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.
I'll spare you the details, but I understand jealousy now. I understand that there are things one imagines that make the ninth circle of hell seem like nothing more than a long line at the deli. I understand that one can sit at home for a few hours that seem like a few years, and I have come to appreciate Judith Viorst's words: "It is true love because...when he is late for dinner and I know he must be either having an affair or lying dead in the middle of the street, I always hope he's dead."
So I already knew that love is hard. And that it makes you crazy. And it brings you in touch with parts of yourself of which you would have been happy to remain ignorant.
What I hadn't understood, until recently, is that sometimes love is not enough. And that is the worst news-from-the-universe I have heard for some time. Love is not enough to lead depressed people to happiness. It is not enough to make men who really don't want babies want them. And it is not enough to make women who really want babies stop wanting them. It is not enough to make people who need passion settle for companionship, and it is not enough to make addicts give up whatever they are addicted to. Love stretches us, but time often snaps us back to our original shape. Love takes us further than we thought we could go, but it does not take us past the limits of our nature. And that is a hard thing to know.
What really attracts us to another?
How to leap into love
Getting married: The strategic approach