I am walking home from daycare with my daughter and I am wondering, “What’s that feeling?”

“… that intense pounding, that rush, that I’m feeling in my chest, in my bloodstream?”

“Oh,” I realize. “That’s love.”

It is so intense, this feeling, that sometimes I can’t contain it. Sometimes I think it will rush out of me like teenagers at a party when the police show up — and it can feel just as awkward as this, as gangly and pimply and dumb and joyous, high on wine coolers and being felt up, as out of control, as unprepared, as fresh and urgent and important and confusing and intense.

Speaking of teenagers, the last time I felt this rush of new love, I was 17 years old, and I was falling in love with Jordan. But that love arrived so comfortably, by contrast — it was like finding another piece of my puzzle; I was complete, now. Ahhh. This is more like going over a waterfall in a barrel, or being tall and wanting to jump up and down in a tiny room. Rushing and jumping and out of control, powerful, giddy, hard. Intense.

Or maybe I only remember falling in love with Jordan as comfortable with all these years of distance. Maybe at the time it was as out of control and scary and ecstatic as this new love. How do you remember new love? You write about it, I guess, and you also accept that you can’t hold it in your hand – it’s not a keepsake, it’s a life…

“I am intense, I am in need, I am in pain — I am in love.” So sang the Indigo Girls, the soundtrack to my adolescence (a big part of it, at least). My friend Ronna had these lyrics painted on the back of her bedroom door. They were my chant, my tribal primal adolescent girl chant. I don’t know that I felt particularly in need or in pain but I sure as hell felt intense, and the words together and the way they sang them felt like someone squeezing out my heart.

Another memory: belting out “Galileo” by the Indigo Girls with my friends Liz and Neda in Liz’s red car, as we drove around Rockville, Maryland. “How long til my soul gets it right?” And a new memory: a couple of months ago, sprawled out on the living room floor with Ali while she played, playing her Indigo Girls and thinking, “This is part of introducing her to womanhood. This is part of introducing her to me.”

Belt it out, Ali. Belt it out. In the meantime, I’ll try to hold it together on the way home from daycare.


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