You know, I love writing that—Dear Johnny—it brings me back to a time when I had romantic notions of love and life. Age changes that, something I know you understand. As children, we look at the world through glossy lenses of innocence and hope. Only beauty and love exists, and we can’t see a time when we will feel old or filled with regrets. Hell, we don’t even know what regret is. Our first love is something magical and total and we can see our future clearly with him. I wonder if all first loves are this way. It seems that mine was, with Matthew. It was sort of imaginary even in the moment. Like, I would suddenly wake up from a dream that a boy actually loved me, wanted me, thought I was perfect. When that first love ends, it is so tragic that it seems as if you will never, could never survive. But you learn. You realize that the pain made it beautiful, that without the hurt, the love would not be as poignant, as amazing.
As we grow older, we realize that love is something that is shaped by regret, sacrifice, pain, but also beauty, joy, and passion. We see that we can’t choose who we love, and our love runs deeper than we ever imagined possible. When we love like this, it is impossible to shake, impossible to ignore or run from. Romance still exists and just a touch or a look can bring us to our knees. Not only can you see a future, but a tangible, real and fully formed forecast of how your years will pan out, how your children will grow, and how you will sit together as old, wrinkled versions of your former selves and bask in a past filled with only joy and love.
Why can’t we stay in this place? This place of optimism and hope. This is how I loved you. I saw every moment of our lives, I felt every touch of your hand, every breath that you took. I loved you beyond words. And yet, all I seem to do is write words to you, about you, but most of all, for you.