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Archive for March, 2020

Once upon a time, in a time that could be many times but is particularly this time, and in a place that is particularly this place but could be any place, a man and woman were confronted with the fragility of life.  In this time, and in this place, there was a virus spreading rampant.  And in this time, and in this place, they loved each other.  Or most likely they were just in that beginning phase that feels like love but most likely isn’t there yet.  There’s a word for it…limerence.  It sounds shiny just in its name.  And it feels shiny, this feeling.              When one pulls it up in an internet browser, it is defined as a state of infatuation, it is stated to be involuntary.  Further down on the internet browser are a list of suggested questions: Is limerence real love? How long does limerence last?  What triggers limerence?  And finally……is limerence a mental disorder?

It certainly feels like a mental disorder sometimes, thinks the woman, who could be any woman who finds herself in this state.  It is like a sickness.  But not like the type of sickness that is sending the people around her heading to the store buying toilet paper and chemicals that will kill the invisible thing that they are scared will, in turn, kill them.  At least this limerence crap can’t kill me, she thinks, knowing that she has certainly felt like it nearly has in the past.

I don’t have time for this, thinks the man, who could be any man who finds himself faced with this inconvenience of this feeling.  He sees the world in chaos, all things that he can’t control.  He can’t control the travel bans and the quarantines.  But he can wash his hands, he thinks, he can wash his hands of this virus and he can wash his hands of this crazy thing he’s feeling for this woman.

And there’s this.  The man and the woman are both hearing the news around them that they should stay at least six feet apart.  They shouldn’t touch their own faces, much less each other.

But there’s also this.  At this time, at this particular time, it would feel so good to hold each other.

The woman, who is a believer of things mystical and unseen, thinks that this might be a sign. The universe conspired this whole crazy sickness to show her it’s not safe to open her heart.

The man, who is not a believer of aforementioned things, thinks that this is simply not a rational time to fall in love or in limerence.  There are more important things to worry about.

But in isolation they only yearn for each other even more.  Perhaps it’s a case of wanting the things you are told that you can’t have.  Perhaps the need for connection is more primal.  Sure, a kid wants whatever toy another kid has that he doesn’t.  But I bet his mother’s hug would make him forget about all of the toys in the world.  We are wired for connection, she thinks.  We don’t know what the future even holds, he thinks.

In their separation, they move in individual rhythms.  She dances, alone, feeling out the music and letting it hold her the way she wishes he would.  He runs, alone, always away from her but his steps feel heavy and her pull feels strong.  Her breath labors until she collapses.  I don’t know how much longer I can do this, she thinks.  His breath labors until he once more finds his steady pace.   I could do this for a while longer, he thinks.

When they finally see each other, out on the streets that bring to mind those old western movies with tumbleweeds, they are both wearing masks.  The man can’t see the woman’s lips quivering, but he can see the sheen of tears starting to form in her eyes.  And the woman can’t see the man start to smile but what she sees in his eyes tell her all that she needs to know.

She reaches out her hand.  He sees an invitation, and also a very real possibility of danger.  This virus is very contagious and so is her energy.  He weighs it all up in his mind but by the time he decides that she is worth the risk, he is too late.  She is turning away.

He reaches out his hand.  He grabs her shoulder.  She turns around and sees that he is taking off his mask.  She sees an invitation, and also a very real possibility of danger.  She’s always felt invincible until he came along.  She takes off her mask.  This contact could lead to sickness.  But this limerence could turn to love.  And that seems worth the chance.

They are closer than six feet apart.  They are touching.  But they need to be closer.  The words of warning seem so far away right now.

In his kiss, he whispers all of the things he has been wanting to say to her.  She places her hand on his heart in reassurance.  And there is no going back.  They spend the rest of the quarantine wrapped up in each other.  When it is over, the rest of the world returns to normal, the people come out of their houses, start booking vacations, sending their kids back to school.  The rest of the world unaware of this momentous shift that happened when this man kissed this woman.

The rest of the world will look back and tell stories about this time and this place, when they were pushed to be in isolation.  This man and this woman will not tell the story of this time, when they ignored all of the government’s safety precautions and the screaming of their own amygdalas.  They won’t tell the story because it is theirs to hold private and sacred.  But if they did, they would tell the story of how they could no longer fight, or flee.  They would say that their bodies had both fought off the virus, but the rest of their beings surrendered to that other sickness, which they would soon call love.  And they spread that freely for the rest of their days.

You know no one actually lives happily ever after, says the woman to the man.

I know, says the man to the woman as he pulls her closer, thinking he will just have to prove her wrong.

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