Afew Saturdays ago I finally managed to persuade a longtime friend to come out with me for a drink. For weeks she had ensconced herself at her house following a romance gone down the toilet. We had a blast, downing tequilas and all things alcoholic well into the wee morning hours. That is, until we got back to my apartment and she started drunk-texting her ex between floods of boozy tears.
I had no idea what to do. I imagined what she was feeling; I’d been where she was; I empathized. For five years she’d been dating a particular guy; countless times she had confessed to me how madly in love they were. Until, poof, the whole thing blew up in her face. Following long sessions of cussin’ out each other, hurling hurtful words that knew no way back, silly fights that resulted in bruises that took days to disappear, and some that remained put albeit invisible, they parted. Mr. Loverman moved on.
We were lounging together in my living room when my friend softly asked the million-dollar question that I am still unable to answer with conviction: “Why?” Dumbfounded, I hugged her, drew her close. Meanwhile I’m thinking: what did I, after countless wonderful relationships that abruptly turned sour, know about love? What were the giveaway signals that separate counterfeit love from the real thing?
I was still searching my soul as my friend dozed in my arms. What exactly was this thing called love, anyway? Whatever else it might be, it certainly was the most sought after treasure on this planet. However intangible, whatever its ups and downs, most people would agree love is what life is all about—whether or not they believe it to be so. In any case, easier said than done. After all, how many of us can say without self-doubt that we truly love ourselves; that we even know how to? W e hear about it all the time; read about it in our favorite magazines: once you’ve found true love, hang on to it. Blissful living depended on it. Of course some will also tell you that regardless of how you might feel about a love affair gone bad, you should remember that true love will always (fingers crossed) come back. What a load of crapola!
I am near self-convinced most of us have not the smallest idea what love is. Neither its purpose. One thing for certain, it can render you a drunken mess, a shell of your true self. The proof was lying at my side, still in her party threads, burned out and snoring.
Most of my female friends remain convinced they had encountered love at one time or other. Usually their encounters delivered heartache, whether or not by the number. Only through their tears did they recognize the evaporated culprit was lust masquerading as love. Some are insist real love, for one reason or another, cheating for one, can turn to hate and inspire thoughts never before imagined. How often have we heard about murders in the name of love? How many of us have sacrificed our true natures for love’s sake? By which I mean, rendered ourselves incapable of giving, let alone accepting love. Yes, love can do that to you, by popular account.
Indisputable truth: never mind the contrary notions, love is real. Yes, big-time elusive. But undeniable. There may be far more examples of love gone wrong, true enough. But almost every woman or man I ever met would gladly risk a year of heartache and pain for six weeks of love: deep, dizzying, crazy love. So it has been from the beginning. So I suspect it will be to the end. Maybe it has something to do with our make-up as human beings.
What about the pain? What about it? In the name of love, mothers deliver their babies amidst excruciating pain. Or so I’m told. Let me offer another undeniable truth: time is the greatest healer—and you are free to make what you will of that. As for my friend, once again she is happily in love. What’s more she’s too busy feeling the feeling even to think about Mr. Whatshisname. Go figure!