Trying to stand up on the back of a galloping horse. That is the image falling in love evokes, and I have seen many lovers on this trip. Young and old couples oblivious to the world around them, being in that surreal state of suspended reality.
A strange feeling seems to surreptitiously envelope human beings when they fall in love. They live in the here and the now, magnifying little things to which others of the same species don’t usually give a second glance. Suddenly music means so much, words, bird songs, clouds, flowers, elevator doors, all start to mean something more romantic and symbolic. To the naked eye, people in love seem a bit unhinged. They walk and smile as if in a dreamy trance, absent-mindedly existing, narrowly missing being hit by a bus, waiting: for the phone to ring, for the message sound of a cell phone, for the email from the human they so cherish. Every sound is analyzed for symbolism, conversations replayed endlessly with the help of the powerful memory tools only lovers seem to possess that have such turbo qualities that a simple look, smile, word, gesture, phone conversation, kiss, or night of passion is relived with such vivid colour and detail that is a wonder to contemplate.
The world suddenly revolves around the loved one and is at the same time distilled into that one living soul. Out of the billions on earth, one person takes on such superhuman qualities causing a lover to want to readily forsake everything held dear for a moment with that object of intense adoration. A lover wants to be with his/her loved one, no matter what. Crazy irrational decisions are made on a regular basis when people are in love. Kings abdicate their thrones, women leave their families, politicians risk their careers, husbands leave wives, people commit the unimaginable for the sake of love and being with their lovers.
What makes love so potent? I read recently that it is the first 15 seconds spent with a person that decide if they can be the object of intense affection. In those crucial seconds we humans smell the other person, and if all goes well, we let our noses decide who our next love quest will be. I am not totally subscribing to this increasingly popular scientific theory. How about those lovers in history who never even met, or who have only fleetingly seen each other from afar? Great love stories have resulted from a glimpse of a future loved one. A poem or prose written by or about another has caused the reader to fall passionately in love with the author or with the subject about whom the piece of literature was written. It happens. In Arab poetry some of the most passionate love poems were written by men who have never even seen the women they so loved. Noses may be important for choosing a sex partner, all studies seem to indicate that the sense of smell is quite important in deciding physical relationships, but love seem to be stuffy-nosed when it comes to the act of falling in love. It might be the dream and fantasy of being wanted and wanting another with such abandon that is so important in the love part. Lovers want to be together, and if love is one-sided, the person in love constantly dreams and anticipates what it must be like to finally be with the adored other. Acts of desperation sometimes result from unfulfilled desire and one-sided love that doesn’t take the hint that the other is really not interested. One cannot but wonder at this powerful tide of emotions that can overwhelm humans in love. Why do we fall in love? Is there a cure? Should there be one?