Hopeful Romantic

I am a hopeless romantic.

There.  I said it.

I believe in love.

I believe in love so completely, so deeply that it almost makes me naïve.

A couple of online friends recently announced their engagement, and as the date of their wedding draws close, they have shared sweet remembrances of the early days of their courtship.  The hesitant inquiries.  The “I can’t believe someone as amazing as she is could possibly be in to me” disbelief.  The heart-wrenching “I know she likes me, why won’t she just say it?” tears.  And then the warmth, joy, and tenderness as they find their rest in each other.

I can’t stop smiling.  Or crying.

Another couple with a certain amount of social media acclaim prepare for their upcoming wedding with unabashed joy and eagerness.  I only have an inkling of one side of their story:  the struggle to accept that love is the best part of any of us.  I don’t need to know anything else.  The way my heart rejoices over that anticipated fulfillment of hope is enough.

I cannot see my dear friend and her husband together without remembering their wedding day.  Her sister-in-law sharing that shortly after they started dating, her bother (my friend’s husband) told her “I’m in trouble – she’s my kryptonite.”  Yeah, I get sappy, and my heart turns mushy.

I know love doesn’t always equate to permanence, and sometimes the fairytale fades.  It doesn’t matter.  I still believe.  I believe with the same fervor with which I clapped to save Tinker Bell.  I believe with the same complete devotion I had for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Childlike?  Perhaps.  But never childish.

My natural inclination is to do everything I can to protect myself, and yet, in the face of love, that desperate inclination yields, and I shyly peek out from behind the wall.  I have commitment issues, and inverted abandonment issues.  I continually look over my shoulder, asking the question “Who?  Me?”  but the questions still, and my issues stop shouting for a moment whenever I encounter love.

In the face of love, the parts of me I have worked so hard to toughen up begin to soften.  Oh, I’ll protest and say that love is for fools.  I’ll crack jokes about loss of freedom, and being tamed, or, worse, domesticated.  I’ll say I’m too selfish and self-centered to ever settle down.  Actually, that last one might actually be true.  I’ll tell you that I’m fine being single and unattached, and I am.

But don’t believe me.

I am cynical and skeptical about a great many things, but never about love.