The easiest thing I ever did was fall in love with the boy.
I had no idea it was coming. Nor did he. We were just friends at first, and colleagues. Both of us had moved from somewhere else so we didn’t have many local friends yet. We enjoyed each other’s company and spent most of our free time together because it was the natural thing to do. We got to know each other well as friends – which so much easier than starting out with romance in mind. You can be yourself in the company of friends. As we learned more about each other we came to like and admire and trust each other more and more and soon we discovered we were best friends. And not long after that we realized we could be something more.
There is nothing better than having someone know everything about you – the good and the bad – and love you anyway without hesitation, without reservation, and without regret.
It took less than a week from our first kiss for us to realize we would marry. If you had known either of us back then you wouldn’t have believed it. We were both very careful, logical, rational people. We made decisions deliberately after weighing all the evidence. In this case there was no evidence to weigh. We just knew. In the twenty five years that followed that knowing didn’t change. We went on loving and trusting and respecting one another. I won’t tell you we never quarreled or disagreed with each other but what I can say is that even in those moments, we didn’t forget that we loved each other.
I had a recurring nightmare that started when I was quite young. In my dream, someone – sometimes somebody I knew, sometimes a stranger – would ask me to marry them and I would say ‘yes’. Immediately after I would start to panic: “What have I done? I have just made a decision I will have to live with for the rest of my life. What was I thinking?” And I would wake up with my heart racing. I remember the last time I had that dream vividly, because it was different from the others. I got to the the place where I said yes and the anxiety started and then I remembered: “wait … I’m already married. I married the boy! Well, that’s all right then.” I woke up feeling calm and happy and never had the dream again. I swear I’m not making this up.
I think I use to have that dream because I was afraid when I was younger that no matter who you chose as your life partner, you were bound to get tired of them eventually. At some point, surely you would know all of each other’s stories and opinions and run out of things to talk about. But the boy was special. He was fascinated by everything life had to offer. He absorbed it all and reflected it back, sharing what he learned with such enthusiasm that it would infect his audience even when (frequently) they had no idea what he was talking about. I got to live my life in a world that was constantly new and exciting because I went through it with him. If we had had twenty five more years, we still wouldn’t have run out of things to talk about.
Falling in love was the easiest thing I have ever done. Losing it is the hardest.