Love Me If You Dare

I’m not sure I’ve ever really loved.

Oh sure, I’ve said it a few times. And I’ve meant it. But lately, as I plumb these depth within myself, trying to figure out just what love is, and how to know it when I’m in it, and how to sustain it for a lifetime, I’m just not so sure. And here’s why: Ethan Baruch Wagner.

I know, I know: here he goes again gushing about his nephew. Hear me out.

Christofer and I sat on his rooftop yesterday silently watching Ethan drag a blue-handled broom from one end of the patio to the other. He giggled and squealed. He stood knob-kneed and shaky. He tumbled backwards onto his Pampered-butt. He dug in the potted plants and smeared the soil on his face. And he laughed, and laughed, and laughed, oblivious to his father and uncle smiling in the half-light of dusk.

What do you call that, if not love? Isn’t it the same? A transcendent feeling of joy and light? A compulsion to spend time with someone, even if they scarcely know you’re there? Even if they scarcely say a word? And you whisper into their ear over and over, ‘I love you!’ and they don’t understand anything you’re saying?

In the French romantic comedy, ‘Love Me If You Dare,’ our star-crossed couple seal their love with a kiss in a bed of concrete. They are forever frozen in that moment (though they are, of course, dead). Isn’t that romantic? Sigh, swoon. In the quirky coming-of-age comedy ‘Napoleon Dynamite,’ our protagonist finally finds someone with whom to play tetherball. It’s the last shot of this film: Napoleon and Deb high-fiving on a deserted playground. Sigh, swoon.

There are those of you, I presume, who will suggest that I am confusing my ‘types’ of love: romantic and platonic. That may be. It’s all academic to me. It’s language. I’m talking about bloody, nerve-strewn internal organs here.

So, what to do? Well, I have a friend who always says, ‘You’re doing it.’ Which doesn’t really answer the question, and doesn’t really help all that much, but it does seem to make some sense.

I’m doing it.