You know, I’m feeling decidedly generous and romantic today, so here’s a sweet l’il excerpt from my novel, WESTLAKE SOUL. Chapter Six, in its entirety.
I hope you enjoy it. Then I hope you go hug someone.
CHAPTER SIX: ON LOVE
Can be confusing. Often overwhelming. Rock stars don’t help; The Beatles sing, “All You Need Is Love,” while Pat Benatar insists, “Love Is a Battlefield.” And what the heck is with The Four Aces gushing, “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing” in one ear, while Def Leppard are belting, “Love Bites” in the other? Doesn’t make sense, right? Are we so obtuse when it comes to the sensibilities of the heart? Is love so complex an entity that nobody can fully grasp it? But we are the modern Homo sapiens. The theory of relativity. Man on the moon. PlayStation 3. The emperor penguin has a brain the size of a peach pit, yet their species know how to keep the love light burning. Don’t believe me? Just watch March of the Penguins. Or Happy Feet. Why is it that Chilly Willy can ride the love train, when even the most intelligent among us are like fifth graders when it comes to hopping on board?
Lou Gramm—lead singer of the rock band Foreigner—once sang, “I Want to Know What Love Is.” Well, I hope Mr. Gramm is reading this, because I’m going to tell him:
Love is simple. It is not a battlefield, and it doesn’t bite. It is not cruel or blind. It is simply an emotion. The complexities and imperfections are not love’s; they are our own. Strip away the frustrations of living. Cast aside contempt and remorse. Make joy and anger walk the plank. Ditto optimism and trust. When you are left with nothing but love, you will see something breathtaking.
Now, I’m not telling you anything new here, and no doubt Mr. Gramm will be less than satisfied with my response. But bear with me, brotherman . . . this superbrain shiznit is useful for more than just astral projecting to Leafs games or watching Angelina Jolie take a shower.
The challenge isn’t in understanding love, but in—to borrow from William Blake—cleansing the doors of perception . . . to see love how it truly is: a miniature sun. It provides heat and light, and the energy we need to survive. It may help, Mr. Gramm, to know that, like the sun, love needs a constant supply of fuel. I’m talking about fusion reaction, baby . . . the thermal collision of protons—BAM!—that sustain this brilliant source of energy. In other words . . . you stop throwing coal on the fire, and it’s going to go out.
Corinthians 13 says that love never fails. This isn’t true. Even our own sun will burn itself out one day (there are 5,766,923,227 years before you have to worry about that, though, so go ahead and buy that flat screen TV you were looking at). Love can fail, regardless of how much fuel there is to burn. We can’t stop the wind from blowing, or the rain from falling. Sometimes the fire just dies. And fate . . . well, that’s another subject.
But love is a miniature sun.
You want to feel that heat right now? Find a loved one and throw your arms around them. They’ll do the same to you, and—BAM!—protons collide, baby. It really is that simple. A science so elementary that penguins can understand it.
I know this not because I found love, but because I lost it.
Let me tell you what happened with Nadia.