We humans often fall in love with the strangest things. We mostly fall in love with other human beings, which, though not immediately apparent, can come to be strange and baffling when we ask ourselves as to why we chose that particular person once they have left us. And certainly, it is odd to fall in love with things such as a car or money or sex. However, can one fall in love with a moment? Truly fall in love with it, that is, not just a brief infatuation of it that will be forgotten soon after the moment is over.
There are many things I cherish in life: waking up from a nap to a sunny afternoon without feeling like you wasted precious time of the day. Or being at the right time at the right place to witness a certain building or object that I have seen so often caught in a light that makes me see it for the first time. Or that temperature that a cup of coffee reaches that makes it neither hot nor cold, perfect in that you say “no, thank you” to the waitress when she offers to pour in more. But which do I cherish the most? I believe I have narrowed them down to three.
The first are moments with my family. A stereotypical answer, one might say, but none the less true. I love the moments that show how my mother raised me, the precious lessons I could not have learned without her. I may often have not appreciated her wisdom enough, and probably will not again from time to time in the future, but I cannot be more grateful for her showing me that the world will always be bigger than I could ever imagine. This can be frightening, but she was always patient enough to get me excited again about the worlds within this one, just waiting to be discovered. And that when I am devastated on the balcony because my love could not find the courage to brave the vast and dangerous sea with me, my mother would remind me that I am her son, brave enough to board the ship on my own.
I love how Robert, my mother’s husband, not only loves her like I’ve never seen any other man do so, not only for works hard in financially permitting me to educate my mind or see beautiful places such as Berlin or Milan, but for being the anchor of reason whenever I was incapable of seeing it. Drunk and away from home in the Near Northside, broken down on the curb of an unfamiliar street, crying at three in the morning over something I fucked up, he would pick up the phone and let me remember that it is okay if I fail at some things, for I have not failed him.
I love how my brother is my reminder of innocence. He is living the childhood I never had, the one I wish the world would have let me experience myself instead of forcing me to grow up so fast, and I envy him for it. If there is a place I know to require the embodiment of kindness and true good, it is this world, and may it one day realize the existence of the greatness my parents are raising. Indeed, I often worry about him, as this world can be cold and cruel to good men. And more often than not, I found myself making him cry as I tried to toughen him up to be able to fight back when the time comes. However, I am starting to see that an older brother must guide, not dictate. My forceful lessons were at times not only harsh, but also unnecessary. While he possibly may be at risk of being shot down by the world some day, he will never be hurt from wounds incapable of being healed; he is loved by three strong people who will make sure he does not.
While these are three moments, they merely comprise one of the cherished things. The next kind are the moments of good conversation with friends. These friends have come and gone like my favorite seasons, and for better or worse, I usually have had no say in the matter. Some I have turned my back on out of my own volition, our lives having evolved to such opposites that continuing down the same path together simply became unhealthy. Other friends have left my side without either of us intending or noticing it had happened, awakening one day to realize that their need for the guidance from a man like me had at some point ceased just as my need for theirs had. We may call each other from time to time, and though it would not be the same, we are happy if the other is happy and leave it at that. These realizations are regrettable, but frankly, inevitable. Then there are some friends who are still there and shall always be. Who, after all these years of minimal interaction, are still willing and able to pick up right where we left off as if it was just yesterday. How I love to catch up with them, sharing the stories we had missed to witness in our absence.
Staying, going, or yet to be decided, these people from various countries, lives, and cultures have given me some of the most memorable discussions a man like me could ever be blessed to ponder over. And the range of the conversations’ natures have been exquisitely broad; from the debate on whether Wonder Woman, her favorite icon, can still be classified as a feminist role model when her outfit is often scantily comical, to defining what kind of morals an ethical person can still cling on to in an anarchy ruled, post-apocalyptic world, and which they would be forced to revise or discard completely. Or even wondering about what mankind should do should they ever unlock the science of time travel. Joe believes that if we are granted the power of gods, it is our responsibility to wield it. Regardless of if I will still be in disagreement with that stance, I look forward to him elaborating it further when I see him again someday.
Finally, I love moments like this. It is difficult to describe, as this moment comes in such variety. It is the moment when you sit in the back of the coffee shop you go to all the time, reading a book that nothing could tear your gaze away from, except for when the perfect song for that particular moment starts playing. You look up and stare at nothing and nobody in particular, wondering if there is such a thing as God and fate, and if they conspired to have this song play. Or it is the moment when you sit by the window of a new coffee shop you have just discovered. You have your headphones in, but they play no sound as their only role is to block out the sounds of the outer world around you as you enjoy the silence and the feeling of the cup in your hands. You stare out beyond the glass to watch the sun set, deeply saddened by how this day must come to an end, just like many of the great memories and beloved people in the past had to. But paradoxically, you are filled with a happiness you never knew could exist, once again excited like your mother taught you to be about what the new dawn will soon bring with it. It is in such a moment, a moment mixed of both of the two mentioned and many other variables, that I am currently writing this in. Feeling such a melancholic happiness, I am trying not to cry as I can barely contain the laughter that threatens to blurt my coffee out again.
So, can one fall in love with a moment, despite their short lived durations? Yes, I do believe so. It may seem absurd to fall in love with something that not only appears for short periods of time, but also takes weeks, months, or even years for one to experience again. Yet is that not what falling in love is about? Be it with another person or with the sound of loneliness itself, true love is fleeting, fickle, and does not know or care for your schedule. Love arrives and departs upon its own will. Where does it go and how does one find it again? Well, “sometimes there’s things a man cannot know; the gears won’t turn and the leaves won’t grow”. Sometimes we can experience and learn about something as much as humanly possible and still a pattern would never present itself. We will never know everything, but it is alright; we do not have to. We can only hope that our lives will be filled with those loves on which we can reflect upon when we lie on our deathbeds, old and grey. That before we exhale our last breath, we can look out a window, able to honestly say that “even if there should be another life beyond this one, it would not matter; I fell in love with what this world and its inhabitants experienced to be the fleeting and fickle moment that was me.”