When I was a boy, love meant one of two things to me: either romance or sex. I thought it was an uncomfortable word mostly used in the movies and around Valentine’s Day. I never saw it exemplified or acted on by my parents, except in my mother’s care for her boys. I grew up that way, tucking love into a corner of my mind that I didn’t visit much. There was no reason to, really. There were innocent crushes that came and went — the occasional girl around my age that I thought about and maybe wrote letters to, but only once handed over. For me, love was something best kept private. The first time I fell in love was more a realization than romance. Another man was in the picture with that woman and I remember the moment clearly. She had a choice to make between me and him, and I remember when it occurred to me that I didn’t care if she chose me or not — I cared about her so deeply, I only wanted her happiness. And that’s when I knew: Love found me where I was that afternoon in my early 20s. I look back on that now almost in wonderment at how much I thought I knew about the world then. Ha, it wasn’t enough to act on my heart the way I wanted to. Because of the way things happen in life, I sometimes say I never actually loved that first woman. But to claim so is to rob myself of that feeling, and those types of lies deaden you to the possibility of feeling it again. It’s rare. It should be treasured. Every love we feel shapes the chambers of our heart.