Preverbal, love is the smell of a known body, the touch of a recognized hand, the blurred face in a haze of light. Words come, and love sharpens. Love becomes describable, narratable, relatable. Over time, one love comes to lay atop another, a mother’s love, a father’s love, a lover’s love, a friend’s love, an enemy’s love. This promiscuous mixing of feelings and touches, of smiles and cries in the dark, of half-hushed pleasures and heart-cracking pain, of shared unutterable intimacies and guttural expressions, layer in embellished bricolage. One love coats another, like the clear pages of an anatomy textbook, drawing pictures of things we can only ever see in fractions. With the coming of words, love writes and is then overwritten; love is marginalia illegibly scrawled in your own illegible hand. In time, love becomes a dense manuscript, a palimpsest of inscrutable, epic proportions, one love overlaying another, thick and hot and stinking of beds. It’s an unreadable mess.
“The greatest rewards in life are often delayed. The financial benefits of work and investing. The emotional benefits of marriage and friendship. The psychological benefits of creating something that matters. Meaningful outcomes take a long time to grow and compound.
Furthermore, most pursuits involve other people: coworkers, spouses, children, peers. If you want your results to continue to grow, then you need relationships that last.
One of the essential ingredients for success is being pleasant and trustworthy because it allows whatever you are building—a business, a relationship, a project—to continue. Many relationships disintegrate before the rewards accumulate.”
And yet what if friendship and love weren’t opposite points between which to pivot but loci that overlap in varying degrees? Under the Romantic ideal of love, we’ve come to expect that every great romance should also contain within itself, in addition to erotic passion, a robust friendship. But we hold with deep suspicion the opposite — a platonic friendship colored with the emotional hues of romantic love, never given physical form but always aglow with an intensity artificially dimmed by the label of plain friendship. Perhaps we need not label these kaleidoscopic emotional universes after all; perhaps resisting the urge to classify and contain is the only way to do justice to their iridescent richness of sentiment and feeling.