Spring finally arrived in New England just midway into April. We’d begun to doubt we would ever feel the sun’s warmth again. It was a brutal winter that took hold in December and simply would not let go. I was beginning to blame the fact that I am in the autumn of my years, which made it so especially nasty. But that was the general consensus even among the young. We have enjoyed some glorious days lately, putting a lilt into our walk and a grin on the sourest of faces. Everyone is in a better mood. Science may try to tell us it is merely the effect of the vernal equinox and some nonsense about the tilt of the planet on its axis. We all know the reality is Proserpina or Persephone, (depending on whether you follow the Roman or Greek religions), has been released from her six months in Hades to bring life back to the Earth. Spring also is the season we connect with falling in love.
The times that I was fortunate enough to have it happen to me, (there were perhaps a half-dozen) it was never spring. It was autumn for Guy and Julio. It was summer for Alejandro and David. I can recall specific details of our meeting and those awkward beginnings that relationships sometimes initially suffer. For Guy, it was my first real kiss. He came at me in the darkness, unsuspected. His kiss was as innocent as a child’s, yet fevered with passion. It was running in a cold, late night rain up Hudson Street in the West Village holding Julio’s beautifully strong hand. Alejandro and I were introduced by friends, so our first weeks were a mutual game of hard-to-get. With David it was the heat of the beach, then the sound of water slapping under the dock during a bayside dinner by candlelight.
Once each relationship began forming, my memories become more vivid. I insisted on learning my new lover’s history; I still hold each of their precious stories inside. “Tell me what you like and what you would never tolerate from me. Tell me a beautiful secret from deep in your heart.” I see myself sitting next to Guy. He’s driving his MG with the top down, both of us stoned out of our gourds at 1:00 a.m. on our way to the truck stop for munchies. I can close my eyes and feel the heat of being in Julio’s bed. I still smell the chocolate-brown paint Alejandro and I slathered on the walls of our first apartment and all the food we cooked together in its tiny kitchen. I see David with an armload of shirts and pants on hangers, trying to cram them into the only closet in my bedroom.
Why can I not remember the sensation of falling in love? Way different than being in love. It is that which I long for, especially on those days when I am feeling older than I am comfortable being. These feelings are something I’ve attempted to include in many of my tales. Try as hard as I might, I failed each time to summon them from my mind’s heart. But then, I’d always searched for some tangible memory to hopefully trigger those emotions. Perhaps it wasn’t that simple.
Then amazingly, with the heralding of spring, came the solution to my quandary. Spring is also the season for the arrival of the muses, who–if you are fortunate enough–will sit on your shoulder and whisper into your ear all the answers you seek. Being a proud gay man, my muse is not one of those Grecian girls with curly tresses and diaphanous dresses you may have seen depicted on urns or murals. Mine is this man with dark hair and beautiful, warm eyes that make you melt when you look into them. He made me see it all without whispering one single word.
Falling in love is a condition, a state of being that is not limited to a moment or a time frame like a memory is. It is called falling in love, because it is a stream of emotions which continues to move us through our day-to-day, even when the object of our love is not with us. Especially when they are not with us. It is this condition which heightens our senses and delivers us to an altered state of joyous euphoria.
When you are falling in love, you begin to rediscover music. Suddenly every song you hear is somehow written just for you and your new-found love. Each one holds a line or a phrase you are certain could only relate to the two of you. A tune that once used to make you tap your foot or gently move your hips, now compels you to dance with abandon, alone in front of the mirror. Those songs which once touched your heart, now leave you weeping with joy. Or you yourself become this poet, leaving little notes in inconspicuous places that your love will find throughout the course of his day.
You are sitting at your desk at work and look up at the clock. Before the actual time registers in your brain, you wonder what he’s doing right now. Could it even be possible that he is thinking about me at this exact same moment? Or you are at home alone, doing whatever mundane thing you might do, when the phone rings. You jump to answer it before the first ring has finished, as your heart stops beating. It’s him telling you something silly, like there’s a program on TV you probably would enjoy. You speak for a few minutes, and as you hang up, you pray every moment you are not together, his every thought will always be of you. Of course today this part would all be different, I imagine. Those who are falling in love now must be texting or tweeting, checking their email quarter-hourly, waiting to hear that special ringtone that makes them feel warm inside. Still the basic premise remains the same.
But are these universal symptoms suffered by all who fall in love, I wonder? I certainly hope so. I’d like to believe I am normal in at least this one way, and that some things, like love, haven’t radically changed so much in our world of today. I am aware that it is not healthy to live a life steeped in memories of yesterday, like some Tennessee Williams emotionally wounded character. But oh! To be able to live in a constant state of falling in love. That–that would be my idea of heaven on earth.
Listen to Chasing Cars