Love is a concept that ties people together.
People feel obligated to the ones they love.
Love is unconditional or conditional, depending on who you ask.
Love hurts when it stops working.
Vampires suck blood.
Vampires are immortal but not necessarily happy about that.
The sexiest Vampire is Eric, not Bill from True Blood.
Vampire is a concept that ties people together.
People feel obligated to the ones they vampire.
Vampire is unconditional or conditional, depending on who you ask.
Vampire hurts when it stops working.
Love suck blood.
Love are immortal but not necessarily happy about that.
The sexiest Love is Eric, not Bill from True Blood.
A Trick of the Light
“Love is immortal, but not necessarily happy about that.”
People like to pretend that love has a start and stop date, that it can be swept up with a broom into a dust pan and tossed into the trash. It can be carried out to the bin on the side of the house and rolled out to the curb on Tuesday evenings. And then we can dust the bits of detritus from our hands and be done with love.
But the truth is love does not have an expiration. You cannot rescind an offer or pretend it never existed. Love is immortal. Once we feel it, we carry it with us no matter how far away and long ago we left it behind. Knowing that love never ends does not mean it makes us happy.
My first love: unrequited, unconsummated, unspoken. It grew in quiet moments across a half a dozen years, on car rides and rollercoasters, a deep bass soundtrack pumping through your car speakers, as deep as the thump of my heart when you reached for my hand on a beach in Kihei. Everyone else on that trip saw it. They whispered, “What’s up between those two?”
I thought that would be the night, drunk on Long Island ice teas, when you would admit you felt the same as me. That you’d say you only hesitated because you worried the truth would ruin our friendship.
And so alone in a rented condo, I stood up on my tiptoes, stretching up toward your red lips, the alcohol breath swirling in the air between us. Instead, you pushed me back. Not violently, but firmly. All the love sank down into my stomach. I ran to the bathroom and vomited out the humiliation and the pain of rejection, but the love stayed in my blood stream.
Even after I moved away from you, stopped speaking to you, fell in love with other people who loved me back. That love is still there, seeped into my DNA.
My last love: unconsummated, unspoken. Maybe unrequited, but perhaps it is too soon to say. This love snuck in sudden and uninvited. My insides spark up when I catch his eyes the same vivid blue shade as yours, like the sky when the fog clears from the coast. I detect the hint of a smile on his pink lips while he watches me laugh in meetings. I look for him through the crowds of our day, watch to see if he turns my way at the end of the hall for one last glimpse of me, count the times he pauses to say good morning and good night.
This new love has your same name, your hair style, a way of touching my arm when he shares something in confidence. And I wonder sometimes if this new love is just a trick of the light. Because if I squint my eyes when he reaches for my arm, I swear it could be you.
Melissa Flores Anderson (she/her) is a Latinx Californian who lives with her son and husband. A 2023 Best of the Net nominee for CNF, her creative work has been published in more than two dozen journals or anthologies, and she is a reader/editor with Roi Fainéant Press. She has co-authored a novelette, “Roadkill,” that is forthcoming with Emerge Literary Journal. Follow her on Twitter and Bluesky @melissacuisine or IG/Threads @theirishmonths. Read her work at melissafloresandersonwrites.com.