Wednesday, December 23, 2009

LOVE AND WAR



"Never make someone a priority if they only make you an option."

Words to live by. That was yesterday's (and presumably, today's) MSN "nick" of a romantic interest of my friend Rob, whose response was that either 1) it had nothing to do with Rob, or 2) it was how this guy thinks Rob treats him (like an option, not a priority), or 3) it was a very tacky warning that Rob is an option, not a priority.

Although it's not really the point of this post, for the record, I went with No. 1.

Normally, I cringe and roll my eyes at philosophical musings on MSN and in Facebook status updates. But since Rob revealed this one to me, it's been stuck in my head. It might be the best platitude I've encountered since years ago when I first came across Maya Angelou's divine revelation: "When someone shows you how they are, believe them."

But getting back to option vs. priority. That's deep stuff and an important consideration when considering putting all of your eggs in one basket, romantically speaking. My new Argentine girlfriend is about to pull a huge Felicity. I'm talking about the title character of the TV series, who travelled cross-country from California to college in New York City, chasing after a guy who, in my humble opinion, may have been pretty but wasn't really worth the frequent flier miles.

My friend is saving up her pesos from October to next May in order to go to Utah to study and to convince the love of her life that they belong together. She met this guy in Buenos Aires last August, and since he left, she says (technically, she wrote, in an email a few days ago), "I miss everything about him, even the smell of his skin, the connection we had, chemistry, everything! It was like a fusion, 2 becoming one in body and soul... Every damn thing reminds me of him: smells, colours, places where we've been. Sometimes I dream about him and wake up crying, or while I'm walkin down the street and I see a shadow, I mean someone who looks just like him from the back, it's so surreal, but in a way, not only surreal but sad, it hurts really deep."

Wow, she's got it bad. Here is one hopeless romantic who has truly learned to respect the power of love.

But what about him? Is she a priority, as he so obviously is for her, or an option. For him, the physical distance between them is a major obstacle. For her, there are no barriers, neither space nor language (she speaks near-fluent English, which is a plus). Part of me applauds her courage and encourages her to follow her heart and take this leap of faith. Another part of me, worries that leaps of faith can lead to deadly falls.

On the outside, I tell her to follow her heart, all the way to Mormon country (yikes!). Sometimes it's the love that we really have to fight for that sticks around. But on the inside, I know that love is a battlefield where winning is everything and losing can be fatal -- emotionally, mentally, physically. My heart's in armour. I relate deeply to the protagonist of Sade's new single, "Soldier of Love." I'm a soldier of love, every day and night, a soldier of love, all the days of my life.

That said, at 40, I think love is one war that is perhaps best waged con los pies en la tierra (down to earth) on a battlefield close to home.
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