And in romance, in friendship, in parenting—in every kind of love that matters—it's just one damned risk after another. We have to love and know that loss hovers nearby. For some of us, that prospect of loss darkens everything. These are the lovers who reject before they are rejected, the ones who seize on every excuse to end it (too short, too old, not enough money, not enough hair). The knowledge that love ends—by divorce, by death, or sometimes by our own or our partner's limitations—makes some of us, crying about the unfairness of life, end it before it begins. Others of us only manage to love with denial; these are the people who react to other people's breakups with anger and drop the divorced and the widowed from their social calendar, as if loss is contagious; they treat their adolescents as little children (and their dogs as babies) and fight all signs of age with graceless, even pointless weapons.
And then there are the rest of us: lucky and scared, hating to be disappointed, sorry to be disappointing, but unwilling to do without. For all the ants at the picnic and the jellyfish in the ocean, for all the love we have that goes astray or is never returned or is shared until old age, only to have our hearts broken by a parting no less painful, we clamor for that chance and we wouldn't have it any other way. If you love, there is no other way.
Amy Bloom is the author of A Blind Man Can See I Love You.
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