rather dramatic and funny wailing sounds. A year later, I changed schools and couldn’t even remember his last name…
For me, love has always been about relishing the emotional highs and lows. There’s the excitement of the early stages of the knowing and not knowing, the thrill of a chase that sometimes ends with someone falling flat on their face. Awkward conversations from trying too hard to break through shyness (even into my early twenties), and thinking maybe I just wasn’t enough.
But that’s the thing about life experience — finding true love is like shopping for the perfect dress. If it bunches in the wrong places and leaves you looking like you crawled out of a shallow grave along with a community of the post-apocalyptic zombies, then it was never meant to be.
Because true love is like that dress that makes you feel endlessly beautiful…and you never want to take off.