The Myth and Mystery of Falling in Love


It always takes me longer to figure things out than others. Well usually anyhow. I don’t think it’s because I’m slow. For whatever reason, I just always take the long way around. That’s why I hate most board games, the kinds you must “learn” and “figure out” like risk. That learning process is much longer for me. I have to see the entirety of the picture or at least most of it before I can start to work out the details of a good strategy, while getting my ass kicked by everyone and their 10-year old son in the meantime. The good news is when I get it, I usually GET IT. I just don’t have time to get a board game.

Relationships is one of those things I still feel very far away from getting. Things in that area haven’t “clicked” into place for me yet. I do believe in love. I wouldn’t be single otherwise. How to get there is the question. What is falling in love really all about? I guess at its simplest it is that you find someone who you feel at home with, who allows you to be most fully yourself? Well, I think I’m getting to know myself better and better, and what I say to this person is good luck.

I’m an egotistical, slightly arrogant person who thinks he knows the answer to most things. I have issues with expressing my emotions, not least because half the time I do not know what they are myself. I hate getting asked things like “so are you angry?”, or “do you miss her?” how on earth should I know? That’s the other thing, I am cynical. Cynical is my natural disposition. I wake up in the morning cynical. I spend my Sundays in church picking apart whatever the pastor’s saying for some kind of falsehood. I check his body language, the suit he wears, how he treats his kids. And contrary to popular perception I AM NOT NICE. Sure, I do the best I can, society’s better off for it, but deep down I really wish you could all be a little more like me. THAT society would be perfect.

I started a note about relationships, and am now deeply lodged in a rant about myself, which should tell you I’m also quite self-focused. I disguise it by being self-critical, (even disguise it to myself) but one should not spend so much time thinking about one’s self, or even referring to himself as ONE. Let’s see, what else, if we argue, I will almost never lose my temper or lose control and that will annoy the shorts off you. If we argue I will keep going, totally calm, totally methodical until one of us eventually passes out, and if the argument cannot be resolved, and you say, “let’s just agree to disagree” I will nod and try to act like I agree, while saying a silent prayer in my head that your views will someday change to mine, that you may see the light.

But I also believe in loving, and loving deeply. I believe in self-sacrifice and tender displays of affection. They are difficult for me to arrange myself, but flowers, and hugs, and hand squeezes, and snail mail, I believe in these things. I walk along in life with my armor up, waiting for someone to “strip it from me”, knowing that I need someone to help me find the softer side of me. The better side? I don’t know, the world must have some use for guys like me.

Everybody has an image of who they think they should be with. For me, the image was often of someone a lot like me. But how useless would that be, how futile? What could I learn from someone who was so like the one person I’m the best at being (complicated sentence?), What could I learn about being practical or inexpressive or strong? I’m not saying I’m now aiming for the polar-opposite of myself, because I suppose that would be a Satan worshipper from Norway, who studied I dunno, Greek mythology. So, it is the case that it is more of a balance. Someone enough like you to understand you, but different enough to surprise you, intrigue you, make you gasp for air with the simplest things.

I don’t feel like I’ve got to the root of love and relationships with this note. I don’t think anyone ever will. It’s left to the poets and the musicians to express things that mere logic struggles to. I mean forget having the key to your heart. This person must have the combination. A particular balance of attributes that for reasons that you probably can’t figure out yourself work. Falling in love is either something we work hard to attain or else it is magic, reasonless, rhyme-less, pure magic.

I ain’t talking about staying in love, that’s a different conversation. But falling in love, maybe there’s more magic there than we realize, maybe that’s why I’ll never be able to write a good note about it, explain it to you, even after the fact (if the fact does happen). How can I still believe in this nonsense? Because every now and then I see it, most recently, a Hispanic couple, sitting on the subway across from me. No, they’re not nuzzling each other or anything corny like that. This woman is going on and on about goodness knows what and this guy, big guy, is smiling like an idiot, hanging on her every word, like it’s falling pearls, drinking her in, not her body with his eyes, her soul with his ears, and truth be told, I felt blessed to be even sitting near them.