What do any of us really know about love?

Image“What do any of us really know about love?” <…> “It seems to me we’re just beginners at love. We say we love each other and we do, I don’t doubt it. <…> You know the kind of love I’m talking about now. Physical love, that impulse that drives you to someone special, as well as love of the other person’s being, his or her essence, as it were. Carnal love and, well, call it sentimental love, the day-to-day caring about the other person. But sometimes I have a hard time accounting for the fact that I must have loved my first wife too. But I did. I know I did. <…>

“There was a time when I thought I loved my first wife more than life itself. But now I hate her guts. I do. How do you explain that? What happened to that love? What happened to it, is what I’d like to know. I wish someone could tell me. <…>

“You guys have been together eighteen months and you love each other. It shows all over you. You glow with it. But you both loved other people before you met each other. You’ve both been married before, just like us. And you probably loved other people before that too, even. <…> And the terrible thing, the terrible thing is, but the good thing too, the saving grace, you might say, is that if something happened to one of us – excuse me for saying this – but if something happened to one of us tomorrow I think the other one, the other person, would grieve for a while, you know, but then the surviving party would go out and love again, have someone else soon enough. All this, all of this love we’re talking about, it would just be a memory. Maybe not even a memory.

Am I wrong? Am I way off base? Because I want you to set me straight if you think I’m wrong. I want to know. I mean, I don’t know anything, and I’m the first one to admit it.”

RAYMOND CARVER

“WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE” (1981)

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