After a certain amount of time, there is a rhythm to falling in love.
You meet someone. You fall mercilessly for them. And it works – for a while. You carve out those memories – the ones that seem so unique to just you and that one other person: The way they’d kiss you with firm hands and eyes open. The highway that you’d drive down with the windows down and the radio cranked. The way they’d wrap their arms around you at night that made you feel as though the entire world was safe and serene for just a moment. You fall easily into the tranquility of combining your moments with somebody else’s because it feels like you can trust it this time. Like it is going to be okay. Like you can stay there.
Except you never can. It’s not always planned or deliberate. It’s not always harsh or malicious. But some inhuman part of us seems programmed to fall apart and at one point or another, it always does.
You wake up one too many mornings with the right side of the bed lying empty. You get busy with your day and respond less frequently to your text messages. And eventually the big kicker comes. A job in another city. A breakdown in communication. A compromise that perhaps you would both like to make but refuse to. There are too many principles guiding us that surmount basic emotion and so we let them break us apart. We learn to be alone again. And it’s not so bad, after all – we can depend on ourselves, we can plan our own futures, we can live our lives wholly and selfishly without having to worry about who we are harming.
Until it all begins again. You go out to dinner with someone whose smile lights up your evening and whose touch makes you shiver and whose thoughts keep you wide-awake and reeling through the nighttime. And it’s beautiful and perfect and genuine except you can’t help but remember that the beginning necessitates the end.
That someday this person who lights up your existence you may also be the person you abhor – the one you throw from your life and block from your Facebook feed and cringe at the mention of their name. That someday everything you love about this person may also be the thing that you hate. Their unassuming laugh will become unbearably annoying. Their innate library of knowledge will seem condescending and dry. The words and phrases that take you off guard now will someday be a puzzle that you’re tired of putting together. You could hate this person, every bit as fully as you love them and you’re not sure if the risk will be worth it. They text you on a lazy Sunday evening while you’re watching TV and you’re not sure what you ought to text them back.
“Do you think that we should really start this up?” You want to ask them. “What if I eventually hate you? What if you fall out of love? What if every quirk we admire about one another right now becomes tired and wearisome as this goes on? What if my effervescent wit becomes manipulative and meddlesome with time? What if your calculating nature grows exhausting? What if we cease to enthral each other? What if I become one more thing that you can shrug off with detached indifference?”
You want to ask these deadpan questions but you know that the most important ones are those that you ought to be asking yourself.
Will you regret this? Will it come back to haunt you? Four years from now will you wish that you could travel back to this exact moment in time and put the phone down? Let the message go unanswered, let the love go undiscovered, let every fearful, exhilarating step that you could take towards this person go untraveled? Will you know with such clarity, at a much later point in time, that none of this is worth the pain that it will someday evoke?
And if you knew the answer to all of it, would you answer the text anyway?
Because maybe it’s not always about the endgame – as painful and debilitating as it can be. What if your future self could travel back in time and tell your current self that the end would be every bit as excruciating as you fear but that you should answer that text message anyway? That you should take that leap. That the relationship you’re going to enter into is going to teach you more about love and the world and yourself than you could ever imagine. That it’s going to be worth every ounce of the pain. That love always is.
Maybe we have an endless, unrestricted amount to learn from one another. Maybe we have no reason not to jump into every new relationship, every possibility, every chance we come across to grow bigger and bolder through love, whether it works out or not. Maybe it’s just a matter of being brave enough to take that chance. To answer that text message. To let it start all over again.
Because maybe the end game is worth it every time. Maybe the heartbreak is a side effect of something so brilliant that it eventually overshadows the destruction. Maybe some things don’t have to last forever in order to change you irrevocably. And once you’ve loved enough people, maybe that’s exactly what you know – that you’re strong enough to survive it. Strong enough to change from it. And strong enough and brave enough to choose the potential for growth over the fear of getting hurt, every time.