Just a Smile
What is love? We are told that it develops over time. I feel like I’m completely capable of that but I haven’t gotten there so I don’t know for sure. I happen to believe that infatuation attractions are the most powerful. We just play them down because they are usually associated with teenagers. I have probably fallen in love thousands of times including with girls I haven’t met. In high school I would have given anything to marry Michelle Pfeiffer and I certainly never met her; and even once I totally fell for a girl I hadn’t ever seen or corresponded with – kind of an extreme Sleepless in Seattle thing. It really doesn’t take much to observe enough of people to get a sense of them. And when you really are drawn to what you see, everything about them becomes perfect; their hobbies, mannerisms, everything. And when I would fall in love with someone I barely knew, life of course, would become miserable. Love, for me, was always the end of all happiness. I couldn’t think of anything else; I couldn’t enjoy anything.
So I would plan stakeouts just to see and cross paths with the object of my obsession for a few fleeting seconds. I would pre-plan witty conversation that in reality ended up consisting of a single forced syllable – “Hi”. My reward would be a warm smile and a “hello”. It wasn’t much but it was worth it. I became so desperate to tell the object of my desire how wonderful she is I took to sending anonymous letters or cards. Sappy stuff, like cards with messages written by some card author with three names. Once, my anonymous card recipient started dating a guy I knew who was well below her stature in the dating world but he was well known to openly pine for her. I later realized she assumed the anonymous note was from him. Uggh.
At work, walking to lunch one day in the mid 1990’s, I passed a girl walking the opposite way on the sidewalk. She had long brown hair and a chiseled face. Unexpectedly, she looked me in the eye, tilted her head, and smiled so warmly and broadly it electrified my nervous system and pulsed adrenaline from my glands. My heart literally stopped, then raced. A smile – a seemingly simple gesture on the surface but in reality an awesome power possessed by women of child-bearing age that they aren’t even aware they have. She worked on another floor and I was once again infatuated. Later, in my usual desperation, I would break down and send a note – toned down, but signed. At the age of 26, I had a real girlfriend for the first time.