And we sat there, on my parents' couch, whispering into each other's ears and laughing to ourselves; filling each other's heads with promises that we, or I at-least, knew would never be fulfilled. But when you're young and life is still black and white, heavy promises seem easy to make, and thought of breaking them is never a real concern.
We'd stay up late and ignore wondering parents, and we'd reminisce about days past and dream of what we thought was to come. We'd plan it all out and swear to make it happen, even though, secretly but mutually, we knew with each passing day, those plans would be less and less a possibility. Kind of like a favorite song that makes you want to live out the words, we made big plans to a great tune that was only going to sound good for a while.
And we'd continue on in a youthful bliss with only a small, lingering thought that with each new season came another lost promise; holding tightly to each other's hand because soon, we knew, would be the last time we'd reach out for one another. We'd play the part and it was sweet, but things changed a little every day, and then we noticed that the way our hands fit together changed, too.
Then finally, one autumn when all the leaves were falling and the warmth of the sun had fallen short and so had the days, we realized we weren't the starry-eyed kids on our parents' couches. We started feeling the weight of those promises that had seemed so light and easy before, and the way our hands had changed became too noticeable to hold on to, so we let go. One before the other, but simultaneously in thought.
We sat for a while, discussing the inevitable and laughing about the days when life was simple and making the promise was the hardest part. Then the night came, colder and darker than the nights before, and finally he turned to leave with a bag of his things and the memory of young love. As I watched him walk away, I studied his familiar sway and the way he looked so strong, even though I knew, on the inside he was broken and weak, and I felt a twinge of regret and a longing for the days when I knew his walking away just meant it would only be a few hours until I saw him again. But then I looked at my hand, and at myself in the mirror, and I knew in the morning I would be a new girl and he, a new boy, and we would understand why a little more every day.
And then I carried on with the realization that, in time though unsure of when, I would eventually make those heavy promises again after I fully understood their weight, and I would take the hand of a boy, and that over time our hands would grow and change, but the changes would make them fit tighter. And I knew that those heavy promises would never be broken, but fulfilled and made good. But I knew also, that one day I'd come back to the starry-eyed boy and the girl I was once.
I knew I'd have to come back to those two, and though I would know that we were just kids, I'd have to smile at the simplicity of being young and in love. I knew I'd come back to that time after seeing him on the street, and the life he would make for himself might always somehow be connected with mine, but it might also be different and set far apart.
I know, though, that I'll always want the best for him, and though the love I once had for him and shared with him faded away with the fall leaves of school days, I'll always feel the space in my heart that a first love leaves, and I'll always wonder if he is okay, and I'll always want him to be.
And though I'll give my heart away to a boy whose hand will always fit in mine no matter how they change, I'll smile at the memories and share stories of those starry-eyed days, and I'll always be thankful to the boy who showed me a little bit of what life would hold and a lot of what I didn't really know.
And I know, then, I'll go home to this new boy and I'll see him smiling, oblivious to the girl I was all those years ago, but so in love with the girl I've come to be, and I'll stand in the door and smile back at him. I'll be aware for the first time that I haven't a clue about the boy he used to be or the promises he once made with a girl whose hand had changed. At that moment, I'll fall even more into the freedom of forever. Then I'll take my spot next to him, more thankful now than ever for the boy and the girl that shaped our hearts and left a space, because without them, we would not be us. And it will be our couch where we sit, holding hands that fit perfectly together, whispering into each other's ears, making promises that we know will be fulfilled in only a moment's time, each of us, secretly but together, feeling an excitement that only comes from the real promise of a forever love.
And I'll know I am finally the woman I'm supposed to be, and I'll finally have found the man to make my life beside. The man who I'll live out the promises with- thankful so and understanding why it could never work out with those who came before.