How Do You Know When Love Is Forever?


I think it was 26B but it could have been 32A. I liked the sound of 26B. 32A sounds like a parking spot or a space in Battleship. But 26B sounds like a jukebox selection, which is probably further proof that it actually was 32A and I just tried to remember it the way I wanted to — not how it was. That’s a common affliction of mine — I remember not with fact but with opinion. Mine is the memory of a romantic. A cockeyed romantic.

The debate between 26B and 32A is a tame one that exists only in my mind. A simple Google search would answer the question, but knowing which it actually was would ruin the fun.

26B and 32A are exits on a highway running somewhere through Massachusetts. And the reason I care so much about them is that we were passing one of those exits when I decided I was yours. Even if we broke up and we each moved on, I would always be yours, at least a little bit. Because you were the first person I ever wanted to belong to and the only person to ever coax me into a “forever statement.”

Forever statements were a semi-long-standing topic of discussion for us. I would never make promises that ran into the “forever” time period. You’d say “let’s just sit here forever and hold hands” and I’d gently say no or I’d giggle and shake my head. Conversely, I would say, “let’s spend the rest of ours lives eating cheese together” and you’d enthusiastically agree. Once in a co-op in Maine you said you would be lucky to spend the rest of your life watching me gag on cold tofu (there’s an inside joke lost in there somewhere — I’m sure of it) and I swooned. But I wouldn’t commit to forever.

We were driving home when you complained about it. You said it wasn’t fair that I wouldn’t commit to forever or that it didn’t make sense or something. If we’re being honest (and I think we are) there were a number of reasons you could have stated and they all would have been valid. I didn’t concede right away, but I started thinking. And they were the deep kinds of thoughts that will get you in trouble if you don’t rein them in. But that didn’t stop me.

I thought about why forever was so difficult for me and came to a few conclusions. The obvious being that I didn’t want to make any declarations based on an infinite timeline because I was afraid we wouldn’t last forever. And that may be my answer, because every other possibility looped back to it. For instance, I thought my aversion to forever statements might have been because I didn’t want to lie to you, and making a forever statement felt like a lie to me. Because I don’t know that any couple is forever material. Luke and Lorelai, maybe. But I even put them at a maybe. So what chance does our unscripted romance have? There are hundreds of things that could get in the way — careers, insecurities, not to mention various neuroses.

As I sat there next to you, I stopped thinking about the rest of time and started thinking back to the time I’d already spent with you. I thought back to how you took me in on Christmas and made me forget that I couldn’t spend the holidays with my family. And how you brought me birthday dinner when I barely even knew you. And when I thought your heart was going to beat right out of your chest before you told me you loved me. And then I remembered the phrase about ships.

Have you ever heard that bit about ships? Stay with me for a second here, because I really am going somewhere with this. The saying is that a ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are made for. And that’s what it comes down to. I could love you with restraints. Love you only within my comfort zone. Love you with only the foreseeable future in mind. But you can’t confine love and make it fit whatever parameters you want. Love is malleable, but it doesn’t pander to your fears.

So I made a choice to love you the only way I saw fit. And that was to love recklessly.

Our love is many things:

The best part about it is that it’s ours. And you don’t have to worry about forever because this love… this love is going down in the books.

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