Is it the slowly approaching tide, inching over the beach with quiet but inevitable increments? Toes once pressed firmly in sun-warmed sand are suddenly in water. And then not. And then in the water. Is that like love?
Is it standing at the edge of a diving board, not knowing the temperature of the water, and just diving in? That moment that is not even a moment where you are suspended in the air, too late for going back and unsure of what comes next? Is that like love?
Or maybe love isn't like water at all. Is it like when you get on an airplane when you know where you are going, provided nothing goes wrong, and over some varying period of time you go from being in one place to being in some other place and you never even stopped or slowed down. Is love like flying?
Is it like a small feeling that starts somewhere in the pit of your stomach, growing outward like a plant putting down roots and drinking in sunshine. And somehow the branches and leaves and stems of it stretch under your skin and into your fingertips and lips and tongue until you keep swallowing the feeling back and then one day you can't and love blooms from your lips. Is it like that?
Is it that wincing feeling when you allow yourself to imagine what it would be like if or when this person isn't in your life anymore. Judging the potential damage like the Richter scale. Fearing the answer you come up with a little bit. Is love like that?
Because I've felt a lot of things I called love. Things that were perversions or poor substitutions or only pieces of or watered down versions of love. And they were like eating too much pineapple and burning the inside of my mouth and still not feeling full. They were like a hot shower when only part of me is sunburned. They were like too much and not enough and things that made me fear and be wary of "love."
What is this "love"?
I'm a girl that reads the owners manual for everything. I look at a recipe I have memorized, just in case. I research things on the internet before I go to them in person. I read the book before the movie and I read the warnings and instructions on medications. I like to be informed about what happens next.
Except. . .
Relationships don't work like that. And part of the fun is the newness, the excitement, the uncertain, still-growing, uniqueness of it all. No one can tell me what comes next.
So I'll lean on the girl that got spontaneous tattoos. The girl that traveled across the ocean to Europe. The girl that did so many things she said she would never do. The girl that takes chances and breaks plans and occasionally tries to figure out how to do things without instructions.
Is it like when you're on a road trip to some place far away and you stop at all these interesting places along the way where you take pictures and laugh and stretch your legs and keep driving and listening to your favorite songs and making up road-trip games and maybe falling asleep and taking turns driving and reading your favorite book again and then you're there. The destination. Only everything is just starting and there is so much more to explore.
Is love like that?