And she closes her eyes, and – sends –
—her first crush, bright and desperate, on a boy she hardly knew, and the struggle of not understanding her feelings or what they meant or what to do about them—trying to work up the courage to talk to him, and when she finally managed to approach him she bungled it, pressing shame heart racing feeling blind and dizzy, hardly able to think—months later, the realization that he had never been who she had imagined him to be, the directionless teetering uncertainty—
—her first kiss, with a different boy, furtive and clumsy and eager and scared—a later kiss, warm and intense, and embracing—finally daring to ask if he would be her boyfriend, and the mixture of relief and vertiginous terror when he said yes and she realized she had no idea how to be girlfriend and boyfriend—the dark hot passion in her chest as she pinned his wrists to the wall to kiss him—the unexpected nameless elation when he returned the favor—
—discovering him kissing another girl, older and prettier, the screaming sense of betrayal like her heart being ripped out of her chest, leaving her empty and cold inside—
—she startles, opens her eyes – her mother has just put her hand on her shoulder – she takes a sharp gulp of air, lets go of his hand –
– takes his hand again, and sends again, the long slow recovery, regrowing the hurt place, scarred but not broken, hugging her parents, her grandparents, learning to be warm and soft inside again. (It's not the same kind of love. It doesn't have the same intensity. But it's there, and it lets her know that she's healing, that she's healed.)
— Her second boyfriend, and their amicable parting when his family moved to Wichita Falls, bittersweet, a meaningless sadness that she couldn't even feel angry about.
— and her feelings, now, for him, warm and solid-stable-safe and laughter-joy-exaltation, the joy of friendship, not the fierce need of desire but wanting to be with him, to have him in her life, to share life with him — and the familiar uncertainty-confusion about her own feelings, about this strange new thing not quite like friendship and not quite like her love for her parents or even her grandparents and not like romantic love at all —
"– that's why I said you can't explain it in words."