This question has been on my mind for some time.
“Am I capable of love?”
“Of course, what human isn’t?”
“That’s not what I mean” I whisper with a touch of exasperation.
“What do you mean then?” she turns her eyelids up to look at my face, causing fine little furrows to form on her brow.
This line of thought is not yet fully formed, so it is leaking out (gross as it is) like diarrhea from the incompetent sphincter of my troubled mind
One of the reasons this is emotionally and mentally frustrating is that I think I have been in love at least a few times.
Now, when I say love, I mean a particular kind of love. It is not the gentle affection I have for my brothers and sisters- the love that breeds the passionate zeal with which I attack any thing that threatens them. It is not the warm, fuzzy way I feel about my parents, I f I could call it a feeling- It is more or less a way of being, an unconditioned reflex, if you will, to the pair that were miraculously there when this helpless bundle of flesh stumbled – blind, cold and naked, into this world and nurtured it through to the maturation of the nerves and sinews. The nerves, through which this jumble of existence can make some meaning- arranged in neat little pulses of sight and smell, taste and feel. Sometimes, I wonder what parents feel when they look at their newborn babies. Now, I have delivered enough babies to know that babies are not cute and cuddly when they are born. Their skin is all loose and wrinkled, covered by a thick smattering of vernix (a greasy sticky substance resembling cottage cheese) and in a thin transcluscent film of fine hairs. It is only after a few days that they begin to resemble the tiny cherubs that they really are.
Anyway, I digress too much. Love. What kind ? It is not the confident assurance of a friend’s devotion as you bond over drinks or fight over trifles. It is something much bigger, much scarier. It is not the fiery fervent, burning attraction, fueled by lust, that you feel for a new prospect. It is not what pride you feel at how hot they are- so hot that you could look at them as a full time time job and still do overtime. It is not the intense and shortlived romance of the flame and the moth. It is not the fluttering fingers and the thumping heart of Cupid’s new victims.
She lifts a slender finger to her lips and shushes me gently.
“Close your eyes”. I do.
She takes my hands in hers and says
“You mean love doesn’t feel this special?”
She places my palm on her chest. I can feel her heart beating gently and for a moment I am tempted to characterize her apex beat, like I would do for a patient, to feel for heaves and thrills, but I stop short, distracted by the soft mound of her breast in my hand. I move my fingers and something scrapes across the middle of my palm. Tempting, too tempting. I gently lift my hands from her chest and reply
” I don’t really think there is much that’s special about love.”
The love I mean is just plain old,frumpy, unconditional love- the worst gamble in the history of worst gambles. It is a conscious decision made, not in the intoxicated daze of Cupid’s poisoned arrowtips, but after it all simmers down, when you have known this person- rind, seed and pulp. A conscious decision to be with this person, to encourage and appreciate them, to share their fears and burdens, their hopes and aspirations, no matter what it takes, till a predetermined endpoint. Really scary isn’t it?
Now, one would argue that the best possible outcome from a decision this serious can only come from proper, thorough knowledge of the person involved. News flash: I’ve known people literally all my life and they still have the ability to surprise me. At this rate, I’d spend the rest of my life dating and getting to know people, yet never knowing them well enough to make a good enough decision. The only thing I know for sure about people is this: People Change! If we factor this into the equation, it crumbles, doesn’t it?
No, actually, when you choose to love someone, you choose to love all the possible permutations and iterations of them there could ever be. They could change into everything you had ever wanted in the first place, they could change into everything you never wanted, they could change into anything really. But you have to love them anyway. You signed up for that.