When we’re young, we have a beautiful notion of love. Our hopes and dreams are framed by Mills & Boons. Love, as we’d believe, was a perfect fairytale with a happily ever after that cannot be marred by any hardship. We fall for blue eyes, golden hair, soft, pink hands held while passing smiles. Till, one day, poof! it’s gone. It feels bittersweet but didn’t really mean anything in retrospect. Even if we look back on it just a day later. It isn’t something a bowl of icecream and a night spent weeping on our mother’s lap cannot fix.
When we’re slightly older, our idea of love mingles a tad with the unattainable. Our focus shifts from the sweet pangs of first love, to the allure of bad boys. There’s an aura of mystery and the thrill of a dangerous chase surrounding them. They hide such secrets in their eyes that it can unlock the very depths of our hearts. They leave in their wake a ruin where only pain and misery reside. Through our filtered lenses, we start believing that love is painful and sad. It comes with sacrifices and compromises. The stench of betrayal and the stain of being used are not easily washed off. We give and keep on giving till there’s nothing left for them to take. We do regrettable things to keep them around. Even to the extent of hurting ourselves. Changing our very being to suit them better. In trying to find love, we end up losing ourselves. Love becomes an illusion. Hard and ephemeral.
Then we grow older and, arguably, more mature. We move on, shutting all doors to love. Love is synonymous with hurting and we can’t take it anymore. By now we know it’s not something that is meant for us, even if it does exist. We have fortified ourselves against its sadistic nature and, thereby, alienated ourselves from any opportunity of experiencing it again.
And just then, when we’ve locked our hearts and thrown away the key for good measure, love, finally, seeps in. It comes in the form of a friendly, kind face. Of hopeful eyes. Of imploring smiles. Of hands held out to catch you whenever you stumble. Of words designed to complete you when you fumble. Of promises that are, indeed, kept. Of happiness that is freely showered. We eye it with scepticism. We relegate it to the far confines of our mind, determined to never revisit the dark days.
And yet, and yet! It finds its way. It’s built on the blocks of perseverance and understanding. It stands tall on the pillars of commitment, for better and for worse. It takes all the worst parts of you and replaces them, piece by piece, with hope, with happiness, with a sense of belonging. It cherishes you like an unparalleled treasure. It cradles you like a long lost part of your own soul.
This, my friends, is when we see love in all its glory. After a fantasy and a tragedy comes reality. A love that transcends all ages. Find it, hold it, keep it, for its not leaving you alone till you learn what it means and can start to love yourself.
Most tales of yore end with “and there were none”. This, however, ends with –
And then there was love.