Love-Drugged for valentine's day

River Bennett (photography Bel Pangburn for

I think I still have the hand-folded, pink paper rose that he threw down to me from the window of his classroom. 

My friends whispered in frenzied anticipation, with a hint of jealousy, I could tell, as they begged me to go and get it. 

I asked my teacher if I could be excused from class to go to "the bathroom" and I ran with butterflies flying madly in my stomach, to the place where the rose fell.
I looked up to his classroom. He looked down and smiled as he mouthed, "Happy Valentines Day". 

I completely died on the inside. My heart raced beyond what I thought it was capable of surviving. 

I smiled and then raced back to class holding my rose, drugged high on teenage love.

He got me. He had completely won me over. 

As I walked back to my desk, my friends silently shrieked while the rest of the class continued on the topic of Geography. 

"Oh my goodness! You guys are so going to get married......." the girl next to me said in a daze as she stared out the window, "Why do you always get the good looking older guys? You are soo lucky."

Lucky I was. That Valentines Day a lifetime ago, still makes me smile.

Young love is so wild. The crazed romance. The giddy excitement. To live in a mystery. The late nights of talking and making out in the back seat of the car. It's the kind of love where it's worth being vulnerable and let your heart go for the pure exhilariation of living in the moment.

Then there is the Forever Love. 

Their romance story had lasted over 64 yrs. and every day they had smiled at each other as though it were the first time they'd met.
My Nan, Enid, would watch my Pa, Colin, walk past her house every day as he travelled to work. 

"I will marry that man one day," she would say to her sister, and they giggled together talking about how handsome he looked in his suit and tie.

And that's exactly what she did. 

In 1948 Enid said "I do" to Colin.

They didn't have enough money to buy a wedding gown or even celebrate with friends. But their love joined them together in front of a celebrant that day. 

 Sixty four years on, though their bodies were slowing down and memories are deteriorating quickly, they still said "I love you, darling" every day, and he still called her "The most beautiful woman", and she, "The most handsome man." 

They held hands and kissed each other on their sweet, old wrinkled lips. And he continued to care for her. Till death did indeed part them. 

It was a love worth celebrating.

Many people are scared to love, with walls like steel mounted up around their heart in protest.  Holding back that which they were created to do, scared of being wounded internally forever, and left with a broken heart.

But, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” - C.S Lewis

So this Valentines Day why not take a wild risk and tell that person how you feel!

To love is to be vulnerable. 

Happy Valentines Day lovebirds. 

River XO