‘Two weeks ago I got sick. Love sick.’

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Two weeks ago I got sick. Love sick. Sick as a mangy little puppy, and similar to a sad guppy, I swam laps around my head-bowl wondering if he’s wondering about me.

I said “no” to dates, and “no” to dances and dinners. Why would I need those? I smiled at Bill Withers songs and skipped down streets where strangers were friends. The sun in the sky was brighter; the clouds were pure cotton candy, and a couple homeless guys made a few dollars from my overarching, love sick generosity. But then the rose-tinged hues of a fantastic first date faded into the somber second date. In a bar I looked at the clock and thought, It’s 11pm and I need another drink. Our mutual interest was not so mutual, and the worst part was that it had nothing to do with either of us. It was timing.

Timing: that alignment of planets, that horoscopic game of chance and hope, that geographic satellite positioning system of the heart. Timing is fickle.

The next day I watched the sun grow dull, my cotton candy clouds changed to lumps of lard, and I made a point to cross the street when confronted with a jingling cup. No text message, no phone call. Bill Withers transitioned to Dido. God help me. And while the first bite of the love sick bug was thrilling, the secondary symptoms were sickening as I thought ad nauseum about a guy who should have been my guy.

In this way, we are all vulnerable. There is no vaccination — or cyber-security shield, for you web nerds — against this type of bug.

But does liking someone need to suck so much? Why do we fall fast and hard, while other times it seems to take its sweet time, descending in a slow, lazy spiral until we realize maybe there’s something there. I have no answers to these questions. I can only share my experiences and commiserate as someone still learning the game of love – a game none of us truly masters until suddenly, we do. Until then, it’s a good thing misery loves company — and it’s a good thing social media loves bringing that company together.

Still, I refuse to rest complacent — even in the midst of such great company. I have no answers but (there’s a but!) after riding this rapturous roller coaster of ridiculous love sickness, I do have some ideas on prevention:

  • Delete the text message thread on your iPhone. Don’t think twice. Texts may seem valuable, but at their base they are no more than words spoken at a time that cannot be revisited by scrolling up.
  • Don’t obsess. Or do obsess. None of us can help that. But do it in a way it’s productive. Use the surge of first love that makes you want to go to the gym and lift a mountain to start healthy habits. And if you tumble down from that high height in the sky, keep the habits you’ve created for the completely opposite reason: a routine helps assuage the insecurities of life.
  • Most importantly, say yes! E.E. Cummings explained it best:

“yes is a world

& in this world of yes live

(skillfully curled)

all worlds”

To say yes to something is to open a window when a door is closed. When a friend invites you out, say yes. Go to dinner; take someone up on a date. Like my grandma says, “Maybe you don’t like him, but at least you meet his friends.”

In the end, the only cure to love sickness is a different facet of the same thing that causes it: timing.

Timing can make you sick, but time will cure it. This I promise.

By Marc Mahoney


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