I grew up believing in love. Love I found in old and borrowed paperbacks I was perhaps much too young to read, love in the movies, love in the lyrics of songs my father, and mother, and boyfriends played to me. Love in Notting Hill, love in Eric Segal’s Love Story, Love in the Eagles’ Peaceful, Easy Feeling and even B B King’s The Thrill is Gone. Long before I learned to love, I learned to ache from it; school diaries were filled with lonesome love stories from the Chicken Soup, my then blog, with self-made poetry on love and loss.
I grew up looking for love. I looked for love in everyone who understood me beneath the cheery smile and boyish demeanour- anyone who saw me as I really am, a misfit, misfit. I looked for love in the oddest places; sometimes, I found love too. And when I did, I always fell in love much too quickly, much to easily, much too generously. Sometimes I loved, once I fell out of it, once it became all too diffcult to love, and once I grew weary from it. But love came, and love went- and I only wondered- when love would stay?
I was twenty-three when I fell in love again. I always remember it as a real kind of love, a love that really knew it was love- young and innocent to be love, old and wise, to be tamed to stay. It was beautiful, come to think of it- the many nuances of being with someone, the little joys it fills you with. Except I hadn’t quite learned, how to make love stay.
In time, the loss was bearable, but the love was gone. I continued to half-heartedly look for love; one-eye open in case it had slipped in through the door one morning? And sometimes it had. Sometimes, an old love stopped by to tell me how much he still cared, a new friend to tell me how special I was, and a fleeting friend to tell me how he was falling in love (only to shortly disappear.) I slowly learned- in all the ways love can come to you, the half-chances are the hardest. Only ahead of unwanted love, the love you nearly succumbed to lest it was the half chance you’d never have again…
Even so- as friends marched on, and love burned along, I never stopped believing in love 🙂 Perhaps- I had stopped looking for it; it mattered less than when I grew up. There were many kinds of love now, work and places, and friends, and books, and movies; there was no desperate need for a special kind of love. Yet everyone around me began to seek it out; as if there was a time for love!
There were datings apps, and online ads, and newspaper ads, and personal bio-datas and telephone enquiries, and twitter romances- and funnily, some of them worked too. Friends straddled down the aisle shortly after they found ‘the one’ in response to a newspaper ad, somebody even found their match on their first date off Hinge! They had found love, and I was being coaxed to orchestrate it too. Everything I grew up with, ambition, and a job, and a lust for life had stayed too long now. When really love should have overrun.
But I wouldn’t and I couldn’t orchestrate love. It would find a way, and all the Neruda, and the Joe Cocker, and the John Carney had taught me…there was no ‘if it didn’t.’