A Love Story

Photo © Lauren Mauldin

BY SUSAN GILSTRAP

Some of us yearn for the love of our life. Some detest the words “soul mate,” and I might have included myself in that group. There were others that I thought would be my forever love, but it never worked out. I began to give up on the idea of love, that I deserved it. I never used to be sentimental, until I met you. 

I can’t say it was love at first sight. Our first meeting was awkward. I was nervous. My hands would get sweaty, and sometimes my body became rigid. My friends told me that you weren’t like the others. You allowed me to be who I was on a level that no one else could. I felt at peace with you. But more importantly, I felt at peace with myself. 

With you, I could finally breathe and release the stress. I told you about my hard days, and you listened to my every word. I could tell you my deepest, darkest fears. If the tears came, you let me push my face into you. You soaked up everything. When it was all too much, I reached my arms around you and held on like you were the only thing that could save me. On those days, maybe you were. 

It was all kind of scary.  I had never felt this kind of love before. I was afraid. Would this be a fling that ended in disaster? Would you be the one I could count on, when others had left me alone and somber? 

Illustration © Susan Gilstrap

Days turned into weeks, which turned into months and then years. There were times in our relationship that I felt we wouldn’t make it. We had to work hard on our communication, and sometimes I didn’t know if it would be enough. There were times I was frustrated enough to scream, and others where I felt more humble than I thought possible. Yet, through it all, you still loved me for who I am. You love me still. 

You are so different from anyone I have ever met. I try to care for you as much as I can, but you have given me so much more. Even when my best isn’t good enough, you are here with unconditional love. You are always happy to see me, and my heart melts each time I pull into the driveway. My family sometimes questions if you are right for me, but my friends all knew you are the one. They understood what I needed before I knew myself.

I admire your spirit, your ability to be in the moment, your sensitivity. You put up with my stubbornness, impatience and frequent mistakes. You inspire me every day.

Yes, I know I am overly sentimental. I’ll even throw around the term “soul mate,” but only when it comes to you. The love that I have for you can’t be summed up on one single, overhyped holiday. I’m sure I’ll shower you with the expected Valentine’s Day treats and kisses, although I do that every day I see you.

Photo courtesy of Susan Gilstrap

I just hope that you can continue to love me, despite my shortcomings. I will never stop trying to be my best for you.

So here’s to us—my big, beautiful horse. My dream in real life. I can’t wait to hear your hooves galloping through the pasture, and see your mane blowing in the wind. Every time I see you, my heart skips a beat. I fall in love with you all over again.


Susan spends her time riding when she can as an Adult Ammy and lives in Dallas, TX.

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