A/N: Based on a conversation I had today, but is in no means really truly directed to the person that the conversation was with. Oh, and I don't own Moulin Rouge.


"I just didn't realize it would last this long."

Like hell you did. Do you really know me that badly? Have you really neglected the fact that I crave affection and love ten times more than the average quota? Really, the American quote for need of love is high, but I'm quite a bit higher. You're my friend, you're supposed to be happy for me, and now you're telling me you never bothered to get to know him because you didn't realize it would last? Maybe you thought I would screw up? Like I did last time, you mean? Last time, and you were so happy that I failed, that I died at it, and then I was left in the same position as you: boyfriendless, and pretty much alone. You didn't care, though. You never sank to my level. You never had "crushes." You got over those when your boyfriend's ex-girlfriend started sacrificing cats to him or something. But I can't live like that. Even when I didn't like anybody, when I couldn't like anybody, I was in love with love. That's who I am; that's how I'm built. That's why I live. I thrived on romance novels for a good portion of a year. I thrived on writing love poems that went on and on and had sequels that went on twice as long. I thrived on seeing happy couples. High school is a hotbed of them, trust me.

And really, in high school, I ask the inevitable question. Every second of every day I hear people telling each other, "I love you." Sometimes I have to strangle a laugh because I know that's absurd, that they've been on and off forever or are about to go off permanently. But sometimes I really do wonder. I wonder if you can love at fourteen, at fifteen, at sixteen, at seventeen. Is there an age limit for romantic love? Is there a line somewhere labeled, "You must be this tall to fall in love"? My parents seem to think so. You seem to think so. Most people seem to think so, if they're not caught up in their illusions so high in the clouds that they can't see that they're in danger of falling. And I tend to ask, am I in love? Is this what love feels like? Sometimes I think so. In fact, I've often told myself I'm sure of it. And then I look in the mirror and see that I'm seventeen, and I might just be in love with love. But I'm afraid of being in love, too. When I really do fall in love, that means that this person means everything to me. I've surrendered me. Am I really ready to give me up to someone else? When I put it like that, no. But when I think about it long and hard, sometimes I tell myself yes. One person has a powerful hold on me: If they drop me, I'm dashed to pieces. And I'm scared.

Sometimes I think that maybe I'm not in love. I'm in like, as you keep reminding me from my failed relationship last year. I'm in romance. This is the epitome of what I've ever felt, but it's not love. I don't quite reach the height limit yet.

Maybe love isn't flowers and candy and holding hands and opening doors, although that stuff is great too. Maybe love isn't a first kiss or a first partner or a first anything. Maybe love is all the time knowing you'll never marry a person, but occasionally you have moments where you think that maybe, one day, with tons of patience and some counseling, you could make it work. Ultimate compromise. He'll have his side of the couch and you'll have your special drawer where you keep unmentionables. He'll have a file on the computer that you'll never look into and you'll have a secret collection of old, cheesy CDs. And then one day he'll open the folder for you. One day you'll open the drawer while he's in the room. A gradual coming-together or something.

Anyway, I know you really do hate me and my whole relationship thing because you think it's not for me, and now you've listened to me rant about love, of all things. But isn't love all things? Yeah, I'm an idealist. And I may or may not know, because I may or may not be in love. But I'm bound to find out one day. And if you tried to open up, you could too.

It's kinda like that cheesy song title mesh from Moulin Rouge: "Love is a many-splendored thing, love lifts us up where we belong, all you need is love!"