Since it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d write something small about the nature of love.
Whenever I write a nonfiction essay or a piece of flash fiction, I find one solitary word to describe the theme of the story. I call this a One Word Theme Exercise, and I invented it when I was in high school. However, focusing the simplistic lens of one single word to the celestial complexities of love seems impossible, but I’ll give it a shot anyways.
My wife makes me feel inadequate. I can never do anything good enough for her. Nothing is good enough. I hold her to a standard I feel like I can never reach, but she’s always been there. It’s just who she is. This is the force that magnetized me to her. This is what made me jump out of my comfort zone to chase her down. I would rather her have what she needs more than me.
If we were fighting snow-tentacled monsters deep below the ocean in robotic suits, and were crushed into an abyssal pit, I would want her to have the leftover oxygen leaking out of the engine room. I would rather me be uncomfortable than her. Love makes you uncomfortable because it makes you want to be a better person for the person you’re with. Love makes you better. I’m not talking about changing your identity completely, I’m talking about enhancing it for someone, like a cyborg warrior from an apocalyptic future upgrading his weapons, but not discarding them.
To quote Melvin, Jack Nicholson’s character from As Good As It Gets: “You make me want to be a better man.”
Happy Valentine’s Days!