“Was it the infinite sadness of her eyes that drew him or the mirror of himself that he found in the gorgeous clarity of her mind?” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
Fleeting moments, nervous energy, words that come out jumbled, euphoria, insomnia, walking on air, the soft, slow breath before each kiss, uncertainty, secret language, and a world view that suddenly seems sunny and bright: is there any better drug than falling in love? The act of loving and the state of being in love have an entirely different set of feelings to accompany them, and while beautiful and meaningful, they do not compare to the rush that is falling in love. The qualities that endear someone to you, these immoveable moments where another person is able to see himself reflected in the eyes of someone who is just beginning to love him, where he begins to understand, that in her eyes, he is perfect, because she loves him. The place where love begins is so powerful, it is a place that we travel back to in our minds, hoping to grab onto, to hold onto just a little bit of how we felt.
I’ve said that “P” and I have an incredible love story, one that would give any romantic movie a run for it’s money. In conversation today, I was not only reminded just how moving our story is, but I was given insight into a moment (or moments) that I was completely unaware of. Three years ago, “P” and I began running into each other at a coffee shop in our shared workplace. From the moment I saw him, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to know him. I began adjusting the time that I went for coffee based on the time of day I had previously seen him there. Unbeknownst to me, he was doing the exact same thing. We silently stalked each other for over six months (writing this makes me cringe, but it is in fact what we did), neither of us able to muster the courage to speak to the other (in fairness, he did utter a few words to me at one point, but I was so shocked and nervous that I came across as cold and uninterested). Despite the fact that he was tall and handsome, there was something about him, a stranger, that I couldn’t stay away from. There was something about him that I needed to be close to. When he finally did speak to me for the first time (something I had almost given up on happening), I basically tripped over myself to let him know that I was single (I wasn’t, but please don’t judge). He cleverly tracked down my email address a few days later, and we went on our first date – which ended with kissing in the street, oblivious to anything or anyone else around us. Falling in love with him came with ease, as I had already been doing it for six months; everything he said and did only made me fall more quickly in love with him. To me, he was perfect.
Backstory in place, today he shared with me that he had noticed my feet one day, and continued to look at them when he saw me (instead of talking to me). I was horrified by this, as my feet are my biggest insecurity. He noted that they were imperfect, juxtaposed with how perfectly everything else about me seemed to be put together. There was something about my imperfection that made me whole, and this endeared me to him. Perhaps it’s the fact that I never knew this, but I was so touched by this seemingly small thing, that it made me cry. Perhaps it’s knowing that he too, beyond his control, was falling in love with me, a stranger, at the exact same time I was falling in love with him.
There are these moments, in the beginning of a relationship, before the complications of life appear and make a relationship painful and difficult, when we accept someone else and see them as perfect; when despite the fact that they are not perfect, but just human, they are perfect to us. These moments are the ones that stay with you, and make it difficult to let go; when the dust settles and there is no more fight, and everything that was wrong seems to fade away, this is what remains. You are able to remember how you fell in love, and why. No matter the outcome, you know that you had something very real… and that it was worth every moment. Because what is better than falling in love?