I had no intention of writing this post. I came to Starbucks to write about other stuff. Not young love. But, sitting to my right are two twenty-somethings that have stolen my attention. Their love is joyful. Their love is open. Their love can be described using words like cherish and treasure. Their love comes from a place where eyelashes bat, hair twirls, and giggles ripple from between lips that tell gentle secrets.
They immediately held hands and leaned across the table as if the table forced them to be too far apart. They laughed with a familiarity that spoke of being both friends and lovers. I did not ask them about their story. I think it is fun to create their story from my imagination. They are juniors at the University of Cincinnati. They met at freshman orientation. She is studying political science and wants to go to law school. He is a history student and wants to be a professor. Their parents approve of their love. That is important. They have talked casually about what will happen after graduation, but have no real plan. They have time to work that out. They were at Starbucks after having gone to the Bengals game with her family who came down from Dayton.
Seeing them made me remember my first experience of love many years ago. I remember talking all night after seeing the moon over Cumberland Falls. I remember driving hours to spend the weekend together rafting the New River in West Virginia. (He was a river guide.) I remember hanging sheet rock in the school he was renovating for a family reading initiative. I remember staying in the trailer where he lived. I remember him holding my hand at the wedding of a high school friend. There was an innocence to that time.
The young love at the table next to me reminded me of that time. The possibility. The sweetness. They even made sharing their technology a ritual. They laughed with their whole bodies. They listened as if they were the only people in the room. Their eyes locked.
I am not sure the years are kind to young love. Decision. Loss. Challenge. Disappointment. Before we dig a ditch in Nicaragua and can’t talk about decisions that are deal breakers. Before we find ourselves refusing to tilt windmills and talking about how ducks mate for life. Before the amount of luggage we carry exceeds the weight limitation on the plane.
Somehow that couple gets it. Before they left, I took off my earphones just to hear the lilt in their voices that their bodies had been expressing. I wish I could bottle that sound to help me remember.