Yesterday I came to realise just how romantic I am. I’m not talking about romantic love of others, though I undoubtedly have a lot of love for a lot of people. I’m talking more about a tendency toward imagination, idealism and wonderment. I don’t think romance really applies to love between two people, between flawed creatures, full of contradictions. People aren’t the stuff of ideals: people don’t behave as expected, they aren’t perfect, they aren’t consistent, they’re likely to change and become something else; it’s these things, in fact, that are compelling – that cause us to create relationships and form bonds. Romance, though, strikes me as the thing that can only exist when a bond is absolute and perfect; the state in which you are singled out as the one and only, elevating you to the centre of the universe.
I fall in love with the world on an almost daily basis. Scudding clouds, next door’s bluetit, the feel of sun on my back, the sound of rain – they are all beloved. The world is a great source of constancy – always present, always inclusive. The world shows me things that are unexpected, amazing and inexplicable, and it allows me to respond as freely and emotionally as I want. I romantically imagine that the world smiles when I take notice of it, and I imagine, being a part of the world, that there’s a sense in which we aren’t separate – in which my love for the world, for tiny parts of the world, is known and appreciated. Practically, I know my experience can never truly be shared by another person, and so my romance with the world is the only relationship in which I am totally understood and unequivocally loved.