Feeling the Love, or Not: A Retrospective

Since today is Valentine’s Day, I should explore that little known emotion known as “love.” What is “love” and why does it persist in this day and age? I mean, to hear some people talk, you’d think Armageddon was just around the bend with the wars and environmental concerns. Plus, socially speaking, I think we’re right where they were just before Rome fell.

Well, I can tell you from personal experience that I still don’t know, and I’ve been testing the waters for years and years now. Either I’m really, really slow, or there are no easy answers.

The first Object of My Attention was probably my father. Dads make excellent O-M-A, especially for small impressionable girls. After that came blond-headed Bradley, a kindergarten cohort. Alas, we said our goodbyes after my father, or the O-M-A #1, was transferred to the south. It was teary. I still remember waving to him, until his little pudgy form was nothing but a speck on the landscape. The years between first grade and fourth grade were pretty much bleak in the Land of Love. Besides, boys had cooties, and I didn’t want to get any.

In fourth grade, my dad got transferred yet again. In my new school, I was known as a brain, and was lumped together with the brainiest boy in my class for many a school project. Fourth grade was the year I was first married, to O-M-A #3, David Parkhill. Our friends rounded us up during recess and performed the ceremony in the school yard. Just for the record, David was not unwilling. We enjoyed a brief honeymoon in the school cafeteria, sharing a dessert bowl of pitted stewed cherries. Ah, those were the days.

After that year, once again, I was sent to another school, this one in the same city, but Catholic, so my circle of friends changed. Catholic school boys are terminally ugly and not very interesting. So, between fifth and seventh grades, when I finally got myself expelled from Catholic school, I had no O-M-A.

Middle school brings on hormonal changes, and I wish that someone had warned me. Since I had no O-M-A, I made up one. It was some kid in church who I didn’t know. I started staring at him. I stared holes into the back of his head, and he subconsciously brushed his neck several times during Mass each Sunday. I pined for the kid, even though for all I know he could have had a voice like a Smurf and he could have smelled like bologna and sweat socks. It didn’t matter to me. I had love, and I needed to direct it somewhere, anywhere.

During high school, I didn’t date anyone in my grade. I dated guys younger than me, and guys older than me, but for some reason, the ones in my general age group seemed, well, like they had cooties. If I could link you up to my high school year book, you’d know what I mean. (I could link you up since it’s posted online, but then most of you would figure out who I really am.) Also, during my senior year in high school, I hatched a plot to make good my escape from my parents. This was done by marrying the first guy I could snag. I was pretty good at that, because it didn’t take me long. Not that I think that’s a good idea, and I wouldn’t recommend lassoing a man to the altar to the young women out there.

My first husband was a Very-Temporary-Object-of-My-Attention, as I was enamored of him for eight brief months. Finally free from my parents, I then found I had to be free from HIM. He was no prize. Extricating myself from him was far easier than escaping from the parents.

After that, I had many, many loves, or what I considered to be loves back then. Now that I’m older, I realize that all of them were “lusts.” I didn’t love any of them. If I did love them, it was only momentary. But it was the 70s, and I think there was a lot of that behavior going on, it wasn’t just me. I was engaged a total of four times. The second time was BRIEF (thank God!), and the third time was LONG (thank God!). I didn’t marry either of those guys (thank God!). My fourth engagement was to my current husband, who I think is the love of my life. We call him my Final-Object-of-My-Affection, or THE END. I’ve said this many times, but if anything happens to him, that’s it. The End. I will not have any more O-M-As because I’m totally tapped out when it comes to doing that again.

F-O-M-A, or Mr. Demonic, has been sick the last two and a half weeks. He tends to contract bronchitis and strep quicker than anyone I know. While he was sick and whining (I mean, suffering), he was not feeling the love at all. Then this week, I became sick (could it have been all of his germiness?), so I was not feeling the love. Now that both of us are properly medicated, today is the first time in a long time that we’ve simultaneously felt the love. I believe one or both of us may “get lucky” tonight. And he doesn’t even have to take me out to dinner to accomplish that!

Of course, in there I have My Internet Boyfriend, but that’s a completely different kind of love. And the love of my friends and children. All of these loves fill in the gaps of F-O-M-A.

Come to think of it, as long as I have somewhere to direct it, I’ll always have the love.