Literary Yard

Search for meaning

What’s so compelling about love stories?

By: Giulia Imperioli

The reason why we read literature, read nonfiction, read poetry, and absorb the lyrics of songs is connection and seeking of higher meaning/understanding.

Reading and consuming art is purely a social act – we hold a magnifying glass against the words or sounds or colors meshed together in desperation to see if anyone is out there.

Is anyone out there?

We’ve definitively uncovered most mysteries of the world – marine ecosystems, physics, biology, language acquisition, atomic weaponry.

The unanswered is also unfathomable and thus, uncompelling.

The only remaining longlasting question is that of love’s creation and love lost.

Love is an experience that is both too intangible and too personal to be generalized. Thus, has been elusive to the structures of the scientific method.

Neuroscientists attribute feelings of love (feelings of attachment) to the release of oxytocin – a bonding chemical. It perpetuates itself, so it’s unclear where this unending cycle begins. A touch from a loved one elicits the release of oxytocin, and the release of oxytocin leads to later attributions of love.

My sister is now polyamorous. Which I immediately rolled my eyes upon hearing.

Very cool and very current of her.

But why does my body tense up at the idea of a “primary partner” and other partners – to which you also profess your love? At that point – what IS love.

What is LOVE. WHAT is love.*

What makes me want to have ownership over love, and it to have ownership over me. What makes me afraid of its compounding effects, if I were to pursue it with several at a time.

The last person I loved, never said they loved me. They loved someone else, but left that love most likely as an indirect result of pursuing me. Hence, by the transitive property, I deduced that to be love  – and timestamped that period in my heart (brain) to know that at some point this person only sought me. Forsook their longterm relationship for me? Love.

As time went on, it became blurrier as to whether it was for me. And the destruction of the previous love rained shrapnel into their love for me – and it never recovered.

I tried to grasp onto that love as expressions of it slipped away from me – friendship lost, romantic interest lost, any connection lost. And what remained was the most visceral of loves which is lust. Which is often either the first instinct of love, or a vestige of love.

I clung to this intimacy like Harlow’s monkey clung to the wire mom with a warm blanket.** I refused the basic sustenance of self-worth, self-efficacy, self-respect, and introspection for the glimpses of love I received sparsely and thrown out to me like scraps of food for an obedient dog.

The tiny expressions of intimacy and closeness were underlined portions of text in the story I wrote about what I was experiencing that I could refer back to and not consider my efforts in rekindling the limp, wet, dead pile of leaves that was this person’s love for me, moot.

If you look me in the eye, when you cum inside me – If you leave a moment hanging in silence –  If you forgo a joke-  If you know a fact about me (pathetic) –

Is love still under the surface?

Fracking love from a tainted love becomes an ecological, environmental, then human rights disaster.

You pump as much of yourself and energy deep into someone else’s soul with the hopes that you can extract the valuable, nonrenewable energy source of a once-felt love toward you. You burn the excavated entrails and watch as it destroys what’s protecting you from self-harm, while also intuiting that the supply won’t last.

The loss of this love is avoided by the burning out of it. You burn the bridge to avoid facing the glory, but also the detriment that filled the previous location that was where you loved (and were loved?).

The haunting of this smoke-filled, ashen place is relentless and maddening.

My ever-colorful, ever-realistic dreams are filled with the mundanity of seeing your name pop up on my phone – and my insides jerk me awake. But I was awake – and I saw it?

Love is seeing a name and it seeming full. The name could satiate you for at least a week. But its forbidden fruit feels too taboo, too magical to speak aloud without conjuring your ghostly figure. Once you utter this name, acknowledge its existence – you’ve plopped the juiciest six pomegranate seeds down your throat and swallowed its surprising fullness. The taboo of it has banished you to the underworld of constant hunger – you always need more.

I said his name into his ear as we had sex because it was the only time I could bear to. My only stake, my only right to it was in this space. He would cum instantly, and that is its power.

Normalize platonic love. Normalize familial love. Normalize putting loves in different boxes, and not mixing them all together on a plate – where you cannot discern their individual scrumptiousness.

When you let one love consume you, you’re consuming to surfeit. If you vomit because of love – is it a tangible poison?

Tangibility intimates reality. My anxiety symptoms each mark the truth of my internal experience of love. Each droplet of sweat, each tremor of my hand are the data that imply the existence of something real, and something deep in the surface, that is unlike all the others.

Thus, if it has mass (it takes up space), it cannot be created or destroyed – but can be transformed.

Hence, this love came from somewhere, and the energy was applied to him – and hopefully will be applied to the next thing, or person, or place – but it will never be gone.

*baby, don’t hurt me / don’t hurt me / no more.
**I was a Psych major. Look up Harlow’s monkeys.

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