I’m Afraid To Fall In Love

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What’s your biggest fear? Radioactive spiders? Small spaces? Heights? Rats? Well, if it’s any of those don’t move to New York. But I can’t hate. All the aforementioned fears are legit. You are concerned about your own safety. Me? I fear falling in love for the same reason.

How ironic that I trust my life to a roller coaster operator, a tight rope that has me dangling hundreds of feet in the air or a harness that leaves me hanging over the side of a mountain, yet I fear giving my heart to the man who claims he loves me. Is that backwards? Though both situations suck, critics agree that heartbreak is far more preferable than falling to your death.

There we are, having a romantic night, just lying around and, out of nowhere, he busts out the L word. Everything changes. It’s like he dropped an atomic bomb on our relationship. Instead of inspiring elation, those three words inject terror into my heart like I’m on death row.  He might as well have informed me that I had 24 hours to live. Starting now. I would have reacted the same way.

The scariest thing about falling in love is the uncertainty. With roller coasters, the proof is in the long line. You see people getting off the roller coaster safe and sound. They look like they had a good time. Conversely, I have several single friends in their 20’s and 30’s who have come out of relationships of 2 years, 5 years, etc. Just like that, the relationship ended. They aren’t too eager to get on that emotional roller coaster.

(As a side note, I don’t think it makes sense to compare relationships to roller coasters. In roller coasters, the decline is the most fun part! So, when I say my relationship is an emotional roller coaster it should mean I’m having the time of my life, but I digress.)

You never know when it might happen. You could be sitting there thinking your relationship is all beer and skittles then you find someone else in bed with him. “Oh,” you say, “you must have been confused and thought it was me under the covers.” No? Oh…

The truth is anything can happen. No one can predict the bloody future. Yeah, he could end up cheating. But, I’m human, too. So could I. Under the right (read wrong) circumstances I might succumb to temptation, myself. And I don’t drink so I couldn’t blame it on the alcohol.

Or I could get a full-time writing gig (yes, please!) somewhere in Europe. My mom could become deathly ill, forcing me to move back to Texas. He could get run over by a New York taxi while crossing the street, even though he had the right of way.  One of us could get mauled by the Walking Dead and become a walker ourselves. All of these situations are equally plausible.

What’s the difference between the one who has loved but was heartbroken and the one who has never loved? The life of the former is much richer, filled with more color. He can relate to others more, comfort them because he knows what it feels like. She is an artist, a lyricist, and a poet. She can write the right words to describe love because she’s seen it, felt it. Touched it.

A life of fearful stasis is no life at all. I’ve decided I would rather take this chance than let fear paralyze me. If the relationship does end, it will certainly hurt, but I’ll cherish the time we spent together, the love we had, not focus on the fact that it ended.

I will have known what it means to love and be loved. That’s enough for me.

So, no, Yes, an owner of a lonely heart is not better than an owner of a broken heart. Your song’s still a classic, though.

When he says, “I love you,” it’s like he’s stretching out his hand as he hangs over a wall. Waiting for me to give him mine so he can pull me over. I haven’t the slightest clue what’s on the other side. He could be leading me into a lion’s den for all I know.

But I won’t know until I’m standing over the wall with him. So, I give him my hand. I would love to say I’m not still scared out of my wits. I am. But, I will never know unless I give it a shot.

So, here it goes.

I wait for the opportune moment to respond. We are slowly going up the incline. I can see the drop from here.

I turn to him and say, “I love you, too.” He smiles.

I’m strapped in. I should be holding on for dear life but I’m not going to. Instead, I throw my hands in the air and just enjoy the ride. TC Mark

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