by Jeremy Danté

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chapter seven. “you carry the burden of a heartbreak that is not your own” she told me, as i sat there with her in target where they were serving starbucks coffee. i was wearing nike running shorts, my signature five panel cap and had come in for nothing more than a gallon of water and gum. she spotted me, and i suppose was responsive to my energy. she told me other things that were more validating for me. that of which will remain private and locked away, as many of her readings were very personal stories about life-long struggles i have carried and taken on for others who have both loved, and lost in my life.

from school boy crushes and love letters penned, long ago are the beginnings of my love stories. in this phase, love lost is never love forgotten. and this history with love, though longing, is a record that i am proud of. my stories of love show resilience, belief, hope and adoration. from the days i would sit in my room, against the speaker, listening to love songs and resonating with the feeling. or when i would sit and write to sort through my own developing feelings for someone- i’ve mastered the process of falling in love and securing what comes next. in today’s context, these moments still complicate realities for me. as a foundational element of my development, this part of my personality drives all aspects of passion. whether in contrast of shy or reserved nature, or the gunning emotion i feel to just go for it- it’s all inclusive.

these aspects of myself bleed into my love of inspiration, my love for development and my compassion for moments of struggle, seen also in my hope and strength to continue the good fight. many of my stories of love lost include moments of abandon, my worst fear being, ultimately, to be forgotten. in many of my artistic skills, i try to make each moment an experience. to touch a heart, move a mind or shift perception- all sourced from the fear that love will be lost, or worse- forgotten. whether i’ve created boundaries or walked away from past loves in life, the love has always lived on. in my current space, lingering like smoke- the same concept persists. yeah, i may have pawned the engagement ring, but i kept tattoo, and i still show respect. i still have hope, even though moments have past, in some cases years have gone by, but i still hold to hope. as crazy as all of it sounds.

love, to me, is an investment. if i love you, i respect you and allow you in where no one else can enter. i’ll hold you close and never let go- as a challenge, not even when you ask me to. it’s ever fleeting, unrelenting, it’s consistent- persistent and can suck you in. it’s pure, and to some, unrecognized. it’s confident without being overwhelmingly so, and it thrives on the nature to connect, reshape and revitalize with each smile shared or disagreement looked past. it’s the thought that keeps me up at night, or the light tug that i feel when i remember that i can’t call you or i miss hearing your voice. it’s an idea of romance that is forever inspired, keeps you looking toward the future with a little bit of sadness from the past. but you can never forget that it happened; maybe it’s not lost- just hiding somewhere, or looking for you while  you are looking for it at the same exact time.

in my own literary world, in my emotional story board- these moments haunt me. some comfort me, and others remind me of what i’ve overcome. my love is forever forgiving, forever thriving and boundless. all it takes is understanding, patience and time. to all those i’ve loved, i have pushed myself to love more beyond you, in an effort to rise above and past the pain from our interaction. where i am now, i have been willfully equipped to love in stronger, more resilient ways. love is my strongest suiting of armor. though i spare no space in being quick to respond, at time easily angered, i am also sensitively forgiving and vulnerably available to reason, talk and reconnect. with pain acting as the teacher, and love remaining the connector- i push forward, knowing which love i’ve lost and which love will live forever. i’ve learned to depart, remain connected and rediscover with strength in love. and now, this love story will reveal itself in a new way. i’ve collected only a few, but in this collective each of you wear crowns, some shining brighter than others but each in your own special way. while you may have lost your love for me, just know that somewhere, not too far from where we used to be, i still sit and wait for you. and i always will.

for my greatest moments of love
may your memories shine forever