The Hardest Thing About Love
By David Sedaris
Every so often I'll come across my boyfriend, Hugh, rewiring a lamp or taking a nap on the sofa, and I'll find myself gripped by a sudden, almost furious urge to cherish and protect him. A wire dangling from his mouth, a 19th-century cookbook sliding off his chest: He's just such a dope that it melts my heart, even now, after 15 years together. So I'll shake him from his sleep or sneak up from behind him, only to be swatted away.
"Leave me alone," he'll say.
"But I love you."
"Great. Go carve it onto a tree."
Other times the situation is reversed and it is he who suddenly can't live without me. This happens most often when I'm engaged in a long-distance call, and the person on the other end is crying.
Beside the phone is a notepad, its pages reading "Get lost" and "Not now you idiot," antivalentines, and all in my handwriting.
I once believed that the god of love moved with efficiency, striking his targets almost simultaneously. ("You want me? Well I want you even more!") He was Johnny-on-the-spot at the beginning of Hugh's and my relationship, but as time passes he's become increasingly unreliable, and this, I think, is the hardest truth I've had to learn. Cupid draws his bow and after shooting me through the heart, he decides to visit relatives for a couple of weeks.
"But what about my boyfriend?" I ask, "Doesn't he get an arrow, too?"
Cupid looks into the next room, where Hugh is either taking a nap or rewiring a lamp. "Some other time," he tells me, and then, in a poof, he's gone.