What do you get for falling in love? You get to be dizzy, slightly nauseous, like you've taken one too many Vicodins. You get to be a little paranoid and a little suspicious. You get to always worry about someone else, you get to always put their desires and needs before your own. When you fall in love, on some level you give up your liberty to do all the things you want to do, whenever you want to do them. You get to have little to no privacy. When you love, you get to always be afraid... of loneliness, of heartbreak, and disappointment.
But if you are lucky, you get to feel warm and safe. You get to have the privilege to know someone more than anyone else, and in ways that no one else can. You get to know them in the most mundane of ways, like right after they wake up and look like a mess, or on a lazy Sunday afternoon, when they are just sitting and reading the New York Times, like when they have nothing left to say right before you go to sleep.
You get to know someone beyond the dating games. You get to see them eating Chinese straight out of the take-out box. You get to watch them watch T.V. on a Monday night feeling no pressure to entertain you. You get to see them scratch their hair and rub their arm and twirl their fingers. You get to be the only person aware of their silly little quirks. You get to witness them in their most elemental form. For me, that has always been exhilarating.
You get to share your life with someone and invite them to participate in the most arbitrary decisions of your life. “Chicken or steak tonight?” “Scandal or House?” “Dress or Jeans?” “Baby or no Baby?” You get to be inspired to be a better person, to be the type of a lover who knows how to really care for someone. You should want to protect them from everything that’s wrong with the world. You don’t want to be the one they need to be protected from. No they’ve already had that, they’ve already been burned. You want to be the best partner, an antidote to all the venom they’ve been made to inject.
You get to know that if you ever died alone in your apartment, your body would be discovered shortly thereafter. It wouldn’t be left to decay and ultimately be found by your landlord. You get to know that you really affected someone’s life. You left an indelible mark. They will never be the same after you. They will cry and cry in your absence. It sounds morbid but there is a certain comfort in knowing that you have the ability to leave someone grief stricken once you’re gone.
You get to go on vacations together and witness new places that you would have never had the courage to experience alone. You get to revel in the fresh experiences together and smile (and sometimes laugh) at all the weird memories you've made over the years. Like, when you get lost in the woods, or, when you slammed on the brakes too late and scared the bejeezus out of your partner. Or when you lost your balance while snowboarding, went flying to the ground, and they caught it all on tape.
You also get to be a goddamn brat. You get to push the wrong buttons and kick and scream, and trust that you won’t be penalized for it. You get to test their patience away, run them against the wall, be an overall crazy person, and still be forgiven. You get to test your insane theories and sadistic fantasies without being judged. You get to defame the neighbors and be totally immune to repercussions. You get to have someone who always takes your side, whether it is during an argument with your mother-in-law, or a screaming match with a reckless driver. They support you. They have to.
You get to say no. You get to say yes. You get to say screw it. You get to be okay. You get to be safe. You get to be in love.
Well, most of all, you get to be in love.