To Love and Be Loved - Notes I Took to Be a Romantic

October 5, 2020 / Gigi Chang

I enjoy watching the sunset on Mount Bonnell. The view seems vastly different when I go with different people: friends, love interests, and family. I found myself not only enjoying the view of nature and the company I had brought along but also the people on top of the mountain with us. People often bring their loved ones to the top of the mountain in hopes of making precious memories. I believe that we are all romantics underneath. Being a romantic goes beyond admiring a burnt red sky; it means having an idealized view of reality. We crave timeless bonds, hoping that the ones we love will stay. When I go back to Mount Bonnell, I wish the people I went with will continue to be in my life, and that our happiest memories linger. I want each storyline to blossom with everlasting beauty, instead of being just a dot on the timeline soon to be forgotten.

I. The One that Got Away

When I met my first love, I was in my most natural state: no fancy clothes, not an ounce of makeup on my face. He liked me when I was my most genuine self, and I felt so foolishly happy like discovering a new world when I was with him. We used to take evening walks after dinner together. Just the two of us walking on the empty streets, while the sun and the moon exchanged their positions in the sky. I do not even remember what we talked about, but the calmness and relaxation was addicting. I would look into his eyes and think to myself, “I would sacrifice anything to stay in this moment and keep this feeling.” But it did not last. I was not at my best self: I was dealing with a lot of issues with my family and other things I kept hidden because I did not want him to look at me differently. I thought the euphoria of innocent love would fade if his perception of me changed. As time passed, my unwillingness to share my pain turned our smiles stiffer, our conversations shorter and more distant. After a while, he started to take his evening walks with someone else.

If I had only learned to be a romantic back then, I would have asked him to wait for me. I would have told him that what we felt was real and that I needed him for more than just small-talk and evening walks. I realized that cutting others off as a way to cut off our pain was futile because I carried and transferred this pain into my other relationships. The strings in our lives would come close only if we let them. We have to be open and allow for help. Just like how strings are stronger when they are tied, pushing the person I cared about away did not strengthen our strings; instead, it loosened the tie and separated us.

II. The One that I Wish to Show My Love

When we were kids, we learned how to love from the people around us. I grew up in a household where yelling was seen as an effective form of communication. Saying  “sorry,” or “I love you,” was a sign of weakness, so we kept our love hidden, showing it seemed forbidden. I felt love through my mother’s cooking. She is not the perfect cook and often forced me to eat the veggies I hated. But the warmth of cooking and the hands that delivered the dishes gave me comfort I needed. This warm solace soon disappeared when the pandemic hit. The thought of not being able to protect my family physically hurt me, and the possibility of losing them made me realize how long I have been wanting to scream to them the three simple words. I want to tell them that in case it was too late. I want to look into my mom’s eyes the next time she puts the veggies in my bowl and tell her I know that was her way of telling “I love you”, and that I love her too.

III. The One that I Learned Support From

My friend and I both enjoy being hopelessly romantic under a burnt red sky. We dance at each other’s birthday parties, we hold each other’s hands when we cry. Whenever I am feeling down, I would walk to her place and lay on her bed sprinkled under starry lights and regain peace with her tranquil gaze. I know that we will always have each other, and this unconditional love reminds me of why my relationships with others matter. We need each other’s presence, to look at the stars together, to listen to old songs, and to have the best time. We all desire to love and be loved. Why can’t all my relationships hold the same amount of trust and comfort as my best friend and I’s? I hope that I can build relationships that are capable of being cherished and beautiful one day.

When has love been a waste of time? Looking upon all the loves I’ve had, all of them were unique and precious. As much as I selfishly want to keep those loves forever, some loves are seasonal. People come and go like the sun rises and falls. Sometimes making amends will not work, but we only have few chances and time period to remedy a loosened tie. My loved ones that passed by in my life taught me to be more open and vocal about love and cherish the bonds that I have. Being a hopeless romantic is appreciating the precious memories one shared with loved ones and printing them down to keep them forever. Being cared for reminds me of my self worth and to hold tight of the ones that make me feel special. I am waiting for the moment when I could go up to Mount Bonnell alone and look up at the sky, feeling content about my loved ones. I will want to yell out “I love you”, and the echoes I will hear will be the responses from the ones I love. I will know then, that I love everyone in my life wholeheartedly, as well as myself. The bonds I have made in the past will slowly and ceaselessly blossom into a more beautiful one.■

This article was written as a part of Spark Writing’s first annual summer workshop series, Words With Friends: A Spark Writer’s Summer!

Graphic By:
Jennifer Jimenez
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