Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Crazy Things We Do For Love

I’ve done some crazy things for love.

A few years ago, a boyfriend and I were suffering from a long period of time apart. We hadn’t seen each other in almost six weeks, and we both lamented every lonely moment of it when we slept alone in our respective beds. Then, an unexpected treasure: He somehow found three days free in an otherwise packed schedule. He would meet me at the airport. Could I get there?

Never mind that he was thousands of miles away. I was in Music City, USA. He was in Sydney, Australia. But what does a little distance matter when you’re in love?

Could I get there, he asked? Of course I could get there! When?

Next week?

Ooooookay...and oooooh, boy.

It would mean juggling deadlines, rearranging a solid week of plans, and getting out of a friend’s wedding. I would have to work hard and heavy to finish all my writing obligations early.

No matter.

A flight from Nashville, Tennessee to Sydney, Australia can take – depending on the airlines, layovers and the Gods of Accurate Departure Times – twenty hours or so. That’s almost an entire day and night of airtime, most of it over ocean so impossibly vast that looking down on it boggles the mind. The flight crosses the International Date Line, so that when you arrive you have either lost a day or gained one, depending upon whether you are going or coming. Touching down with a whole day missing – or magically restored – is enough to make one believe in time travel.

Did I do the sane thing and consider all the options? Did I use common sense? Did I slow down long enough to think about the fact that he would be returning to the US in four weeks anyway?

Think? Slow down? Are you kidding?

The next several days found me sacrificing sleep to a point of absurdity. Finishing deadlines to free my schedule. Apologies to friends. Boarding the very annoyed dog. Twenty-four hours on a plane (the Gods of Accurate Departure Times were apparently on vacation). Hellacious turbulence and more than a few prayers.

Finally, touchdown – and there he was, waiting for me at the gate.

The closest we came to leaving the hotel was making love on the balcony. We survived on nothing but wine and a fruit basket. We devoured each other instead, loving with a vigor that left us with sore muscles, bruises and not a single wink of uninterrupted sleep. We made up for every day of those six weeks apart. It was glorious.

We had a grand total of fifty hours together before the plane took me away again.

I left Sydney at a wonderful eighty-five degrees. I returned to Nashville to find four inches of snow and temperatures just slightly above freezing. I came home with a cold from breathing recycled cabin air, a cramp in my leg from sitting for so long, a bank account much diminished thanks to last-minute airfare, and a complete uncertainty of what day it really was.

Why did I do it? I loved him, that’s why!

Love brings out the irrational part of us faster than anything else ever could. We start to see the possible in the impossible. We become willing to fly across the world at a moment’s notice. We play the same songs over and over, just because it was the one that played on our first date. We send love letters like we were back in elementary school, smile like a goofball and drive our friends mad with constant descriptions of that one little tiny thing our beloved did or said. We become obsessed with that soul-searing, heart-lifting, sweetest lightness that only love can bring.

Flying to Australia is not the only crazy thing I’ve done for love. I’ve made shorter trips, crossing a country for the sake of stolen moments with a lover. For sweethearts I have written songs, poems, stories, even whole novels. I’ve spent more money than I could afford on tokens of affection. I once wrote a message of adoration for a man – in ten-foot-tall letters on a public billboard.

It wasn’t the first time, really. When I was in first grade I wrote “I Love Adam” on the class blackboard in the biggest letters I could manage. He responded by kissing me on the school bus. All was beautiful in our young love until our parents were called by the headmaster. Oops!

Maybe I got into a bit of trouble for those stunts – but were they worth it, you ask?

You bet your fluttering heart they were, my friend.

How could doing something crazy for love not be worthwhile? The best moments are spontaneous, from the heart with no-holds-barred. Even if the relationship doesn’t work out in the long run (alas, Mr. Australia didn't), letting yourself turn into a love-stricken fool is always memorable.

Perhaps the most crazy-wonderful thing anyone has ever done for me when it comes to love is the most simple: Giving the gift of himself. Shortly after I met the love of my life, there came a night when he dropped everything, moved his very busy schedule around, hopped in his car and headed my way. He showed up on my doorstep during the wee hours of the morning, unannounced and unexpected. Why? I was lonely. He thought I might want a hug.

