There’s a theory that we only ever love three people in our lives, or at least experience three kinds of love.

Easy love is your first love. The puppy love feeling and all the cute butterfly feelings. But it’s not tested or profound. It’s your first feelings of what is in store.

Hard love is the love that changes you. It shapes you and teaches you what you need in order to be loved. It tests you and you fight for it, but it’s often better to let it go. We don’t want to though, because it’s a love we believe to be good and true. It’s dramatic and filled with many ups and downs. Sometimes it’s truly bad for us if abuse or neglect is involved, but often it’s a conflict of personality. A misalignment of people that simply just weren’t meant to be. But, oh how it leaves a mark on your heart.

True love is of course the love that fills every need. You fit well and feel complete. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect enough to fill your heart and life and there’s simply no other person you picture living your life with. It comes easy and often knocks you off your feet. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s even happening.

True love is what I write about in my novels. Most romance authors do because it’s ultimately what we all strive for in life.

But this post, is about hard love. In particular, mine.

His name was Scott and I was madly in love with him while we dated as teenagers.

And he died yesterday.

Not everyone remains friends with their ex’s, but I’ve known Scott since I was 14 and our bond went beyond two people who once loved each other. We were there for each other during hard times, those life transitions we all go through. His parents took me in like their own and kept me even after we broke up. We pushed each other hard. I didn’t want him to go a weekend without seeing me, but he wanted to take weekends with just the guys. He didn’t like me hanging out with guys he didn’t always know. I could go on, lol.

But he was thoughtful and romantic. Those characters I write usually carry qualities of my husband, but there’s one that’s like Scott, and that’s River. Scott often surprised me with flowers. Once was a bouquet he picked from a neighbour’s garden that I’m sure she wasn’t thrilled about and he left it on the windowsill of my bedroom. On his way to a 6 AM shift on a day we likely wouldn’t see each other, he left that for me with a gorgeous glass box. Whenever he gave me a gift it was something meaningful that showed he listened to me. He filed that information away and sometimes used it when he fucked up to bail himself out.

But as you already know, he broke my heart. It took me a long time to forget him and carry on. Once I got over the disappointment, we kept in touch. Each of us moving all over the place. Sometimes a year or two might go by where we lost track of each other, but we always found our way back. Catching up like we never missed a beat.

He called me when each of his parents died. He came to my wedding alone. I called him when my daughter was born. And most recently he reached out when my dad died.

Scott was only 51. He loved beagles and black sambuca. He was one of the smartest people I ever knew. He loved anything outside and excelled at nearly every sport he tried. He lived life with no regrets.

He was my friend for 35 years and my hard love.

I needed a space to remember him, so that’s why this is here instead of book news. Although kind of connected to books, it’s more of me saying goodbye to someone I once loved.

Give your friends a call if it’s been too long and maybe hug your partner a little longer tonight.

Rest easy, Scott. I’ll miss your teasing and random shit posts.

Thank you for the memories and thank you for being my hard love.

Broken red heart on grey wooden table
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