I finally know what love is.
I’ve thought it’d come to me at various points in my life, at various times.
And in a way, it had.
There was physical love. Friendship love. There was intellectual love. Parental love.
But all of it was practice, as it turns out – practice for what we’ve wound up doing.
These were forms I appreciated at the time, and I look back on them with sincere gratitude. They had their time, their places. They made a certain kind of sense. I regret nothing about them.
For me, it has taken decades to understand love.
I learned love first from my mother. She modeled for me how to be attentive, compassionate, empathetic. She dedicated herself to the project of raising me, and while everyone else can be the judge of how well she did, … no one can doubt her commitment.
I found loving stories from authors, novels. Hugo probably captures the innocence of love best. He certainly words it well in any event. His characters sacrificed a great deal for their passions, and it didn’t always end for the best. The sensual nature of love is what Hugo taught me. He made sure to insist love’s expression must contain a roaring passion.
It was harder to find practical, everyday examples of romantic love. They were either convenient loves, loves of step-taking, and they often lacked the completeness of my mother’s example and the fantastic drama of Hugo’s fictional love.
I was able to, however, find romantic examples in two rather unorthodox examples: Concha’s parents and LPoS’s relationship with The Muffin.
You’ll meet them. These couples have that Hugo passion. They have my mother’s dedication.
Concha’s parents, Nance and Mark, both escaped previous marriages. They too cobbled together an unconventional family. They’ve been married for something like 30-plus years. They’ve built a successful life together, vacationing all over the world. They still hold hands. They entertain friends and family. They’re uber affectionate. They also act as balances to one another. She can be abrasive, quick at emotion. He is calm, thoughtful, slow to react, giving much thought. They lead full, complete lives … together. He is a tinkerer. She is always creating. When he was diagnosed with cancer, she was there to comfort and aid him. They’re the example I have longed to recreate nearly my entire adult life.
LPoS and The Muffin are more than two decades off the pace of Concha’s parents, but they’re also admirable for similar reasons. As you’ll learn, LPoS has a motor always running. She works. She runs her own business. She has a very active social life. She attends college. The Muffin is way laid back. He is a Zen master. I’ve watched them together. When LPoS gets riled up, huffing and puffing about some subject, it is The Muffin who brings her home, softly, to a gentler tone. They can do nearly everything together: movies, travel, friends. And it was The Muffin who held LPoS together when her life took some rather unexpected turns a few years ago. Through it all, they get stronger.
It won’t be easy, but we’re going to be that example of love, Myra.
Our story is like no other. That’s an easy line to say. But no other two people will ever meet this way, our way, ever again. The number of events that had to happen to bring us together simply cannot be repeated. The probability is astronomical.
You came to me like a dream. And I immediately fell in love with your strength. I adored your laugh. It was an instant feeling, one I have never had before.
It scared the fuck out of me.
I was terrified of it. I pretty much was, at the time we began speaking, resigned to being single. I didn’t mind it so much. I just figured it would be that way. A significant part of me thought it best. I enjoy solitude, and I don’t need a steady gal.
At least that’s what I believed.
The more we spoke, the more you opened up to me, sharing with me, confiding in me, relating your hopes and dreams, your failures and successes, the more I began to understand a life without you wouldn’t make any sense at all.
And then something else happened.
It dawned on me I have always needed you. It occurred to me the missing aspect of my life was not having you in it. That truly was something I’ve never felt previously with anyone. Women come and go, and I’ve been lucky enough to know some wonderful babes. But I could always see a life without them.
When we didn’t speak for a tiny amount of time, I’d miss you. When we finally spoke at the end of a long day, I’d lament not having been around you to experience whatever mundane stuff you were doing in godforsaken Bakersfield.
You weren’t just a chick I was interested in. You quickly became a part of me, and I distinctly remember having physical pain at the thought of not being with you.
Something more happened.
I saw a future with you. I saw our family. I could imagine us building a life. This is a lot harder to explain, honestly. But I’d never been able to do that before, either. That was totally new. Totally different. It was frightening and exhilarating all at the same time.
And here I am now, ceremonially marrying you. Committing to you.
What a ride.
We’ve spent a year planning, rearranging our lives. Preparing. We’ve built a solid foundation, a real scaffolding on which to construct a love unparalleled in romantic literature or experienced by any two people.
I am ready.
And I mean it.
Craig Edward Kelso is the author of Anarcho-Capitalism (2014), a primer on the philosophy of peaceful, stateless cooperation. His curriculum vitae include a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a Post-Baccalaureate secondary education credential in both Social Science and English Language Arts. Kelso taught for nearly a decade in the American public school system, and was voted by colleagues Teacher of the Year, twice in his short tenure, earning numerous accolades from chambers of commerce, mayors, state assembly persons, governors, congresspersons, senators, and even Wal-Mart. Currently he struggles to earn an opportunity to be employed, working as a laborer, dishwasher. He is deliriously happily married to Myra Kelso, living in Southern California with their adorable children.