I got my hug, and he got me. I’m going to marry him. I figure we’re both crazy enough to keep each other happy for the rest of our lives.

That’s my story...what’s yours? What’s the craziest thing you ever did for love – or the craziest thing your love ever did for you?


Dayle A. Dermatis said...

I'm right there with you. My now-husband called me on a Wednesday (my time) from Korea and asked if I wanted to visit...that weekend. His company would pay for it.

Of course I wanted to. As I was on the phone with him, I opened the filing cabinet...and discovered that my passport would expire that weekend.

So I not only had to juggle getting a day off work, but also a half day to run down to LA to apply for a new passport and pay through the nose for overnight processing. Did I mention that the government building in LA had a bomb threat evacuation right as I was walking up to it?

And then I had to pick my new passport on the way to the airport.

We barely left the hotel room as well. Room service was our friend, as was the nice big bathtub and other amenities.

I later eloped with him in Gretna Green, Scotland. Every day, I know he was worth it. :-)

Nikki H said...

I'd been writing to my new penpal, Wolfman, for two weeks when he suggested coming to visit me. I was a bit dubious. I'd just come out of a very mentally abusive relationship and wasn't looking for anything more than friendship.
Wolfman came up to visit me on April 1, and he was gorgeous! We had a great time and he promised he'd come back again soon. He did. Time and time again. A three hour drive each time. Within three weeks, (April 21) he'd proposed, I'd accepted and packed up all my stuff and jacked in my job to drive with him back to his home in London.
My parents were scared stiff for me but I was in the mad flush of love and infatuation!
Ten years later, we're still married and have four kids!

Olivia Knight said...

I've moved country twice for a man (well, once each for two different men), I wrote the whole of my Masters dissertation as a coded love-letter, I've spent hours decorating matchboxes, sewing waistcoats for small fluffy animals, and other little crafts; I've written, printed & handbound a book of poetry; I've given beautiful original paintings to unworthy recipients; I've happily accepted 8 winters in a row, all for love in a cold climate; I've parted with precious copies of favourite books without batting an eyelid; I've woken up at 2a.m. for 6 months running to drive home; I've cheated, lied and connived; I've been unfaithful for love, and more astonishingly found it within myself to be faithful for love; I will do anything anything ANYTHING - but my writing comes first. I can never look at my darling and say "You are the single most important thing in my life" - it'll never be true. Person, yes; thing - nope. The number one spot's already occupied.

Nikki Magennis said...

Gwen, thanks for putting some *love* into lustbites! Congratulations too!

Funny how the crazy stories often involve travel, isn't it? I won't mention the time I followed a stranger across the country after spending one night talking to him.

Instead - here's a story that shows me in a more flattering light. ; )

I was seventeen, and I took off to France without telliing anyone where I was going. Hitched around and ended up being given the use of a villa in the south.

One morning I woke up to hear someone calling my name - my boyfriend had ditched his final exams, found the name of the village we were staying in, flown over, taken a train to the place, and wandered round all night asking if anyone had seen a British girl - then just started shouting my name. It was a strange and lovely thing.

No happy ending, though, I'm afraid! He ended up being a prick...

Alison Tyler said...

I love this topic... I think this should be a whole anthology. Write to me, Gwen. Let's put our heads together....

I'm a bit like Olivia... what haven't I done for love? But I’ll follow Nikki and say what someone did for me… He left a very good job overseas six months’ early because I was quite literally cracking up. I’ve posted the story on my blog today (scroll down, it’s at the bottom).

And, because I'm generally wired for sound, I have two songs in my head: Crazy Little Thing Called Love and I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That).... god love Meatloaf.


rayandyoda said...

Craziest thing I did for love was: not sleep for 28 hours make a trip to Tampa to retrive a blanket for her little boy who left it at the airport and he was now in NEW YORK and by retriving the blanket for her son, I received the greatest night of love making that I could have ever imagined. The memories of her soft skin and the smell of her after sex still lingers today.


