For two semesters (one too many, if you ask me), I’ve studied the 14th-century book El Libro de Buen Amor in my Spanish Literature courses. It translates as The Book of Good Love, which is ironic because the author explores many different types of love — chaste, carnal, platonic — but doesn’t conclude definitively which is the “good” love. I’m thinking about this now, because I decided to write a post on love, yet I can’t even define what love is. Even when narrowed to the romantic realm, love is so varied in its manifestations. Therefore, I shall attempt only to write about the love that I have learned and tasted in my relationship with Phineas.
Apparently, love is unromantic. Oh, believe me, I’ve done the whole turn-the-oversized-gutter-into-a-balcony-and-gaze-up-at-the-night-sky-in-each-other’s-arms thing. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, but you now what? That wasn’t love. Love isn’t premeditated and calculated — it doesn’t care about what’s convenient for you; it demands attention when and wherever you may be. Love is in the moments nobody notices, in the gaps between the events everyone lives for. This is why I tell Phineas that if he ever proposes to me, he’d better do it while taking a dump.
Love is also unsympathetic. It is ruthless and it will shred your heart into infinitesimal pieces whether you like it or not. Love craves reciprocation, but even when denied, it can rage on like a virus that won’t give up. Whenever you’re convinced that you’ve extinguished the last ember, a wind will breathe life back into the flame. Brokeback Mountain’s infamous line “I wish I knew how to quit you” rings true for all of us afflicted by love.
Love is inexplicable. Not figuratively, like oh-my-gosh-there-are-no-words-to-describe-this-feeling, but literally, like why-in-the-world-do-I-love-you. Love isn’t good on paper. Unapologetically, it screws with all the rules anyone ever taught you about dating and marriage. There’s no reason nor rhyme why you should be with your significant other, yet there is no other way. If Phineas and I ever went to couples counseling, the therapist would probably cringe in horror, “I strongly advise against this union.” Seriously, we have absolutely nothing in common and can disagree on everything from a TV show to toothpaste. We would make the worst friends because we’d blink at each other the whole time, not knowing what to talk about.
Love is necessary. You can’t find love; it finds you, and then it is the very air you breathe. Sometimes, love helps you achieve all the things you’d always dreamed of. Other times, love sends you to lows you hoped you’d never go. It brings out the best and the worst in you and never leaves a single stone unturned. Love makes you question your own sanity, yet it keeps you coming back for more.
What is love to you? Do you relate to aspects of “my” love?