Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.
A newer friend of mine who happens to be single asked me a question recently. "When you met your husband for the first time, did you know?" And what she meant by this, of course, was did I know in that very moment of our first encounter that I'd met my match. Indeed, she was inquiring about whether it was an instance of love at first sight.
And, at her simple question, I wanted to scoff. I wanted to laugh it off. I wanted to say: Of course not. Finding one's life partner is indeed a process of intellectual introspection and emotional endurance. One that takes thought and time and tremendous patience. But I did not utter these sensible, sage things I very much wanted to be able to utter. Why? Because, for me, they were not true.
Instead, I said, in an apologetic whisper, "Yes." Because that was the truth.
Many of you know that I met Husband in a bar (yes, a bar!) late at night. I was out with good girlfriends and was not looking to meet anyone. But. It just happened. We started talking, trading bits and pieces about ourselves and our stories. We sipped. We smiled. There was laughter. The authentic and crippling kind.
There was love.
And maybe that sounds cheesy (I think it does), but it is what it is. Something happened, something mysterious and magical, in that darkened Manhattan jazz bar (called Prohibition no less). Something took hold of me. Something like a virus.
A good virus.
And so. When my friend asked, I answered. I told her that indeed I knew, I felt it, in the moment of our meeting. I felt obliged to be honest. To tell it like it is. And was. And ever since that conversation, I've been thinking about this. This virus we call love. I've been wondering whether I'm in the majority, or the minority. I've been wondering whether most people experience things this way or whether, for most people, falling in love is an evolution, something that happens more gradually. My profound hunch is that there is a broad spectrum; That there are infinite ways to fall into, and find, love.
Oh, there is another thing that I think about sometimes. Another cheesy thing. Another interesting thing if we dig past the cheese. There are many names for this thing: Soul mates, The One, Other Half. In life, is there one person for each of us, whom we are meant to find and hold on to? Or, are there several people out there for us? Or, could we really, in the right circumstances, find love with most people? I have always prided myself on my critical thinking and as such, I have always dismissed the idea of two people being cosmically meant for each other. In this big, bad world of choice and chance, it has always struck me as ludicrous that two tiny people are destined for each other.
And I still feel this way. I think. In theory, at least. In practice though, I am with a man who loves me and understands me and gets me. My life is complicated and not without pain, but there is love. A lot of it. I feel I'm where I should be. And with the right person. I am flirting (just flirting) with the idea that somehow, someway, I was meant to meet that handsome guy in that darkened bar late that night. I tell myself, No! Don't be ridiculous! You are a thinker! But, in my mind, where honesty resides most freely, I really don't know.
So, yes. This post is, on the surface, all lovey-dovey Velveeta. But. If you allow yourself to stop judging for a split second (so hard, I know) to think about these questions, I think you will realize that these questions have significance. For all of us. And I am not scared to ask them. So here I go:
- Do you agree with Maya Angelou that love is like a virus, that we are vulnerable to its forces? Or, do you think love is more a matter of calculation and choice?
- Do you find the idea that love is a virus to be uplifting since it means we can fall in love at anytime and in any place OR does this concept frighten you insofar as it also means that people we love might catch the virus when they shouldn't, when they are already committed?
- Do you believe in love at first sight? Have you ever experienced it?
- When you met your partner, did you "know"?
- Do you think falling in love can be (or should be) a gradual and thoughtful process?
- Do you believe in soul mates?
- Do you agree that once we strip away the rainbows and hearts and Hallmark-ian imagery from their surface, these questions are actually quite complex and interesting?
- Do you think that, as a society, we are to obsessed with Love and its manifestations?