"Anyone can be passionate, but it takes real lovers to be silly." -- Rose Franken
It used to be my expectation that romance isn’t required and the language of love is one of settlement. It wasn’t because I’m bitter and crusty (you’re free to disagree), but it’s more because I’ve always been afraid of disappointment. If I don’t expect anything, if I never allow myself to hope for more, then I won’t ever get the feeling of a ten pound weight punching a hole out of the bottom of my gut. But for the sake of honesty, I did want it – the flirting, the courtship, sweetness, passion – all of it. I wanted the beautiful Audrey kiss in a New York alleyway, in my tailored trench, in the arms of a beautiful man, under the perfectly timed spring rain whose drops only made that fragile face glisten even more delicately.
I used to be one of those people who needed the “I love you” to feel secure. I needed to hear it; I needed it to be said to me, and sometimes, I would say it to the other person just so I could hear it back. It was never enough. I learned somewhere along the way “I love you” starts to mean something else and at the worst of times, nothing at all.
I learned “I love you” isn’t so valuable when I abuse it, and in the case of true intimacy, lovers use it sparingly.
I used to want “I love you” and “I miss you,” but what’s special about those phrases besides the very facts they state in so straightforward a manner? Billions of people in different places and different times have used those phrases and many to no avail, but how many people know what “the chocolate incident” is?
Or what “Max” means?
Or “little trees”?
Or “President of the United States”?
Or “telling you in my head?” I forget when Norman coined this little catchphrase, but it began because of the many instances I began a story with,
“Didn’t I tell you…?” (when I hadn’t)
“No, you told me in your head.”
My lacking memory makes him laugh, and this, to me, is “I love you” in a language that only I understand.
These inside jokes aren’t purposed to be exclusionary, rather they create a language of familiarity between us (it’s the same way writers use repetition to establish intimacy with their readers); so that even when we’re in a crowded room, just one glance and we have our own world.
No one would believe me if I told you what a nut job Norman is (and I mean that in the most endearing way), but I love that. I love that I’m the only one who knows the extent of his quirks. It’s this intimacy that defines the love stronger than any straightforward “I love you,” and it’s not that we feel hampered from saying “I love you” to each other, but there are so many other ways we could say it, ways that say, “I don’t want to be generic. You’re too special for that. My love is too great for that.”
In the beginning, all lovers are sweet to each other, call each other “baby,” kiss, gush. But if this is the default state of our love for the rest of our lives, I’d get a cavity (and Lord knows I don’t need any more of those). And of course there are passionate loves, the kinds that get made into bestselling novels and then silver screen flops, but it’s hard for those to make it to the end. Passion is a desirable element in the ideal relationship, but when it’s the foundation, it’s tiring and eventually, it isn’t enough. You realize later on, the truest lover is the one of humor rather than one of passion (although the two are not mutually exclusive). Silliness is the language of love.
So Norman, I hope you know I’ve already told you in my head, but I’ll say it again for your poor itty bitty ears:
I love you – and happy anniversary.
(photos via pinterest)