The thing to do today on the internet seems to be to post about love. Well, specifically, to post the sentence “I love you” to your social networking sites. Now, naturally, I love no one. (Well, that’s a lie. I mean, it goes without saying that I love you. But since I love only you, that seems insensitive to speak of too loudly.) Perhaps that is why, when I think of the most recent rumination on love to deeply effect me, my mind falls on this, from The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle.
When I was a young man, and very well thought of, I couldn't ask aught that the ladies denied. I nibbled their hearts like a handful of raisins, And I never spoke love but I knew that I lied. But I said to myself, "Ah, they none of them know The secret I shelter and savor and save. I wait for the one who will see through my seeming, And I'll know when I love by the way I behave." The years drifted over like clouds in the heavens; The ladies went by me like snow on the wind. I charmed and I cheated, deceived and dissembled, And I sinned, and I sinned, and I sinned, and I sinned. But I said to myself, "Ah, they none of them see There's part of me pure as the whisk of a wave. My lady is late, but she'll find I've been faithful, And I'll know when I love by the way I behave." At last came a lady both knowing and tender, Saying, "You're not at all what they take you to be." I betrayed her before she had quite finished speaking, And she swallowed cold poison and jumped into the sea. And I say to myself, when there's time for a word, As I gracefully grow more debauched and depraved, "Ah, love may be strong, but a habit is stronger, And I knew when I loved by the way I behaved."
This concept, “love may be strong, but a habit is stronger,” makes me wonder what really does go without saying. What can dissolve in a caustic silence, which one might mistake for stasis? Perhaps it is not empty sentimentality about sentimentality, but a recognition of the need for communicative renewal that makes internet I Love You day attractive.