Love in a time of Immaturity

Ryan Gabriel Madrid

So how old should you exactly be in order to qualify as someone in love? For most parents perhaps, the concept of participating in romantic relationships during a premature age is unwise, if not plain silly. But who can claim that he or she is a judge of love? Of course, humankind has already begun to share a collective memory of this feeling -- its symptoms, prerequisites, and dramatic portrayals of media and literature, which is why some parents are quick to set an age requisite as to when some of us may enter into these kinds of serious (yet feet-sweeping) relationships. In the end, as some may suppose, it really just boils down to what you believe in -- whether love at 26 years of age is any different from the crush you exchanged letters with when you were only thirteen.

A True Story

The school bus, headed home. I find myself sitting beside a good friend, Patricia. Oblivious of the crying, the shouting, the eating and the barfing, Patricia and I are just enjoying each other's company.

Later, Katrina, the bus chieftain and head bully, orders that we play a game called “Mommy-Daddy.” (Mechanics: we just pair-off as mommies and daddies, and the taya, wanting to select suitable parents, has to chase mom-dad pairs around the bus. We all try to evade the taya because we know he will just kiss us on the cheeks!) I ask Patricia if she wants me to be her partner. She agrees.

Chaos ensues. With lips pouted, Miguel, the taya, is chasing every shrieking couple around the bus. Patricia and I are still seated beside each other, comfortably watching everyone run around. Suddenly, Miguel turns around to see Patricia and me, unharassed. My eyes widen. I immediately grab my partner by the arm and invite her to stand on the benches. Miguel is right below us. In order to protect Patricia from the taya, I put my arms around her and hold her close to myself. The game quickly ends as Manong, our bus driver, drops each of us in our homes.

All throughout the remainder of the ride, she and I have been in constant conversation, exposing the randomness of our unbarriered, five-year old lives. Eventually, only Patricia and I are left. The bus finally stops in front of my house. Waving goodbye to her, I step down from the bus. Manong closes the door and makes his way back to the driver’s seat. While Patricia is still waving at me from the bus’ window, I rush to the bush in front of our house. I pick a mini bouquet of Santan flowers and hand it through the window to Patricia. She shouts thank you to me as she puts her lips against her palm and blows a kiss towards me.


During our early years, love is in its purest and we share it freely with other people. With age, however, wisdom advances and the wealth of experience accumulates. Biases are recognized and criteria are engraved. Drawing from various memories, we become fearful of love's dispensation. We unconsciously communicate this disenchantment to younger people who have yet to accumulate their own wisdom and experience, thus delaying the formation of their own biases, criteria, and, ultimately, their own surpassing of these barriers.