What We Talk About When We Talk About Love: A Teenage Love

In the shadow of the Apollo Theater amateur night plays out between the Hue-Man Bookstore and Magic Johnson Theaters. A teenage couple clad in identical navy polo shorts argues about whatever he said and she said but rarely what we did. The falling rain is no competition for their movements or their mouths; they seem to dodge the drops and never miss a beat with the four letter words that float over their lips. Four letter words that don’t include love, but sound like hate to those who pass by trying to mind their business, but are confronted with the thought that they should step between the teenagers and tell them what their mothers should have. You know, when she told you that one day it was gonna happen, but she never told you when. 
Maybe the woman with the pink umbrella should’ve stopped the young girl and told her about the guy she couldn’t live without when she was 16. She should’ve have shared how she convinced herself that it was love she felt and how he convinced her that proving she loved him was by having sex. Yes, she should’ve told her that he proved his love by never speaking to her again after she proved her loved and has never seen his 16-year-old son.
Or the guy too involved with his iPod should’ve lifted his eyes from his playlist long enough to pull the young brother aside and school him to the game. He could’ve told him about how his world was shattered in high school by a girl he swore he would marry. Then again in college…twice! Once more when he was 25 and then again at 28. Finally, he could’ve told him how he met the woman of his dreams at 30 and now they’re happily married. Yeah, he should’ve shown him that his world wasn’t going to end on Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
How about the older couple that just finished a matinee, locked arm in arm, smiling like newlyweds? Yes, they definitely should’ve stopped and showed the kids what love really looked like instead of stepping around them like whatever the kids had would infect them. Yeah, they should’ve told the youngsters how they used to steal away on that same block years before after hearing great men in bowties speak and watched men and women rob themselves of greatness in a needle, yet their love persevered even through gentrification. A picture of love is worth 1,000 words more than those screamed in any fight, but they didn’t show them the snapshot.

Maybe the guy inside the bookstore should’ve dropped his pen, ran outside and told them how foolish they looked cussing and arguing, pantomiming like they would hit one another. Yes, he watched them until a bus arrived and they kissed and parted ways. He knew, like the others this was a scene that played out in hallways and sidewalks alike and won’t end until one has decided enough is enough. However, what’s enough for one may not be for the other, and this could end beautifully or violently, we see the stories far too often these days. But it almost always ends with someone begging, don’t hurt me again…

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