Love is mostly romanticized as an emotion that suddenly strikes us, stimulating both our hearts and minds and we fall (or rise) in love as sparks fly and there is definite chemistry between the two people.
But love can also be a slow ignition, that, like the crescendo of a symphony builds up gradually till it reaches its apex, the blossoming of true love.
Whatever way you love, one thing is certain, falling out of love is easy too, and unlike the fairytales we grew up reading and watching, it is not always a happily ever after ending and the true test of love is when there are tough circumstances; either financial, physical, or mental.
Sometimes people grow apart as they grow older, their interests change and so do their preferences, where to live, and how to live, they start to differ on all major decisions in life and the bond weakens.
So is love just a fairy dream of youth that dissolves as we grow older?
I think the way we love should change with time and age, the passion should be mixed with wisdom and understanding so that the natural process of growth, accommodates all the ways we differ from each other in our older selves to keep the spark alive!
As a kid, I was a girl guide and my brothers were Boy Scouts.
The girl guides weren’t taught anything regarding camping but the Boy Scouts were taught all the skills they’d need to survive in the wild, including setting up a tent, making fire, and tying knots.
My younger brother was very close to me and he used to share whatever he learned in his lessons, so I too learned the basic survival skills, including tying different sorts of knots; nautical knots, reef knots, and slip knots.
Learning how to tie a reef knot was a useful skill as it meant I could secure two things with rope or string with no fear of the knot slipping.
The things we learn as children have a way of slipping into our deep subconscious and making them instinctive so whenever I want to secure something, I automatically tie a non-slip knot.
This word took me back half a century to the days when we were eager to learn new skills and then show them off to others to impress them.
It was almost 40 years ago that I got into medical college in Lahore, where I was going to live in a girls’ hostel because my family lived in Islamabad.
We didn’t get Saturdays off and the summer break was only 4 weeks long because studying medicine was a serious business so if we got any unexpected vacation days we would all make a beeline for the students’ clerk’s office.
Why him, you’d ask: the answer was simple, we wanted concession forms to travel by train to our homes.
A concession form made it possible for the students to travel at half the fare in the economy class for just 10 Rs, which was about 10 cents, not much but we were on a student budget so every bit made a difference.
If the announcement for the day/days off was unexpected, the clerk was mobbed with both girls and boys asking him to stamp our forms, which sometimes we got just in the nick of time, and then we made a mad dash for the railway station to catch the train.
Traveling home was another adventure altogether as we seldom found seats to sit on so we would sit on our bags, singing and joking all the way and eating strange, unidentified food from every station the train stopped at; what fun we had!
Mindy loved the smell of old, musty books, especially those in her grandpa’s library.
Whenever they came to visit her grandfather, she would go to his study and explore the old books there, eventually selecting one that she hadn’t read yet, though with years it was getting difficult as she had read more than half of them.
Grandpa never put any restrictions on which books she could read even when she was ten and had discovered his library for the first time, he always said that she could pick any book that took her fancy, his only condition would be that she finish the book and not leave it unread in the middle.
Now that she was sixteen, she was getting more interested in romance and scanning the titles, she spotted a historical fiction which looked promising, and when she opened the book, she found a red rose pressed in the pages, acting as a bookmark and she was intrigued by it as it seemed out of character for her grandpa to do this.
A bit hesitantly, she went to him and showed him the makeshift bookmark with a questioning look, “Grandpa, I found this in the book, is it okay if I read it?”
He took the pressed rose from her and looked at it with a rueful smile, “ sure you can read it, I gave this book and flower to your grandma on her birthday and she saved it by drying it, it was her favorite book and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too”
“How can you function in the morning without that first cup of coffee?”, Jackie asked her new roommate in curiosity.
“Oh I never developed a liking for it or even tea, my mom told me it’s bad for my health so I have stuck to just plain milk all through, even the nights I stay up late to finish my assignments or studying late”, Marla said.
And that’s how they lived for five years finishing their medical studies and becoming fast friends in the process, she having innumerable cups of coffee every day and Marla, just having milk or something healthy.
They drifted apart when they started their careers and families, and when they accidentally bumped into each other 25 years later at a medical conference, Marla carrying a huge cup of steaming black coffee in her hand and Jackie with a cup of cold water.
After the initial ooohs and aahs, Jackie noticed the coffee in her friend’s hand and directed a questioning look at her, “oh you know late nights at the hospital finally made me a friend of coffee, but where’s yours?” she couldn’t believe that Jackie was without coffee.
“My doctor said that too much coffee is giving me ulcers” Jackie said with a rueful smile.