There is this story told by a friend of mine a few years ago.
She was broken up with a man she was very much still in love with. And although time had passed, and so did a few other men, he was still always in her thoughts. They did not keep in touch except for the rare hellos, and one fine day she decided that she did not want to give up on them just yet. And so she had somehow found out that the man was returning on a flight back to the city, and she decided to drive to the airport to surprise him. She had the grand gesture planned – she bought a single rose, an ode to the cheesy romantism she had in her mind, and drove to the airport alone, her heart on her sleeve.
On the way to the airport she decided to call him to ask him to wait, worried that he might be too quick to get a taxi before she could get there. She was hopeful, against all the challenges that they had been through, that he wanted to see her too. “That’s enough, M,” he said to her on the phone, his voice cold. “You should just go home.” He took a taxi and left.
She turned the car around and drove back home crying, with that rose still on the seat.
(And you’re thinking, “Whattt? Does this shit happen in real life??” Yes it does.)
This story resonates with me because it’s a reminder that love makes us do crazy things we never thought we would do. M is just a normal person like all of us, and I bet she didn’t think that she would ever be that girl who would bravely drive to the airport despite all the uncertainties she had at the time. But isn’t it what this thing does? Love, for some strange, incomprehensible reason, drives us to do things we previously assumed were beyond our capabilities. It makes us leap and this sometimes causes us to fall down and hurt ourselves, but without it we would never learn, understand and grow.
Sometimes we are so comfortable being in our own little bubble of familiarity, not wanting to step outside and brave a little bit of sun for something a lot greater. I happen to think that this is when the ignites of love is gifted to us to give that extra bit of push, because without its deranged, elevated, consuming punch of adrenaline, we would never do more. We would just continue to be ordinary. And unfortunately, ordinary is a place where mundane starts and adventure stops.
There are times when I think of all the things I did for the sake of it and I begin to cringe with a lot of “What was I thinking?” moments. They are a swirl of embarrassment, jitters, happiness, sadness, brokenness, a roller coaster ride of the most peculiar of sensations and feelings. But then I began to realise that in many ways, it is actually the compass that drives our lives. It sparks in specific moments with specific people at a specific time, to lure us into a road for us to consider. It lingers against our will to nudge us towards the route that seem scary and unfamiliar at first, but it might be better than anything we could’ve ever thought of.
And although M’s story did not exactly have a happy ending, what it did teach me was that love? It is courage in disguise. It unveils potentials we never saw before. It propels us from all that we had ever known into an exciting, strange territory. It makes us want to cross raging rivers because it makes us believe it is worth it (and it usually is). It is through it that we are able to supersede our expectations of ourselves, and therefore should never be left behind in vain.