like poetry
April 23, 2002 09:28 AM

People are getting married everywhere. It's an epidemic, is what it is.

But I'm not just another unmarried and funky twentysomething shocked at growing up and the world and the people around her. Though I am struck by the way it all floods in, all the people getting married or having kids. They all happen at once.

It's as if everyone falls in love, everyone grows up all at the same time. Which is true, to an extent, of anything about your peer group.

Come back from San Francisco.
It can't be all that pretty,
when all of New York City misses you.
Should pretty boys in discos
distract you from your novel,
remember I'm awful in love with you.

Two people I vaguely know [actually, I guess I just vaguely know one of her friends, but everyone from diaryland also used to know them for their story - a real internet romance in which neither player is even remotely creepy] just got married. And a good friend got engaged in February. Many emails about wedding plans have ensued.

We have no need or desire to get married. Because. Well, because. But I still come home some days to declare we should. I see a silly dress or hear a perfect song. I think that we should get married when I think of a way to do it that no one else would do, and I know someone should do it. Why not us? I heard this song yesterday. It was so pretty and perfect and said so much about how love really is.

The boy said either we'll never get married, or we'll get married for some trivial or strangely political reason, on a whim. Something that pops into my head.

But I won't ever get married by an Elvis impersonator in Vegas. I don't even like Elvis. And there are friends who would be scarred by the very idea.

Come back from San Francisco
and kiss me; I've quit smoking.
I miss doing the wild thing with you.

All these friends. The ones who aren't getting married. Are looking. Wanting and thinking they need love, a partner. Everyone needs a partner. So we all think. Before I had one, I thought the same thing.

It's cultural, partly. The notion of romance as a need isn't far from the idea of cars and cable television as the same. In origin, at least. They're all luxuries that are thoroughly entrenched in our notion of how things should be.

That's not to say that love, a car that runs, and cable television won't improve your life. Or that I'm somehow above these ridiculous notions (I am, after all, seriously concerned about the re-establishment of our digital cable when we move [we think] later this spring). Only that these are things we all more or less accept as truth. And they're not truth, simply culture.

Will you stay? I don't think so,
but all I do is worry, pack bags, call cabs,
and hurry home to me.

Love isn't a necessity. But really good love, the high-quality stuff, does make you better. It's not just the person, the circumstance, or the relationship; some combination of the three makes you somehow a better person. At least in your own eyes.

That doesn't apply only to romantic love. I have and have had friends whose affection for me made me better and more worth them. Made me smarter, shinier, softer.

The very best love makes you luminous.

No one needs to be luminous. The fish and bicycle thing. It makes an interesting visual composition, and an ingenious fish can find practical use for a bicycle (start a coral reef, perhaps?). If we needed to be luminous, we'd have phosphorescent skin. And legs for the pedals.

You need me like the wind needs the trees to blow in.
Like the moon needs poetry, you need me.

Love is a luxury. That may just be the best thing about it.

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