A friend of mine recently married a friend of hers she reunited with after more than 20 years. They had worked together at a newspaper in Oklahoma City when he was a cartoonist and she was a reporter. Very few newspapers have cartoonists anymore, which is too bad. Thank God they still have reporters.
This pair – the reporter and cartoonist – could tell they had a chemistry those 23 years ago, but one or the other of them was always involved with someone else.
Then a little over a year ago, they reconnected on Facebook. She went to Oklahoma to visit him, and it worked so well that in December he moved to Tennessee.
They married this month.
“We’re so comfortable with each other, it’s almost like we have known each other in other lifetimes and have been given another chance to make it work. Whatever it is, I know it’s right. I just wish we were younger and had more time,” she said.
I have been thinking about her, and what she said about time and love, a lot lately.
How long does it take to fall in love?
A moment? A lifetime? Are there stages of love? Does it evolve? Does it ever hibernate?
A confidante told me there is something about three months. I don’t know what it is, she said, but three months seems to be the magic number. “That’s a season,” I said. It’s when crisp, clean fall yields to cold, bitter winter but you want to snuggle instead of hide. When delicate, vulnerable spring blooms – not wilts – into summer.
Another friend who tends to fall too quickly has decided to give it longer the next time.
I understand the need to be patient … cautious … with someone who might be special. Let him read you as if you are 10 pages at a time – read him 10 pages at a time – instead of consuming the Cliff Notes versions of each other. Ask questions, answer questions – but with the care of a friend, not an interrogating officer.
I think about the relationships that have been most valuable to me – the ones with people who are always on my invitation lists, whom I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to call if I was in any brand of trouble – and the two things they all have in common is that I knew right away we had potential, and that the potential took a lot of time to cultivate.
This may sound grandiose, but I think it starts with that little seed my friend planted 20-odd years ago in Oklahoma. The seed can do many things – grow and hybridize, sit dormant, be transplanted – but it’s always there. And then – with time, patience and the will of those blessed to nurture it – it can bloom, and bloom again.