It always begins with denial: “it’s too early to be love, I don’t even know him all that well.” At what point do you know him well enough to love him? When you know the color of his eyes, the names of his sisters, or the story behind each of his tattoos? Is it enough to have felt every scar on his body and to know just what to say to make him smile? “Oh, he just told me his grandma’s maiden name! That’s the last bit of information on my checklist! Now I can call it — it’s love!”
For the longest time, you struggle with the word. It seems… too grand, too much. “I’m fond of him,” you tell yourself. “I am not irritated by him, there, I said it.” Then one day you discuss the possibility of the l-word with your best friend over gchat and you feel lighter, somehow. You make a few attempts to say it out loud when you’re alone, just to test what it’d sound like, just to see if it’d feel right. You gasp out loud, “I can’t believe I just said it!”
Then the anxiety begins. Because it’s been awhile since you found love knocking on your door. Before you even decide what to do, she’s already let herself in. You close your eyes and count to ten, maybe it’s all a dream. You open your eyes to find that she’s made herself quite comfortable. Should you politely ask her to leave? But what if she never visits again? So you carry on like nothing’s amiss, yet you see her from the corner of your eye and it makes you unsteady. Her presence changes everything.
You dare to hope, even if hope has led you astray far too many times.
And one day, you find yourself overwhelmed with joy. JOY. You want to shout it from the mountaintop. You can’t wipe that silly grin off your face. You’re positive you’re glowing. They say your brain in love is equivalent to your brain on cocaine. You’ve never tried cocaine but it’s nice to know you’ve got options if this love thing doesn’t work out. At this stage you learn of your many superpowers: you can levitate, you can soar with eagles and hang with clouds. You wonder how you ever doubted the existence of this feeling. Now that you’ve seen what’s on the other side, how could you ever go back to life before, to indulge in senseless pleasures? How is it possible that one person can make you so damn happy? Your friends are worried about you. “You’re still young,” they say. “You should keep your options open,” they say. Everyone else suddenly seems so much more rational than you, or maybe more cynical, you can’t decide. You ignore them, they’ve forgotten how it feels to soar, they only remember the fall. “You were right,” you tell your friend who understands, “it does feel like being hit by a train.”
All too soon, you’re brought back to earth by doubt. You feel better with your feet planted firmly on the ground. What are the odds that it’ll all work out anyway?