There are a lot of things that I used to believe in that I don't anymore. I remember one Christmas I was at my cousin's house and Santa Claus visited to bring them presents and I didn't get one because the neighbor didn't know that my family was going to be visiting. I must have believed in Santa a lot because I didn't stop crying until he brought me back a present (what a great guy). I remember reading comic books and believing that I could somehow achieve the powers that they had if I wanted it bad enough. I remember believing that I would marry my first girlfriend. I remember believing that alcohol and beer were bad. And, the latest thing that I remember believing that I do not anymore is in unconditional love.
Up until a few weeks ago, I believed in unconditional love. Unconditional love to me is when two people can be separated and have all of these fucked up things happen to them individually to push them apart and they'll still come together in the end. I always kinda thought that no matter what happened to people in their individual lives, that they were still the same people in their core and they would come together because of that. It's kind of like Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (stop reading if you haven't seen it, and plan to). They got their memory erased of each other, but then they still came back together again because of who they were in their core and what they were to each other. I thought that if all of our memories were erased, that we'd still gravitate towards the same people and have most of the same friends that we had before. I think that it's pretty obvious where this is going - I thought that the distance between Quinn and I would have little or no affect on our relationship, but I was wrong.
The one thing that I forgot is that people change. I mean, I didn't forget it, but I didn't believe in it. I've seen my high school friends go through a ton of shit in college and they're different, but they're still the same people. I haven't talked to my best friend from elementary school for years, but I know that if I saw him we'd still get along and have the same dynamic. Maybe it's that things don't change between friends, but they do for people who were in relationships. I mean, I look at the few ex'es that I've loved and I think that they're entirely different people. Maybe it's only because I knew them so well at one point that I can notice these things. Maybe it's because the moment I fell out of love, they changed to me - even if they hadn't changed in reality. Or, maybe it's because people learn from their failures and forcefully change.
This is what makes love conditional. Change. Two people could be soul mates, but if one is sent off to Iraq and the other one is sent to a missionary in South America, chances are that they'll come back home and not be able to relate. Two people could be complete opposites, but be placed into an arranged marriage or find each other when they're both looking for something serious. This couple could probably adapt to each other better than the soul mates returning from Iraq and South America. People think that it's cute to say "let it (love) fly away and if it comes back to you then it's forever". Well, fuck that bullshit. I'm not gonna sit here waiting with my arms open while some dude puts his hands all over my woman. It should be more like "handcuff it to a chair, roll duct tape around it's ankles, and strap it to your back with a post-Dale-Earnhart Nascar regulation seat belt."
I now think that love necessitates proactivity. I don't know if I'll ever be able to forgive myself for taking the job at Lockheed instead of the one at Northrop, which was close to USC, where Quinn is going to school. I wouldn't say that I changed, but she changed individually without me while she was in LA. The last wedding that I went to, the groom flew all over the world to see his present-day wife - even when they were broken up. If he hadn't given this effort, then most likely they would have never gotten married. Instead of flying around the world, all I had to do is take a job that was offered to me. I was so confident in unconditional love that I believed that things would be exactly the same if I lived up here (close to my family) instead. Even one of us driving or flying every two weeks wasn't enough. Quinn used to tell me that "there are still 11 days in between for us to change." What's 11 days x 26 sets of weeks in a year x 2 years? Whatever it multiplies out to, it's greater than the number of days that love, an engagement, and a hypothetical future could hold out for.
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