You’re Never Too Young to Fall in Love

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You’re Never Too Young to Fall in Love

By Jenna George

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I’m 17, and I’m falling in love.

I used to think that high school relationships were a joke. “How does someone ‘fall in love’ at such a young age?” Thinking about it made me laugh.

“They don’t,” I wrote. “It’s all a joke. You can’t fall in love in high school; that’s just not realistic, xoxo 2:43 a.m.” I signed the date: September 7, 2015 and closed the journal, which documents every single aspect of my life.

Who was I to tell someone how they felt, and who was I to judge a feeling that I was never lucky enough to experience? It’s possible to love, but impossible to be in love? Almost six months later, I am now laughing at myself for the mere reason that I’m an idiot.

I met Brice on November 28, 2015 at a friend’s house. He was stopping by to drop off cookies for her, and I was there by coincidence. The doorbell rang, and I got up to answer it because I treated her house as if it was my own. When I opened the door, I wasn’t expecting to feel the way that I did just by looking at another human being.

I looked at him and took a double take. He was about 5′ 10″ wearing a Beloit Baseball T-shirt and sweatpants. His eyes were a beautiful mix of brown and yellow, and I almost couldn’t bring myself to speak.

“Hi…” I managed.

He smiled at me, a perfect smile. “Hey,” he said and gave a little wave. That was it; one word, one hand gesture, and I knew that my life would never be the same again.

I wasn’t in love just yet, obviously. But in that moment I knew that it was possible. Being in love has nothing to do with how old you are, but it has everything to do with who you know and what you’ve been through.

I’ve been through a few heartbreaks, the typical short-lived relationships. The ones where I was just lonely and wanted someone to spend my time with. I wasn’t truly falling for them, but I liked to trick myself into believing that they were much more important to me than the reality of it. Regardless, heartbreaks are heartbreaks, and it only made me more aware of who I was willing to let in. I became very protective over my own heart.

But with Brice, something was different. I let him in and from that moment forward, my feelings grew. Was I falling in love?

For a while I loved him, and that’s all it was. But then one night everything changed.

My uncle flew in from Arizona over winter break and offered to take my family out to dinner. He invited a cousin of mine and an old family friend as well, but he also extended the offer out to my boyfriend.

“Jenna, I would really love it if you brought your boyfriend out to dinner with us tonight! You guys look so happy, and it will be a lot of fun. We are going to Chicago Cut Steakhouse downtown. Please consider it?”

I was really iffy about inviting him because it was early in our relationship, and he hadn’t met my extended family, but at the same time I was also interested in seeing how the night would play out, so I went for it.

It started out like any other date we’d ever been on, the two of us driving to our intended destination. But everything changed when we got there. My family was waiting for us at our table inside. We walked in and sat down; me at the corner and him to my left, which was a mistake because I’m a lefty. Either way, though, we sat, engaged in conversation, laughed, and had a good time. Everything was normal, everything was simple.

However, it didn’t stay simple.

There was a moment when my hands were in my lap and he was teaching my little sister how to fold a napkin.

“I took a cooking class in high school and this is one of the only things I remember,” he said.

“How to fold a napkin?” I replied and he just laughed. “Yep, judge me for it,” but I just smiled. Seconds later he put down the napkin; however, I wasn’t paying attention. I was talking to my cousin about school when I felt it. Brice took my hand off of my thigh and just held it. He kissed me on the cheek and said, “You’re beautiful,” and something changed. I had a realization. I didn’t just love this boy, I was falling in love.

Being in love is completely different from just loving someone. Being in love is being infatuated, head over heels, captivated. It’s wanting to be your better self around them, for them. It’s wanting to spend every single waking moment with somebody. It’s the butterflies you get when you see that person. It’s the spark in your eyes when they say something you’ve been dying to hear. It’s the skip in your heartbeat when you feel them grab your hand. It’s never getting bored; it’s always wanting more. Being in love is a game changer. Suddenly it’s not wanting what’s best for someone, it’s being what’s best for someone. It’s when you finally know what you want. Being in love is never easy, but if it’s done right, it’s so incredibly worth it.

To my disappointment, Brice was going back to continue his freshman year at Beloit College in less than a month. Granted he was only an hour away, but that’s 40 minutes farther than usual.

I became hesitant. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to look into those beautiful brown, yellow eyes every day. I knew I wouldn’t be able to fall even harder because of that smile. I knew that things were going to change, and I wasn’t ready.

January 16, 2016 was the night before he was supposed to go back to school. I walked him to his car and we stood in the street. I looked at the time: 12:03 a.m. His curfew was midnight.

“You really have to go,” I said. The streetlights made his face look like it was glowing. “I know,” he whispered.

“I’ll see you in two weeks,” I said. I hugged him and turned around to walk away. He pulled me back and kissed me, “Twelve days, actually,” he said, and I smiled as a tear fell down my right cheek. “Twelve days,” I repeated back. I watched him drive away into the black night.

Being in love is crazy; it’s wild. It’s falling in love with every single part of a person. Their flaws, their bad habits. Falling in love happens all at once. There comes a moment when you realize that you can’t imagine your life without this person, a moment of tranquility; a moment when you finally realize you’ve found just exactly what you’ve been looking for in another human being. Maybe meeting your soulmate at 15, 16, 17, or even 18 seems unlikely, but unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. Just because you’re in high school doesn’t mean you’re too young to find your happy ending, and it’s never too early to start searching.

I’ve never been so scared, or overwhelmed, or attached to someone. I’ve never been on a ride like this one before; but what else can I expect? I’m 17, and I have fallen in love.