Love circa 1861

You are part of my existence, part of myself. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since–on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. You cannot choose but remain part of my character, part of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm.

I read this in Great Expectations last night, then shivered. I’ve never known how to describe love, but Charles Dickens certainly does. When you love somebody, lyrics of songs remind you of them. You see something that reminds you of them and want to buy it as a just-because gift, even if you’re not the gift-giving type. They become a part of your being, a part of your interpretation of life. Some see glimpses, but never get to experience it. Us lucky ones know exactly what Charles Dickens was writing about.

Perhaps infatuation is love and we’ll never know it.

The best life partner might, I think, be the one who sees you as you are and loves that person – the person who is boring and anxious or blotchy from a weekly scrub mask – not the imaginary one who is poetic and broodingly smart and sexy and ecstatic all the time. – Catherine Newman

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