Do you ever think about how crazy it is that we’re only 18?“
Shawn was running his callused finger tip up and down my arm as we laid in bed, wearing only our underwear and laying above the sheets in the blue darkness. I was laying just under his arm, avoiding contact with him because of the heat but wanting to stay as close as I could. His finger on my arm was the only place our skin met. I looked up to him with his words, then back to the ceiling fan whirring in nearly invisible circles.
"What do you mean?” I asked, wanting to hear his thoughts. Shawn paused.
“I don’t know. Besides you, I’m surrounded by people older than me, you know? I just feel like a baby sometimes.” He said softly. I spent a minute to take in what he was saying.
“I know what you mean. We’re only 18, out of- what, probably 85 years? That’s barely any time at all. There’s so much left.” I replied.
“But at the same time, around Aaliyah, I feel so old, you know? Thinking back to when I was her age feels like forever ago. I used to think 18 year olds had everything figured out, their whole lives. They were grown-ups to me.” Shawn said, “And now I’m 18, and I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve got a steady career, but it’s a crazy career, you know? It’s unreliable. Pop singers don’t stay successful forever. They fade and then pop up again in twenty years on Oprah’s ‘Where are They Now’… I don’t even know if I want all of this forever anyway. I mean- I love it and I don’t want to seem ungrateful, and I’ll definitely be playing music all my life, but… I don’t know.”
“I understand, Shawn. I know what you mean.” I replied. Shawn shifted and turned on his side to face me.
“You do? You don’t think I’m being ungrateful?” He asked. I smiled and turned to face him, too.
“You’re not ungrateful, Shawn. You’re human, and you worry about things from time to time.” I said honestly. Shawn chewed his lip.
“I don’t like having such an uncertain future. Popular music could shift like the wind, and maybe everyone will just dump me, you know? I’ll be out of work.” He said. I ran my thumb across his bottom lip.
“Shawn, your fans adore you. And I understand where you’re coming from. Popular music used to be the Beatles or Elvis and now it’s so different. But that took 40 years to change, Shawn. And Paul McCartney is still working and people still love him, right?” Shawn nodded faintly. “I know in my heart that wherever life takes you, you will be successful. I know it.” I insisted. Shawn closed his eyes briefly.
“My parents were 26 when they got married.” He said, changing the topic. “That’s so young. But at the same time, 26 is so far away, you know? If 26 is young, then being 18 is even younger.” He said, his eyes slowly studying every inch of my face as I watched his eyes. “And I know that we’re going to get married. Undoubtedly. I know that if you let me, I will love you for the rest of my life. But we’re only 18. I feel like I have feelings for you that 18 year olds are too young to have, you know?” I closed my eyes for a moment as my chest swelled. I loved this boy.
“I do know, Shawn.” I told him sincerely. The flicker of a smile crossed his face.
“But what if I’m wrong, and we’re just kids in love?” He asked nervously searching my eyes. I smiled and kissed him.
“Shawn, if we’re just kids in love, then I don’t ever want to grow up. I’m so deeply and wholeheartedly wrapped in love for you.” I told him once we parted. Shawn smiled, keeping his eyes closed.