Love is dead. There's no other explanation for it. Love is dead and has been for quite some time. Call me cynical, I dare you, but you know I'm right. Of course, you're probably too proud to admit it. People always are.
Society, as a rule, tends to shun the notion that a mere juvenile could ever grasp the concept of love. "It's simply impossible!" They declare, glaring down upon us from their throne of intellectual superiority, extensive life-experience and almost steady income. They blame any strong displays of emotion on our excessive hormones, label any brief romantic encounters as 'lustful' or 'alcohol-fuelled' and totally disregard any notion that someone below the age of twenty could possibly form a genuine connection with another like-minded individual. Nope, teenagers are immature and utterly ignorant to the true meaning of pure, unconcentrated love, and any youngling couple that thinks they could deny this undeniable truth should really just get a grip. The adults are right and they are wrong.
This is the general sentiment shared by the majority of the so-called adult world, a society hellbent on grinding young people into a mangled and minute pulp of irrelevancy. Moreover, it was a sentiment that I used to share myself. That is, until I fell in love myself at the ripe old age of fifteen.
Everything I had previously scorned suddenly seemed so clear, so pure. It was the most beautiful taste you could ever have tasted, like a sandwich wrap that struck the perfect balance between a meaty filling and complimentary salad, coupled with not too much but just enough of the sweetest, sweetest sauce imaginable. And for one glorious moment I was perched upon the snowy peaks of true happiness.
And I continued to be happy for the many months that followed. Sure, nothing could ever match that first, unforgettable bite, but every encounter left me feeling satisfied and content. My path in life had come to fruition and, despite my obvious immaturity, it was true. I knew what love is.
Then came the fall.
And suddenly I understood, in no uncertain terms, the definition of the word 'heartbroken'.
Eighteen months were yanked away like a rug from under my feet, and I toppled down from my snowy peaks and fell into oblivion. Everything I thought I knew was a lie. Everything I'd worked for was meaningless. Grief pierced me like a paring knife. It was the most severe pain I'd ever experienced, stinging even more than a big break-up I experienced a few months previously.
Nope, this isn't about my break-up. That's barely even noteworthy. Maybe it hurt a little at the time, but it's more like a stubbed toe in comparison to this tragedy. But this goes much deeper than teenage love affairs. This is the loss of my one true friend. A life pleasure that I always thought I could count on, only to be betrayed and backstabbed once my trust as a loyal customer had been gained.
The pleasure in question is a duck and hoisin sandwich wrap. But not just any old duck and hoisin sandwich wrap, for there is a wide variety of different variations on said wrap that are available to the consumer. The wrap in question was, when I came to be acquainted with it, a valued component in the three-pound meal deal of a popular chain supermarket store. I can't bring myself to name the company in question, partially because of copyright reasons, partially to avoid product placement and partially because it just hurts too much, but let's just say it rhymes with "Gains Berries".
This unnamed company reeled me in with their promise of quality yet inexpensive lunchtime alternatives and presented me with what could possibly have been the greatest triumph of modern-day sandwich making that was ever contained in a tortilla wrap. All other duck-based snacks paled in comparison. I would have paid a fortune in a fancy restaurant to dine on food as good as this, but it only cost me three pounds and came complete with juice and crisps to complete the holy trinity of Friday lunchtime. For eighteen months I treated myself to this culinary delight on a weekly basis, and it soon became a vivid highlight in my otherwise utterly mundane lifestyle. I knew what love was. It came with hoisin sauce, (but not too much because that would overpower the flavour of the tender duck-meat, as some other supermarkets are yet to discover) and was the single component needed to make a young man feel whole. But one day it suddenly wasn't there anymore.
I heard it on the news first. "That supermarket, whose theme for their loyalty card is loosely based around bee juice, have revamped their meal deal. Wraps are no longer included in the three pound bargain, and many items have been removed from sale altogether."
I had to duct tape my jaw to my face to prevent it from dropping as I threw on my coat and shoved shoes onto my feet. I was so panicked that I didn't even tie them up, and sprinted out the door and up the street to my "Gains Berries" store. I couldn't believe what I heard and I prayed to the Lord above that it was not true.
But it was true.
Everything I had loved was gone. The one thing that made me feel whole, disappeared. And I felt so empty, so incomplete, that I just sat down in the middle of the shop and bawled my eyes out for hours and hours, until the kindly-faced corporate slave employed by the profit-guzzling corporation ushered me firmly out of the now slightly moist shop.
The funny thing, though, is that no-one questioned my sense of loss. The stiff-necked adult society were curiously silent, in contrast with the unrelenting criticism they had provided during the earlier stage of my relationship. I guess perhaps they finally realised that what I had was real, at least to me, and the fact that I was so distraught was more than enough proof that I could form emotional attachments that mattered. I knew what love is. And I knew how it felt to lose it.
There's probably a moral in here somewhere, a heartwarming message of some kind that's telling you to ignore those who discredit your emotions and latch on to that thing you feel because, regardless of whether it's real love or nothing, it'll be gone in a flash. Gone in a flash, so you can't afford to waste one second waiting for your parents to approve or your friends to stop giggling about it. Chase the dream, buy the sandwich. Enjoy it, not because you're mature enough to experience some made-up name for a series of chemical reactions that occur deep inside your brain, but because you bloody well deserve it. I hope you find love at first bite.