I always knew that love was hard. When my off-to-college boyfriend stopped writing to me and resumed only long enough to let me down easy, I knew love was hard. When my best friend locked me in the girls' bathroom at school because she thought I looked too cute the day her new beau was coming to pick her up, I knew love was hard. (And the janitor didn't hear me until dinnertime.) When a man who loved me offered to leave his wife and children for me and I said No, and he knew it wasn't because I was noble but because I didn't want him enough to go through all that, I saw that I had broken something big inside of him, and I knew, after that, that love was harder than I had imagined.
Also, I had noticed that love could make you crazy. It could drive you to distraction (a friend of mine forgot to take her LSATs The Morning After. That's what she said, her childhood in Texas rising right through the East Coast sophistication. "Girl, I plumb forgot," she said. "I'm in love"). It could lead a sensible heavyset man to wear spandex shorts and train for bicycle racing to please the athletic woman he loved (and later on, that heartache could lead him back to the couch and a box of Krispy Kremes). I knew that hope could make a woman on a budget drop $300 on La Perla's best push-up bra. And, radiant and reckless, she had to get the matching panties, too; I loaned her the money. Love made her glad she did, and disappointment made her set her lingerie on fire. In his office. During a meeting with his stockholders.