Today Gabe needed to study for his most qualitatively elusive exam, so I offered to leave him alone and occasionally text him inspirational/interesting/sappy quotes. He took me up on the offer. In the mix was (one of, if not) my favorite "love" quote of all time:
"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close."
~ Pablo Neruda
It's sappy; it's dramatic. And yet, it is what it feels like to love Gabe.
Love for Gabe didn't sprout up one day and then grow; I just noticed one day that it existed, like looking into the sky after dusk and wondering when exactly all the stars appeared.
Loving Gabe has been the clearest, most natural and uncomplicated thing I have ever done. I love him with my strange and fractured soul, but somehow still Simply. He has never made it difficult or dangerous to love him. He has never Lied to me; he has never Hurt me; he has never Manipulated me. The commitment of his love and the depth of his transparency allow me to love him simply.
It is not a Problem to love him. My love never causes me to compromise my faith, marginalize my family, or sacrifice my freedom. Loving him never gets in the way, but rather opens new ways for me to succeed. I like who I am with Gabe. I suffer no identity crises, but feel radically confirmed and affirmed in myself through him.
I don't have to guard my heart from him: he guards my heart from all its adversaries--even from myself. And I let him.
For the first time in my life, Pride is no barrier. My arrogance (my aggressive self-sufficiency, my marriage to mockery) has no place in our relationship. It was never banished; it never dramatically lost a battle; it just...never came into play, never really fit into our dynamic, and I never missed it. Pride--the stilted, destructive, derisive kind--feels obsolete between us.
I think this goes back to the unguarded heart thing. Pride, no matter what it tries to tell you, is a defensive strategy. It isn't really something you can use to move forward, rather it's something you throw up to avoid losing ground. Gabe has never pushed me in order to conquer me. He pushes me as I push him: as an exercise in strength, awareness, resolution...sport :)
The only part of Neruda's quote that does not apply is the unawareness of other ways to love. I think I do know other ways to love. I have loved in a exhaustingly complicated, relentlessly problematic, bitterly prideful way--and that is no competition for this.
Gabe's and my love isn't always perfect or exciting, but in a way, it actually is. It's always perfect in that it always feels Right, and it's always exciting in that every day is different. The tiny differences in every day--the weather, the traffic, our breakfasts, our dreams--branch into different thoughts, feelings, revelations, passions, questions, desires, and goals. Every day isn't "driving to Boston" or "meeting Gaston" or "seeing KoRn," but every day is Something, and it's never quite the same.
I think I could go my whole life living with the unconventional perfection, the mundane excitements. I could go my whole life with the refreshing simplicity and radical wholesomeness and joyful dignity. I could go my whole life falling asleep with the close of his eyes.