I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
— (from Sonnet XVII, Pablo Neruda)
By Dawn Onley
When I first read those words, I clutched my imaginary pearls and let out an audible sigh. To be loved, like THAT. Damn. Wow. And all of the other insufficient words to describe those lines of perfection that Pablo wrote in honor of his third wife, Matilde Urrutia.
I’m a hopeless romantic, so I get excited at the thought of a love that is breathless and boundless. I turned on my digital record player and searched YouTube for Jackie Wilson’s “To Be Loved.” The majestic crescendo, the grandeur of it, Wilson’s searing falsetto professing the greatest of human emotions. Laid out on the stage, microphone extended, face contorted, Jackie wanted us all to feel what he was feeling, and did we ever! Love is understanding and being understood.
Love demands to be expressed. Lust may be hidden, but love must be seen. It leaves us ripped open, bare, vulnerable and exposed. Love is sweaty palms and moonlight kisses. It is the passion that covers a multitude of sins.
Love is in the giving, asking nothing in return. It is in the sacrifice. We may get lost, but love finds its way. Relationships fail, true love never does. It always was, is and forever will be. Love is ceaseless and it abides.
They say there’s a thin line between love and hate, but romantically I’m not convinced you can hate what you once loved. Hate is just love dressed in hurt.
Fear is uncertain. Love is sure, for better or worse.
This is why love is so pure.
I see Pablo’s expression of love in my folks. There’s a certain rhythm that long-time couples sway to, and they have it. They have the dutiful nature of love, which you could set your clock by it’s so reliable, but they also have love’s fanciful flights. The way they walk a little, and then reach for each other’s hand. The way they read each other’s expressions and feel each other’s moods. The way they solve life’s challenges. The way they giggle at each other, as if they are the only ones in the room. The way he knows how she takes her fried potatoes, and the way she butters his bread. The way they argue each other’s point or how they lie in bed deeply immersed in conversation until they are interrupted by a phone call or a knock on the door.
The way they love.
Love is not devoid of disagreements, anger, trials and hard times. Love is in spite of those things.
Love endures. For 49 years today, and then some, their love endures.