As children, my sister and I speculated on the nature of love. The conversations were, of course, marked by the simplicity of childhood. Love would be exciting. Love would be happy. Love would be fun. With age, the conversation changed as we saw the interaction of people in love. We discovered the down sides. Became the shoulders that were cried on. Bug, always bolder than I, went cannon-balling into the dating pool. Her philosophy is date alot of people, give them a fair shot, and if it doesn’t work out, jump ship in the least damaging way asap. My philosophy is that some people just don’t fit, so why bother? Both are pretty reasonable.

But if you assume that Caitlyn, with her open-minded approach, has been often in love, you would be wrong. I’ve seen it only once.

I myself have only recently begun to experience it for the first time. Maybe because we’ve been watching for so long, we know now that love isn’t something you can guess about. Our theories, we’re finding, are far removed from the reality. Love is a rule all by itself. It follows no set path, refuses all advise, changes things

. Last night, my best friend told me something beautiful. I was aware that she was in love. I know all about the relationship the guy is in, the mistrust that both parties have for each other. I know my friend”s despair in being only a friend. I knew these things, but like so many things, I didn’t understand. Surely being friends, being near them, can be enough. Some words are better left unsaid. Advise I’ve given thoughtlessly countless times. Looking into tear-shiny eyes, I’ve mouthed the same useless phrases again and again.

But last night, two of my favorite eyes in the world looked at me, sad, and told me something that just made sense.“That girl doesn’t appreciate him. His kindness, his care, his beauty. She’s not grateful, and it makes me sad.” She told me that she has no choice, regardless of the consequences, she has to tell him how she feels. That she appreciates him. That she loves him. That she thinks about him all the time, hopes for all the best things for him. Is sad when he’s sad, happy when he’s happy.

During the pause after these serious words, my mind went over all of my sturdy, common sense go-to phrases for just such occasions. And then, like a river of thought, my mind flowed right away from all of that to the creeping compulsion I’ve been feeling. The desire that feels like need. Stronger than hunger, more seductive than air. A dance inside your soul. Some beautiful celebration of life that dictates your next move, and hopes that the fall never ends. And for the first time, I had no logical advise. None of that applied. I would ask myself, “Could I take that advise?” and the answer was always, “No.” Just no.

So I gave her no advise. I told her I was both happy and sad for her. I love her. Then we turned on Don’t stop believing , cranked up the volume, and sang the whole song. We laughed. On the drive home, we were both quiet, each of us thinking of different people. And I couldn’t help but wonder about that old question, Is it better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all? I really, truly, don’t know…


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