When Love Becomes Friendship


I was organizing my new home yesterday. It is smaller then the last one, though contemporary and lovely, and so some things need to go in storage. I find photo albums. There is always something a little strange about looking at old photographs. Will you miss the past depicted in the photographs? Will you feel fear when recalling what was once your life? Feel free of the past, sober and fresh into the world, safe at last.

I brought the books outside to the patio. Somehow, looking at the past feels better outside. Outside the confines of my new life. A life free of drugs and of alcohol. I open the book. I should not have opened the book. Pages of my partner of three years and I. We are holding hands. He is kissing my cheek. His arms are laced around my back. He loves me.

We are rock climbing in a few of them, horseback riding in a couple more, making dinner (my lips are kissing his cheek as he cooks), we smile. We are in love. Love, that funny thing, obscure, strange. We had framed pictures of ourselves. Plans to have children once we quit drinking and doing drugs. And we did. Quit.

I think we quit loving each other as well. The Honeymoon Phase, a brilliant thing, peppered with roses and intimacy. Pure bliss. But it always ends. A healthy relationship slowly becomes as much about mutual adoration as it once was pure lust.

Three years have passed. We share the same home. The same cat and dog. Vehicle. Grocery bill. We do not hold hands and we do not kiss. We are intimate, perhaps a few times a year, I wonder if this is normal. We keep telling each other that once we are less stressed out we can love each other physically again. But I do not even want to. I fear intimacy. Is it my fear or our relationship?

I have no reference point. The television tells me that we should be making love all the time, at least once a week, that we are abnormal in our love. Our love residing on a purely intellectual level and hampering at that. What is normal? What are the variations of love?

We are young. Perhaps vital. We share the same bed. We stare at opposite sides of the wall, and this feel comfortable. This feels like it should: Isolating. He watches silly television shows while I read myself to sleep. He eats chocolate in bed while I prefer fruit.

It is normal to desire the passion that defines the beginning of a relationship. But is it normal to have become best friends? Where is the lover I once had? The one I felt comfortable with. The one I still love. But in a distant way, divided by time and by pain, surprised we have been able to sustain.

When love becomes friendship. Well, I suppose we all need more friends.






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