So I closed my magazine, put down my coffee, and walked over to Corb, all spread out on the living room couch, watching some such nonsense. "Corb, do you fall more in love with me all the time?" I asked.
Corb grimaced and put the TV on mute. Clearly I was interrupting something vitally important, like the thousandth time he's seen Under the Tuscan Sun. "What is it, Ted?"
I pointed to the magazine in my hand. "It says here in this book that Ellen DeGeneres falls more in love with Portia all the time. And I think that's beautiful. So I was just curious. Do you fall more in love with me all the time?"
"Oh. Well, hmmm." Corb sat up and pushed his glasses back. He thought about it for a minute, and then he looked me straight in the eyes (with those beautiful blue eyes that he has). "No, Ted, I don't fall more in love with you all the time."
What? Is this the response that one wishes to hear from one's true love? Shocked to my very core, I said, as eloquently as possible. "What?"
"Well, of course, I love you," he replied, sanely and sensibly. "I'll love you forever. But, do I fall more in love with you all the time? I mean, we've been together for ten years. There are days you drive me crazy! But then there are times that I do love you more than ever. It just depends on what day it is. Sometimes even what time of the day it is. Sometimes even what minute of what time of the--"
"Okay, okay, I get it!" I lifted my magazine up, threatening to whack him with it. "Some real love you turned out to be."
The truth is, I wouldn't have it any other way.
I mean, that really is real love, isn't it? Love means knowing the other person well enough to understand that there are certain times when you just want to beat the crap out of them. And that's okay, because there are also certain times where you love them so much it hurts. And there are other times where you feel kind of somewhere in between, and even worse, some times where they mean about as much to you as the slippers you're wearing on your feet. You know they are there, and you like them, they're comfortable, and maybe even, they smell a bit. And that's it. And it's okay.
For example, Corb is not a big hugger. He lets me hug him, but it can't be for too long, and I am the exception rather than the rule, because he really doesn't like hugging anyone else. I personally suspect it's because his mother pushed him down a flight of stairs when he was younger.
Some days, when he is sitting at the computer playing The Sims, I will sneak up behind him, wrap my arms around him, give him a great big hug. A great, big, huge bear hug. More often than not, it drives him crazy! He will push away, say he wasn't prepared. Say he's concentrating. And then I will get mad because he pushed me away, and then we will bicker a little bit.
He also feels the same about when my feet get too close to his legs in bed.
And yet, there was this one time, about a year ago, when I was feeling particularly anxious about something. Maybe it was the plight of the diminishing bee population, I don't know. Maybe it was something serious. And Corb came over to me out of the blue and said, "Get up."
"Get up?" Okay, I got up.
He held out his arms. "I heard today that if you make it a habit of hugging the person you love for one solid minute each day, you'll actually live longer and feel calmer. So come on, let's do it. Give me a hug, Ted!"
I shook my head. "But you hate hugs."
"But I want to live longer." And then he made a funny face. "And I love you. So, come on!"
Ever since then, whenever I need it, all I have to do is to ask him for a minute hug and I can get it, on demand. Of course, it's on his terms: not while he's sitting at the computer, and always standing up. But it's nice to have, you know? And a minute hug is really good, by the way. Just that moment of body contact, that embrace, that reassurance, can be all you need to move on. To endure. To overcome. To aspire to bigger and better things.
So, the moral of the story is, I'm okay with my version of real love. It may not be bigger and deeper, each and every day, but it's solid and it's honest, and it works for us. Works pretty well, actually.
It may sound corny, but it even makes me fall in love with Corb all the more...every so often.