A Thousand Words for Love
**This was written in March, but all still true.**
We’ve talked about this before, about how the Eskimos have 13 words for snow. And how, in the same vein, we need a thousand words for love. Because every love is different, every person we meet and every person we are requires a new and different kind of love. And we only have one word, one small, four-letter word, to describe a thousand different ways to feel and act and give and take and breathe in another person and breathe out something better of ourselves.
I haven’t wanted to write much lately, I haven’t wanted to write at all about what’s going on in my life until suddenly, today, the second day of Spring, I do.
I’m getting divorced.
I have rediscovered who I am and what makes me happy and I feel like I am unfolding myself out of a box I have lived in for…well, for a very long time.
And I’ve fallen in love.
The divorce story is like every divorce story, except for the ways it isn’t. The story is only half mine, so I will give it to you in broad strokes. Everyone who knows us thinks they know already, and maybe they do. But basically, two people can only be so far apart for so long before big and little things, done and undone, take a toll. I will take the fall, I am the bad guy here. I did the leaving, the calling off, the filing, and the telling.
I dated last summer, using dating apps. I went on a lot of first dates, not a lot of seconds, and only twice did it progress further. I spent a lot of time and data getting to know people who, while lovely, were broken in ways I couldn’t mesh with, gave love in ways that didn’t resonate with me, needed things from me I couldn’t give, or were just not the one, in ways I still can’t articulate but I can decisively say no, not at all. And I believe they would say the same thing, should we all show up at a cocktail party or some live music venue together. She was fine, she just wasn’t the one.
Until one day, I was. I am the one. And lucky for me, he is the one. My mom likes him, my friends like him, my kids like and respect him, and my dog obeys him.
I call him That Amazing Boyfriend (TAB), because he is.
All of the things around my house that have been broken and neglected and unloved for…awhile…are suddenly fixed, and used, and loved, and spruced up, and shiny. Projects I have wanted to do are done. Hanging curtains, which seemed like the hardest thing in the world, took less than an hour. Fixing the deck, which I was sure would require many hundreds of dollars, required a man with a hammer and a goal. And it’s done.I could go on and on, telling you all of the things TAB has done around the house in the last few months, but it’s an embarrassment of riches, really.
Just know this: every time he makes something around the house better, he makes me better. He puts the little shards of my broken heart back together, and makes them beautiful again.
So I don’t know the word for this love – this thing where two tarnished and bruised up people come together and see the beauty and the possibility and the strength in the damage, but I can tell you that living it is like finding a sunny clearing in the woods when you didn’t even know you were walking in the dark…then discovering that the clearing has a cool, clear spring and you hadn’t even known you were thirsty, and then discovering someone had caught up to you and they had a delicious sandwich in their backpack, and it was made just the way you like it, hot peppers and all. And then discovering that the guy with the backpack likes your music and you both love the beach and he doesn’t care if you take ridiculous selfies with him and he also grills.
And when you’ve had a bad day he holds your hand till you fall asleep.
And when you’ve had a good day, he’s thrilled for you.
And when he’s had a bad day, he knows you will listen.
And when he’s had a good day, he tells you first.
And when he’s your last first kiss.
And when you look back at your life and know that getting here, reaching this place, is a result of everything you have done, endured, walked through…and that it was all worthwhile.
It’s the kind of love no one word could do justice to. But one word is all we have.
And so we use it.