Until I was ten, my thoughts on love consisted of pink construction paper and empty shoeboxes.  Love equaled a day without learning and schoolwork.  And I was all for love if that was the case.  It was a competition to see who had the best, cutest, most awesome Valentines.  I usually didn’t win but I liked mine all the same.  Love also meant I had to “love” everybody.   Everybody got a card, everybody got a sucker, which was probably the best unspoken rule of the day.   It was a conflicting emotion of wanting someone to notice me but also wanting to be utterly invisible.  Love was made with tape and glue and paper hearts that were always crooked.

When I was eleven, love was the thing that we talked about a lot in Sunday school.  “God loves me” was still explained with arts and crafts that did nothing but make my fingers sticky.

When I was thirteen, I saw love when I walked past my mother’s bathroom mirror and found words written in lipstick: “I love you, baby.”  And it was just a plain old Tuesday.

When I was sixteen, love was real sometimes and other times it wasn’t.  It became a more fickle creature than I had ever known it to be.  I noticed that it seemed to evaporate left and right and I decided I wanted nothing to do with it.

When I was nineteen, I changed my tune.  I didn’t mind it for other people, I just wasn’t a fan.

Now I am twenty and I think maybe love is not so bad.  If my parents and my grandparents and my great-grandparents and countless others can do it, so can I.  Sure, the tape loses its grip and the pink construction paper fades to mauve, but I think maybe, if you’re willing to accept that, love can last forever.