Love is an avalanche, triggered by a shudder. It overruns any fortress of reason, rationality or prudence that we’ve built up over the course of our cautious lives. They are not destroyed, simply buried, beneath volume and speed.
This is an intense way to begin so let me put it another way. My favorite sweater smells more like her than me at the moment which is really inconvenient since I won’t want to wash it or wear it again. Next time, I’ll have to remember to wear something less vital to my wardrobe.
International plane rides suck, but this one sucks the most. Each minute is a new reminder of how hard this will be. There are many, many minutes on this flight.
Here’s a weird sensation: Her face goes in and out of remembrance. Sometimes I forget it and sometimes it comes back, always starting with her eyes. This has never happened to me before so it’s got to mean something right?
This is the first time in recent memory that I haven’t secretly wished for a beautiful girl to be seated next to me in some act of divine serendipity. If it happened today, and if this girl wanted to talk to me, she’d immediately find the sexiest, darkest, and most brooding and mysterious guy she’s EVER met.
Here’s something I learned. There’s a big, gaping difference between getting a girl like her and keeping a girl like her. It’s forced me to stare down my inadequacies dead-straight in its folded eyes. It’s a monster that jeers and humiliates me, but without whom, I could never be the hero of my own story. I must traverse the long rickety bridge from potential to realized energy, and it won’t be easy. I’ll have to learn more languages—starting with French— write an influential scholarly piece, achieve a financial sensibility, refine my faith, travel more, run 3 miles every morning, temper my emotions, define and clarify my goals, and then be willing to give them up. In short, I’ll have to be better. This sort of thinking doesn’t give her much credit, I know; these aren’t the things she liked about me to begin with. Instead, it’s driven by the belief of mine that she deserves much better than who I am at the moment.
(As a corollary to the above thought, we compared passports and she showed me the places she’s been. Her’s was Popeye on spinach. Mine was Olive Oil.)
One nice thing about a 12-hour time difference is that there isn’t the slightest mathematical calculation involved. It’s just a simple matter of changing the ‘PM’ to an ‘AM’ and vice versa. Thank God for that, I guess.
Asking me what happened would be a useless question. Ask me again in like, three years.
A note about faith. I’ve long harbored dueling factions of frustration and hope with the role of faith in my love life. In the former, my faith constrains me from being a dog, when really, it’s precisely a dog that I am. Most of the time I wish to be rid of my faith in these situations so that I can enjoy the sweet temporary pleasures of the short life we’ve been given. I see brothers who somehow rationalize their behavior so they can get the best of both worlds. In other words, they’ll sleep around so long as they pray on Sundays. In the end, most of them end up marrying well and raising a nice family, with memories of wilder, more imprudent times tucked safely away in the recesses of their memory. When this happens, I ask myself…who’s the sucker here? But I’ve also long suspected that I needed to hold out for the person God had prepared especially for me. This sort of faith is dumb and arrogant and it leads to complacency on my part because as the thinking goes, if He’s got it taken care of, I have no need for eHarmony. It’s fully irrational but it’s as real to me as the frustration that it brings. Faith in this erodes systematically under the imperialist crush of lonely nights, day after day after week after month after year. Then you meet someone like her and suddenly the logic of it reveals itself. She is absolutely worth the wait. She is to be respected by my self-control and patience. Only time will tell if this irrationality—this logic— will hold up. So too has it yet to be seen if things will work out with her specifically. I don’t know. In fact, there are many things I don’t know but this I do: The mere fact that she exists, that someone like her does exist, is enough for me to risk all the years of aloneness for the hope of nothing less than her.
This is love in its reckless in-hospitability. It cares nothing for convenience or time zones. But my thoughts in this exact moment, 34,000 feet above the Pacific, is that if this airplane went down, and I with it, that I’d be happy to have felt its delicious irony at least once in my life.
I’m getting intense again, I know…I know, so I’ll just end with this:
Wearing this sweater now, I don’t expect the water to be so cold.