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the nature of love
by k. t.

After many years, I recently reconnected with an old flame. I hadn't planned on doing this. Post our romantic interlude, I thought of her only from time to time, though with kindness and recognition of what I'd gained from our experience.

To my heart, ours was a deeply passionate time. Oh, yes, there was the physical passion, but I'm speaking of much more than simply that alone. To my head, it was a time of transition for both of us, as individuals; and, as transitions can go, we contended with the element of confusion. Imagine passionate confusion.

I initiated contact with her at the urging of strong intuition. My head reeled at the prospect and shouted, "you have to be kidding!" My heart pounded. I didn't understand why I was doing it, but I called her anyway. Her voicemail gave me a temporary reprieve, for which I found myself very thankful; yet it left me to wonder. Then one week later, she returned my call. We spoke carefully and cautiously at first. Thoughtfully measured words and phrases and sentences and sentiments about where our lives had led us in the interim years. And so it should have been for two people who once felt a love so powerful it stripped us down to our bare souls and left us devastated at separation. After a few minutes of conversation we both loosened up and realized we wanted to be civil and to converse with each other. All in all, an outcome so much higher than I would have dared hope.

After a few weeks of cordial communication, my old flame invited me over one weekend evening to share some time and to reconnect with mutual acquaintances. I had no plans and accepted the invitation. As I prepared to leave my house, I realized I was nervous.

But there were several friends there that evening. It turned out wonderfully. I was relaxed and comfortable. So, it seemed, was she. We sat next to each other. We slow-danced once. It all melded. At evening's close, I gave my thanks to everyone, hugged my hostess goodbye and went home. Finis.

"Not so fast," said my heart. "Do you realize what just happened as you were saying goodbye to her? You hesitated as if there were going to be a parting kiss." My head was speechless. My heart reeled at the prospect that after all these years, and newer flames, I might still have feelings for her. Finally, my head whispered, "Whoa." By this time, I was confused. "Uh oh," I said aloud as I drove home, "What's up with that?"

I couldn't fall asleep that night. The next day I walked around in a sleep-deprived haze of lightheartedness, and we exchanged emails, through which we later said how good it had been to get together again after so much time.

I sent one more email to her. I told her of the oddity that I had wanted to kiss her, that the impulse to do so had seemed so natural that I had to consciously choose not to. She responded that it had also crossed her mind. We left it at that, but I quietly padded around the rest of the day, pondering the nature of love.

And that's actually what all this has led me to ... the nature of love. Oh, I don't know that another romantic liaison will result from this recrudescence, though I am not flatly opposed to the idea either; but that's not my point. My point is, just when I felt I had a smidgen of understanding of how love works in my life, I was weighed in the balance and found wanting ... you know, "mene mene tekel upharsin," the legendary handwriting on the wall. It is the type of sudden comeuppance that life plants right in your path when you smugly believe you have it figured out.

So where does this leave me? Earnestly looking at everything in the world I have believed true about love. I know love is powerful. I believe it is the most powerful force in the universe. I know love is kind. It can enliven the stoniest heart. I know love is eternal. And this is the part that has new meaning for me. Eternal. That means forever. Forever means transcendence of space and time.

So what I'm getting here is that when my old flame and I parted company, our love - in some unfathomable way - kept us connected. Love remained because it is eternal. On a conscious level, I was not aware of this, and had there not been the right mix of circumstances and my willingness to follow an intuition that defied logic and reason, I might have missed this epic understanding.

We have been allowed, for some reason, to tap into that selfsame love we shared years ago. I'm referring to what was good and kind and uplifting and empowering about our time together. I'm talking about a connection through love and also a connection of souls. For in all this that has dawned on me, I also feel that souls cannot be separated from love, that they are not exactly one and the same, but that they cannot be one without the other.

Okay, I know this is getting pretty heavy, but stay with me for just a little longer because this is neat stuff.

If I take this premise of the permanence of love and its inextricability from soul, then I can apply it to every relationship I've ever had, every one I have now, and all the relationships I will have in the future. This could mean that every single person I've ever shared even the slightest modicum of love with will remain forever connected to me and I to them. That means family members, spouses, partners, significant others, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and the guy on the street who smiles back at you and means it. Doesn't this kind of blow you away? I suddenly wonder how I can ever feel unloved or alone, again.

One last thread. Being forever connected to others doesn't imply that we will intentionally remain with family members, spouses, partners, significant others, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and the guy on the street who smiles back at you and means it. We all know that part of life is that people come and people go. Some remain, but most don't. However, the connections remain forever.

The connections remain forever.

In following my intuition, in the willingness of my old flame to "play along," and in the sudden and unexpected resurgence of love for her, I have been handed a marvelous gift. I have been given the gift of love in a way I could not have anticipated, and this will remain with me... forever.


kt lives in raleigh, writes for pleasure, and is a professional technical writer, who reads voraciously.

more about k. t.


the dream
by k. t.
topic: general
published: 12.30.99


tracey kelley
4.1.02 @ 10:56a

I completely and totally agree. As much as I may wish with my mind that certain people hadn't entered my life and hurt me or our relationship didn't work out or whatever...
...I never regret the love that passed between our hearts at one point.

That's when you know you're alive.

adam kraemer
4.1.02 @ 11:56a

Not to be cynical (okay, maybe to be cynical), isn't an almost-kiss sometimes less a remnant of love, but more a left-over habit or pattern? I've greeted people that I didn't really like much anymore with a hug just because it seemed like the "thing to do"; it seemed familiar, not emotional. Like falling back into old roles.

matt morin
4.1.02 @ 1:12p

It all depends. K.T., if your old flame feels the same way you do, then I can see your point. But I think too often, one person is in love and the other person is not. Or not totally. And it's only natural for the first person to project that what they're feeling, the other person is feeling, too.

In any relationship, it boils down to one simple thing: Do you want to be with me? If the answer on both sides is yes, then you can overcome anything. Yes, anything. But the reason people break up is because one person doesn't really want to be with the other one.

It's that simple.

duncan lawson
4.1.02 @ 3:57p

I agree with you on the theory of everlasting love. It reminds me of Plato's theory of the perfect Form, the very essence of love in which we should try to ascend to.

So there is a perfect love, but I also feel the majority of people never come close to reaching it.

What we have is people relishing in the joy of the walls of separateness being knocked down. But these walls are knocked down for only a short time. Thus "romantic" love or infatuation lasts for a limited time.

And this is what your urge to kiss your ex sounds like. The walls broke down and perhaps you remembered how the walls broke down when you first got together. Is this love? Not really.

Love is knowledge, respect, care, and understanding. It's a whole lot of work, and it's something most people choose not to do.

But like you say, J.T., you should never feel unloved. Not because of past lovers of failed relationships, but because you put in an effort to love and to love completely.

jason siciliano
4.19.02 @ 2:34a

If I didn't know better, I'd guess that K.T. was actually Secret Reverse Code for Tawny Kitaen, and you were getting back together with David Coverdale.


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