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I love lots of things. My family. My dog. The stuffed cat that I carried around on my arm throughout childhood. I love chocolate and pocket watches and road trips and sleeping in late. I love books and writing. I love movies and familiar songs playing too loud through my headphones. I love God and my grandparents and the times when I feel pretty. I love flying. And hamburgers.

But I didn’t know what love really feels like until one day at work. You were waiting for me when I took my lunch. We sat outside on the bench. It was just the beginning of us. You had told me you loved me. You were always ahead of me that way. You had told me you wanted to be with me forever and hug me and hold my hand and kiss me. I was still young, not uncertain but glaringly new at this thing. This love thing.

We talked as 30 minutes slipped by with frightful swiftness. I had to go. Back to the drudgery of work. We stood up. Suddenly. Without thinking. I put my arms around you. It was the first time we had really touched. I put my head on your chest. Your arms wrapped around me. Holding me so tight. After 18 years of wandering, I suddenly felt like I was where I belonged.

We slipped apart after a few minutes and walked together back inside. I slipped my hand into yours. I was so happy.

As we separated, you took my hand and pressed it to your lips. 

That’s when I understood love. Staring at a person who just took my whole heart, stealing it piece by piece by pure love and sincerity. By giving me all of his heart first. To look at a person and see your life. Your hope. Your soul in their eyes and to know you need nothing in this life except for him. 

To love and to be loved. Completely. Honestly. 

Happy Valentine’s Day to my first and forever love.