I’m thinking back to pre-school, a distant out of focus memory of my hand fondling the red fire alarm. The ink of grade school turns milky blue for a moment as I make out a girl in a polka dotted skirt, a girl who hated me. High school is clearer with sharp pencil lines and a delicate outline of someone I very much didn’t want to lose. There’s more delicate shading now, but I still erase hard and start again with clumsy sketches. Then the dark thick oils of my college memories come to me, the deep reds bordering on blue. I smear them with my finger because they are so recent and I don’t have to be careful. Drops of the paint mistake the canvas. And a wet cloth only serves to smear the whole thing. I leave the canvas behind for a few years. Then my charcoal period begins as her form becomes clear. I dry my lips and blow the dust away. I see her there and through my hurt, I can’t imagine ever meeting her. But here I am today. It’s been decades since that red temptation tickled my innocent wonder. And I met her. And I loved her. And now what! Because my art is drying up. I can run up the habi-trail of my memories twisting and turning in a claustrophobic nightmare of yellow indecision but it circles back on me and it’s complexity is too much for my mind. I was in a chess tournament and not doing too badly for myself. But now I am off the board and the game continues in my absence. So I ask you…what is Love?
Is it fear? Fear of losing them? Fear of betrayal and rejection and loneliness? Living a near-lie of happiness which could all collapse in a Katrina of despair?
Is it longing? The longing you feel when they are gone? The longing you feel when you are so close to them that to be any closer would violate the physical membrane and enter pure spirituality? The longing for them to long for you equally or more so as to quiet the noise in the back of your evil imagination?
Shall desire fit the bill? Your lust bringing you into stupid and easily avoidable check positions? The strong passion of the physical just above the surface of a deep ocean of barely respectable ideas?
Or maybe it’s a profound deep respect for the other person. An intellectual idea that whatever this other one in your life has done, does or will do, it’s an ideal that you both strive for or and idea you feel they strive for. And in their worst moments, you can still respect them for they will return to you better, and you will return to them better. And your respect for them is founded on the same feeling being returned to you. So that in your own worst moments, they can tolerate your horribleness and you can both come back together and things will be magically fine again somehow.
But maybe it’s all of these things and none of these things. The intangibility of Love motivates so many actions on this planet that to define it in any one or two or evan an infinite number of dimensions or data points would serve to only scratch the firmament of a profound meaning only learned through pure experience.
So for me, Love is a gleaming sphere of energy that you can take a bite out of. Its pure light fills you and makes you whole again, even if you didn’t know you were empty inside. Your cracks fill in. Your happiness peak zeniths ever higher. It’s being surprised at almost all times by the other, the ideas, the humor, the poetry, the angle of their jaw and the crick of their mouth. For all the hate that exists in the world and the indecision and the wasting apathy, I’m comforted by the idea that Love exists. It’s out there not for a special priest or elite member of society. The bright ball of light stands there waiting for our touch, rising as we approach and promising to return when we withdraw. Our lives, our hopes and dreams circumnavigate its surface and its pulses acts as the metronome for our lives that we keep the beat to. And the beat goes on.