La Douleur Exquise: the heart-wrenching pain of wanting someone you can’t have.
A suburban American mall, where starry-eyed young hearts go to find love.
Out late past curfew, we’re in his parent’s backyard making love on a red sleeping bag under the stars.
Drinking cheap, illegally bought wine, we become intoxicated with the delights of each other’s bodies.
We’re convinced young love can conquer the world. We’re also young and foolish, and think we have all the time in the world.
The summer moves fast and a new school year means saying goodbye.
It’s the first time my heart breaks.
His steps are heavy as he walks away, leaving me to sit and cry on my parent’s front porch—a no longer naïve little girl crying into my mothers arms.
I don’t think the world will continue.
My biggest worry now is who will take me to prom. Will he return?
I stop myself from running to the road. I want to make a grand scene and stand in front of his car begging him to stay.
But no. I sit and watch him drive off to the other side of the country and a different life without me.
Retrouvailles: the happiness of meeting again after a long time.
An airport, where weary jaded hearts look for long-lost love hoping to reignite a spark of lust, dare even of love.
Though the wine is more expensive now, the elixir of skin and scent and arousal still intoxicate us.
The world may have conquered us, but for this moment we feel young. We’re both alive again for the first time in a long time. It’s a chance to rediscover the pleasures of staying up all night talking, laughing, crying and loving.
Yet we are also wiser now and know that time is no longer on our side. All too soon it will be time to say goodbye. Holding on to him, my heart again aches. How many times can a heart break before it dies?
Sitting at the airport gate, my flight is called. This time, it is I who walk away with heavy steps.
The world continues around me as people store their luggage and claim their space. There is no one to comfort me as I take my seat and wipe my tears.
My worry now is will there be another plane ride? When? How soon?
I snap my seatbelt on. To prepare for take off as much to prevent me from making a grand scene running off the plane saying: no, stay. Stay with me this time.
I stare out the window as we ascend into the clouds, flying back across the country to a different life without him.
Jusqu’à ce que nous nous reverrons: until we meet again.
Author: Jennifer Williams-Fields
Editor: Evan Yerburgh