What is Love?

Think of your longest relationship: describe how your love has changed over time, did you go from the giddiness of infatuation, to mad passion, to deep respect, esteem, and friendship? Tell us about your love story. Daily Prompt

I find it funny, in a is-this-a-coincidence-or-is-this-how-the-world-works way, that the day after I read a quote by Pablo Neruda on love that I encounter this daily prompt, the day that I return to this neglected blog after five long uneventful months. First, the quote:

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.  -Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I found this incredibly heart wrenching and yet warming at the same time. But first, I think I should get to the prompt first, and as a result, I will hopefully explain my thoughts towards this poem.

This is a love story that has many sides, and because of our openness, I have received much more love than I could have ever hoped for when our relationship began. We met our freshman year of college. I had a quirky roommate who had a tiny obsession with hallucinogenic drugs, pharmacy, and dust. (If you’re reading this, I’m sorry but it’s true.) After my turbulent whirlwind romance with science and technology in high school, I threw it all away in the hopes of chasing my creative dreams and genes. We’d been in school for about a month at this point. The weather was starting to become cooler. And we were still stuck in our struggle to make friends. (Neither of us were very good at it.) So we decided one night to disregard our homework and to take a risk. We would attempt to speak to the first person we saw in the hallway. We both poked our heads out and looked down the hallway.

There was no one but a tall shirtless boy down at the other end of the dorm, standing in front of a water fountain. We looked at each other and kind of shrugged, thinking, might as well. My roommate was the one who shouted to the guy, something along the lines of “Hey, dude without a shirt, what’s your name”. Well, it worked. I was stuck between giddiness and embarrassment when he turned to look at us. He had incredibly curly hair almost down to his shoulder. Gosh, he was a strange one. Eventually he came over to our room and we hung out. We invited our neighbor over as well. The shirtless one was incredibly tall. I don’t remember what we said that night, but it must’ve been something because we ended up talking until late into the night. It got so late, in fact, that our neighbor and the stranger gave up going back to their room and just slept in ours. Sleepover party.

That’s how we met. Our relationship didn’t begin until the summer after freshman year. We were friends at first, especially because I was in another relationship at the time (I’m a sucker about letting go. I couldn’t move on from high school.) Little by little we became closer friends. It didn’t hurt that we lived on the same floor, just down the hall from each other. It also didn’t hurt that he was so noticeable (almost always without a shirt, and that half-swaying walk of his). After winter break he cut his hair, and oh my goodness was he cute! (If you’re reading this, I’m sorry. I didn’t like your long hair.) My personal life became complicated and as a result, I broke up with my boyfriend that semester. We hung out even more. But nothing happened. We were just very close friends, friends who have slight crushes on each other. Friends who wakes the other up after their morning class or before the class so they can have breakfast together. Thinking back on it, our friends probably thought our relationship was disgustingly cute. (Haha.)

When our relationship did start, it really happened like a whirlwind affair. The first summer together was freedom. I was in a new relationship with a guy I knew and yet hardly knew. We learned about each other, talked, went on walks, did a lot of things together. It was almost like infatuation, love, and honeymoon all mixed together. I couldn’t help it; he always put a smile on my face. Even when I wanted to be mad at him, I couldn’t really (That’s still true, but it could also be because of my nature).

And then we took a break. Things had been going great until then. In fact, things probably had been going too well that it was bound to happen. I was going to study abroad and I wanted some space to breathe, and I felt like I would be tied down. My memory is fuzzy about this part. I just remember we couldn’t agree on what would happen and so for the best, we decided on a break. I think we both needed it. It ended up being longer than both of us anticipated. I was in England for almost six months but I had accepted an internship in Taiwan which would keep me there all summer. Our break extended.

During our time apart, I took a chance to look back at what I felt and what I wanted. I still don’t really know what I want. I can’t really put it into words, but I do know it when I experience it. Perhaps the question foremost on my mind was “Was I pushed into this relationship”, but it didn’t matter. Our time together had overwritten any of that. All I felt was a genuine belonging with him. (I think he was sure of us the whole time. Boys.) When I returned for my senior year, we got back together.

It’s been more than a year since then and I do think our relationship has changed. It has matured from the childish giddiness of a young romance into that of a relationship built on a foundation of trust and friendship. And love, of course. Sometimes it feels like our love is so young, and yet so old at the same time when I count the years (I don’t really keep track, I always have to use my fingers. Is that bad?) I see him, not as someone else, but as a partner whom I have a greatest respect for, despite his sometimes narrow minded beliefs and different perspective (about a lot of things).

So when I read that Neruda sonnet, it really resounded in me. When did our love start? I wouldn’t be able to put a finger on an exact date, nor would I be able to say where the turning point was. I could put a finger to when we became “official” (if people still do that; I’m old-fashioned), but who knows when feelings appear. They all mesh into one and evolve. He is a part of my life right now, and because I cannot see the future, I also cannot see how far our relationship will go. But at every moment of our life, we always feel this moment lasts forever, so for me, right now, it feels as if we are one and will always be together. I just can’t imagine any different.

 

Now I’m really curious as to what he thinks.

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