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Love to love you.

"I love LOVE."

The three words I'd been waiting for. I've been listening as her friends declared small and large crushes over the past few years, but no declarations from my little lady. Until today. It's here, flopped on my bed, embarrassed to surface, this love of love. Flushed cheeks; eyes distant with dreaminess. Oh my. It is here.

I write about love often--family, dog, bikes, adventure. BUT, I've carefully steered clear of LOVE. You know the type. That critical mix of longing and jittery hearts. That "woooeeee" desire to touch and to be touched. To talk into the wee hours of the morning. Electric. Exciting.

This slip of a girl flopped on my bed. I can feel the nervousness of these newfound feelz radiating from her. Closing my eyes, I remember. My best new wave straw hat perched on my bad haircut. The hot desert sun and afternoon wind of grit pelting my waifish body. Twelve year old Robyn--crushing hard on Freddy, my dad's new recruit to the junkyard. Freddy had it all. Raybans, an orange muscle car, Levi 501s, a love of Bowie, and a swagger like no other. He was a junkyard god. I worshipped him from afar, too awkward and shy to ever talk to him. Every school day I thought my body would explode waiting for that final bell to ring, so that I could go to work at our greasy empire. Pulling into the parking lot, I'd take a quick look in the mirror to check my terrible DIY assymetrical haircut and sweet androgynous face, and then tear out of the car in search of the Raybanned golden boy. Down the dusty rows of cars I'd go, the afternoon wind picking up, threatening to blow my tiny body away. I'd listen for the tell-tale sounds of tools banging against battered metal, knowing that my love would be near by. And then it would happen. He'd pop up from his perch, smiling.

"Howdy, Robyn!"

A thousand daggers to the heart. A faint smile, a peep of a "hi" back, and then a full press scurry back through the broken and battered cars. Unlucky in love at school, Freddy marked the first in a long string of junkyard crushes where the people were just as broken and battered as the cars strewn about. Easy targets for my Danielle Steel fantasies. I admired them and they in turn, loved my admiration. Safe distancing before it was a thing.

I was a late bloomer for the real romances. The weighty ones with consequences. Such a soft thing that transition, where we lose all sense of authenticity and dreaminess, playing to what we think grown up love should be. Such a bore. Until we shake the expectations and begin again...with a cute boy and his sweet yellow lab--a profound love devoid of Danielle Steel fantasies. A story for another time.

And what will I tell my girl about love? What do we tell anyone about love? We don't. It's a gift that we feel in the marrow of our bones waiting to calcify, strengthening through action, honesty, and whimsy.

I love to love you.

If you were to visit the junkyard today, you'll find a shady tree not too far from the dog pen (all junkyards have dogs, silly). Look closely. RS + FK is etched deeply into the bark for all to see, as there are no precise words for this type of enchantment.


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