Madeline said...

Wow! I have to say, Gwen, this is a gorgeously written LB blog. I too have uprooted all for a man - by the time I left my job as a writer on call at a community college (I was 21 and would never score quite such a lucrative, impressive, easy writing gig again) he'd been fired from his job selling copier toner...and I still made the journey - Edmonton to B.C. He repaid me later, when I left Vancouver for TOronto, by MAILING all our belongings (ever seen crystal vase dust? I have) and driving to Toronto with a car full of books...we married but aren't together anymore.
It does seem to involve incredible arrangements and airfares, doesn't it? Although the bomb threat on the way to the airport would kinda trump all, if this were a competition... dear God! I have so few secrets I think I'll have to keep my best story secret - but it involved a 45 minute plane trip, during which I transformed myself from a sweating, shaking, fear-riddled female (the person beside me asked, 'Are you alright?') to a sexy, confident lover. No time to spare, believe me. I was rewarded amply for the following 12 hrs., then back on the plane, back to my life, and back to the shaking...That one ended badly, as my obsession outlasted his - a condition I detest. Before Felix and I moved in together we hooked up in parking lots, hotels (pay by the hour) and even a storage unit (!)
Happily, we now have a king size bed and I will freely admit, I don't miss the storage unit days at all!

Madeline said...

ps - On second thought, perhaps the master's thesis written as a coded love letter beats all...are we insane? Should I mention, again, the hand made shirt? I thought not. One last thing - I gave my Buddha medals, which had belonged to a dear friend who died and were given to me by his parents at his funeral, to the ex-husband, just the other day, because the ex has severe back pain and the medals always gave him comfort. I'm happy I love him again - as a friend.

Janine Ashbless said...

When I was working as a library assistant on a pitiable wage I found that I could either afford to eat, or to visit my boyfriend by train once a fortnight - but not both. So for a year I lived on Chinese soup noodle and sandwiches made out of mouldy bread. Staff birthdays at the library were red-letter days because then we got biscuits at break time.

It never once occured to me to ask my boyfriend for money. Mind you, it didn't occur to him to wonder why I ate like a horse all the time I was at his place, but weighed less than 8 stone.

And it was worth it.

Kate Pearce said...

I already mentioned the extra 7 hour trek across the frozen north (of England) to get to my beloved on Valentine's day didn't I?

Oh and I moved continents with him and all our kids and possessions 8 years ago! that's a leap of faith.

Now more importantly-what has he done for me lately?

Lots of stuff- but one of my favorites is when we were leaving for the U.S. he took me away for a mystery weekend. He drove us to all the places we'd lived in the UK to say goodbye and then he took me to Bath, my favorite city. I was getting rather shirty with him for not asking for directions when he pulled up in front of #@ The Royal Crescent, one of the swankiest hotels ever. We stayed the night-it was fabulous in more ways than one...

Olivia Knight said...

P.S. While we're boasting about fabulous things other people have done for us - Greater love hath no man than he face down his mother-in-law on behalf of his too-timid darling. Talk about bravery!
A close second was someone hitching for two hours through crime-ridden districts where his skin colour was most unwelcome to get to my farflung middle-of-the-countryside holiday home. And then he still had to get through the electric fence I didn't know how to switch off. The rest was electric, too.

Olivia Knight said...

P.P.S. Electric Fence Man got the incomprehensibly academic love-letter which never got posted and nobody but me understood anyway; the Knight Of The Royal Order of Mother-in-Law Slayer gets innumerable erotic stories and the promise of being treated like a proper toyboy when I'm rich & famous. Spot the priorities...

Nikki Magennis said...

I was just thinking. I reckon current boyf gets the crazy thing award just for putting up with me, for the rest of his life...

Gwen Masters said...

I love reading all your stories about crazy love! Thank goodness most of the times we take leave of our common sense for a lover, it pays off in spades.


Alessia Brio said...

It would just be WAY too passive aggressive of me to forward this. Even though the picture you posted with it pushes me to do so.
Naw. Not gonna do it. *wink*