“I don’t believe in love,” was what Carol told me when we were at Carol’s home, having late dinner that she cooked, listening or not listening to music that may or may not have been playing from a small speaker in another room.
“You believe in love,” I told her.
She sighed. “You can’t just dictate what I do and don’t believe in.”
“Yes I can.”
“How long have I known you for?”
“A few days.”
“You can’t dictate then. You don’t have permission.”
“Why not?” I teased.
“What is love anyway? It’s a word. It’s nothing. Actions are more important than words.”
“Such as saying ‘I love you’.”
“If love were real, you only need to say ‘I love you’ once, but we can’t live with just hearing ‘I love you’ once. It’s conditional. Love has always been conditional, which in turn defies the definition of what love is.”
“But then can’t you say the same about friendship? Why do we need to see friends more than once in order for them to remain our friends?”
“Who says we need to?”
I took a sip of water, thought about her nonsense for a second, then put my glass back down. “Have you ever been in love? Have you ever told a guy, ‘I love you’?”
“Of course I have. But I was stupid. I don’t love them now. I don’t speak to them, and if I see them, I will not have any feelings for them. Even if they begged me, I will never take them back because there’s nothing there. I’ve changed. My body, my perceptions, it’s all changed. Love is meant to be eternal and constant, but us people, we’re always changing. Something that’s constant cannot get along well with something that’s changing. Just like success. I don’t think you should call someone successful until you’re able to see their entire life. For you to see love in its entirety, you need to watch this person’s love in its entirety. Which is impossible.”
“You’ve just been hurt,” I said.
“There’s no one definition of love. Who says it has to be eternal?”
“Who says it doesn’t have to?”
And then we debated Eva Cassidy songs, and then we debated John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and then we debated Love Actually, and then we debated Romeo and Juliet, and then we debated Obama and Michelle, and then we debated Kim and Kanye. By this time I’d already told Carol that I wasn’t looking for a relationship, and I knew this hurt her. We went to bed, and I told her how perfect her body was, which was true. She had an amazing vagina. I’d never experienced a vagina quite like it, and because of that I used it to my heart’s content. I left at about three in the morning, and she told me to text her when I’d gotten home.
Book I’m re-reading: Strange Animals.