I must have been about 12 maybe 13 years old when I fell in love for the first time. He was from Brooklyn. I was from Queens. I used to visit my cousins on the weekends and he lived around the corner. He was somewhat quiet, but always had a joke on the low. There was a calm about him that I was drawn to. He was a year or two older than me.  And I loved his maturity. I’m not saying he was mature because he was older than me; he was mature because he just seemed to be very observant. Like an innocent by stander, he witnessed the streets of Brooklyn before he became the streets of Brooklyn. He had the biggest, brownest, saddest eyes, and whenever he saw me, I swear I saw a little happiness in them. It was as if he was afraid to smile, his lips would only shift upwards, but when I smiled at him his lips would part, a smile would take over his face and his head would drop slightly and he’d say, “What’s up, PSM?” I remember the feeling like it happened two hours ago. Innocence. His approach was timid, contemplative, but certain. He made me feel precious. Treasured. Valued. Irreplaceable. Delicate; I remember him holding my hand with both of his and running his thumbs along the back of my hand. He never said much. He didn’t have to. And while I was a young girl then, as a woman I know now that I have not been kissed with such sweet, innocent care since then.

His life was different than mine. He never talked about it, but like him, I was observant. I lived in two two family house with my mother; my cousins and uncles lived upstairs. I went to private school. My mother drove me to school everyday. I played sports after school and participated in after school programs. He went to school. But when hustling became an option for young dudes, he did. Most did it for the floss of it. ~PAUSE~ For those of you who aren’t up on common colloquialisms, floss means to show off.  So when I say the floss of it, I mean kids were doing to buy the latest sneakers, chains and clothing. Whatever their parents wouldn’t or couldn’t give them. ~PLAY~ I believe he did it to survive and for his family. Eventually he stopped going to school.

I cannot imagine what type of chaos was going on in his life and it really didn’t matter what was going on in mine. As young kids, seeing each other, talking to each other every night on the phone, flirting innocently, believing that our little romance was the most important thing in the world brought an unreal sense of peace to my life.

Peace, isn’t that love? Love should be the calm in our storms, be the peace in our chaotic lives. Unfortunately, far too often love IS the storm…