So what is love? Is it that chemical response that you get ever time you see your lover? Could it be the doing of thankless jobs and deeds for others known and unknown? Perhaps it is the feelings you have for your children, spouse or cats. Mayhap… perchance… it is more.
When we are born, hormones are released within our mother. (that’s your parental unit number 1. She did the heavy lifting for 40 weeks so she gets top billing). In almost every case these hormones engender feelings of protectiveness, tenderness, acceptance and what we call love. These same hormones are released in lower levels throughout the entire pregnancy-one reason that most of us women don’t give birth and wander off like a turtle going back to the surf, leaving our young to fend for themselves.
Fathers (that’s a special term reserved for a special type of parental unit–one who actually parents and cares for his offspring, rather than the so-termed “baby-daddy” or dead-beat dad)–get the same release of feeling inducing hormones through interaction and touch. They can’t give birth so nature has provided for a new way to learn love.
When we reach adulthood, or even young adulthood-there’s that flood of hormonal chemicals again-growth, thought processes, body regulation… and procreative drive. But the urge to procreate is not what we know as love. If we are men we see the curve of breast and hip–designated by nature to be more forbearant to giving birth and sustaining life. For women, we see the breadth of shoulders, the definition of chest and leg muscles–the marks of a provider. Great for a hunter/gatherer society, but along the way we discovered there was more to be had.
There is the smell of hair wrapped around our arms or fluffing into our noses when we awake for the day. The smile on the face of our significant other that only appears when we walk into the room. We look up from a board meeting to think of him or her at his or her job and think that a quick run to Wawa for coffee on the way home would put a smile on the other’s face. We dream of today, of tomorrow, and of years to come, sitting across a table from this person, knowing that he or she fits the contours of our body as we watch sunrise and sunset or our children playing on a swing set that has no safety nets.
Yesterday I spent the entire day living the high life. Literally. I was so manic I could barely put two words together and I take my medications as prescribed every day. It just so happens that I reached out to an old friend at the same time. Someone I have been thinking about for 26 years, because I have believed for that entire time that I hurt him. That I caused him pain due to my fear-fear that I would wind up being the same person who molested me for five years, because this dear man was, what I thought at the time, much younger than I. He was the first person I ever kissed of my own free will and i remember the sweet and gentleness of it.
Being as manic as I was, when we spoke, I went the way I usually do–I get highly sexualized in my content and story line.bouncing as much as I did off every wall in the state, I took it way too far…but I had the most amazing day speaking with him. Remembering. Daydreaming. I knew nothing would ever rome of it-he’s married and committed to his wife and even in love with her. But he was always too sweet with me and I think he did not want to hurt me by trying harder to cut my high off. I dont know how he could have. Lithium didn’t–and nothing else did. It didnt help that when we signed off the phone he told me he loved me. I doubt me not that he even realized it, but right then in that moment I loved him with all of my heart. whether it was the day, the memory or the daydream I may never know. But the love was real.
I got him in trouble. His wife found texts between us and at some point after I was asleep she called me on my phone to chew me out. Not sure what she said-I was groggy and Lunesta worked for once. She texted me again at 330 a.m.–not sure why, but I got a rather curt message that I replied to in my middle of the fucking night voice.
I called him this morning to apologize and to say goodbye. He’s grown to be this amazing man who I wish I could have remained close with for the past 26 years. I would hope and pray that someday I will cross his path again. When i hung up the phone the silent tears fell down my face until my bed shook with the effort of being quiet. Christmas carols rang in my ears from a walk down my memory’s halls as I got up to start my day getting ready to bury my mother’s ashes.
There are days that I believe that when my father passes, I’ll be taking the next train ride out. Days like today make that feel all the more certain.