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art theplaceIt is the eternal quest.

Love. Four letters that either spell utter ecstasy or doom and gloom in our hearts. It is quite possibly the entire reason we do anything in our lives. It eludes many of us, has been taken away from many of us, and, if we’re sincerely lucky, is within our grasp. Regardless of the situation at hand in our current day-to-day lives, we wake up and chase it with a reckless abandon each and every morning, whether we want to believe it or not.

Love has started wars and ended them. It has sparked ideas and torn down entire ways of thought. It has brought people from all walks of life together, and has ripped apart countless families and entire civilizations. But, throughout the history of mankind it still remains as fascinating and priceless as ever — a sparkling gem we hope to wear around our necks, in pride and gratitude to the gods above for bestowing such beauty to our mortal souls.

I was first aware of, well, what I thought was love, somewhere around the beginning of seventh grade. Never having a girlfriend, let alone any semblance of friends for that matter, my scrawny, nerdy, Coke-bottle-glasses-wearing self somehow caught the eye of a femme fatale. She was a teammate on my modified cross-country team. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing (still don’t probably), but those kissing sessions behind the middle school bleachers sure felt good. It was butterflies, and that sense that you just somehow acquired the knowledge of time and our place in it, which, as we come to know, resides in the eyes of our significant others. 

And, eventually, we broke up, the ole kicked-to-the-curb number, one where you feel like death is tapping on your shoulder as she walks by a week later with her new beau, you all but a faded memory into the back of some yearbook never to be published or read. Times heals all, we come to find out, and soon another face appears before you, a vision of heaven itself felt and seen in the arms of passion. 

Middle school flavor of the week, high school sweetheart and college soul mate, onward into the trials and tribulations of adulthood. This pattern of attachment and detachment becomes a melodic rhythm that mirrors the beating of our hearts. We cross paths with potential and what could be the future outcome of your life, only to find yourself standing there in the field of your dreams, watching it all crash and burn into a fiery ball of disaster like the Hindenburg. 

Though we may get a little wiser each time, it never gets any easier. And yet, we still dust off our shoulders, tuck our shirts back in, and head for the door of our destiny once again. It’s all a big joke, one we never get sick of becoming the punch line to. 

But, that’s not to say you’re a fool to play the game. Far from. You’re a fool to sit on the sidelines while everyone else is out there participating in the great universal experiment — humanity.

I believe in love, and I say that wholeheartedly, even after the most gut wrenching of relationship endings. Those days you never wanted to get out of bed, and you wondered if you’d ever be the same again. The center of your world is gone, and you are a piece of the earth, blasted away and spiraling into the depths of outer space, never to be heard from again.

But, it’s also safe to say I’ve probably broken as many hearts as have broken mine. You think you’re the victim, but you’re probably shooting par for the course when you actually sit down and think about the road to here and now, a path littered with dead flowers, stale boxes of chocolates, ripped photographs and one-eyed teddy bears. 

And I still believe in that magic that is only found in the depths of that beating muscle in your chest. There have been moments where I found myself in awe of the predicament in the exact real time as it was happening. Moments where I fell in love on the same day that I last saw her, where I rolled the dice on a first date and went in for the kiss, and knew all along the risk in my attempts, but never forgot — it’s always worth it, come hell or high water. 

Love is the sands of time slipping through your fingertips. The unforgettable grains fall, with some forever stuck in the creases of well-earned wrinkles. Love is the fountain of youth, by which we drink from with gusto when we finally unlock the secrets of our lives, where all is one, and nothing will ever be the same, thankfully.

Life is beautiful, grasp for it, y’all. 



Hot picks

1 The “Way Back When” trout dinner will open its 2016 season at 5:30 p.m. Friday, May 20, at the Cataloochee Ranch in Maggie Valley. 

2 The Smoky Mountain Roller Girls will be hosting their second double header of the season at 4:30 p.m. Saturday May 14, at the Swain County Recreation Center located on Deep Creek Road in Bryson City.

3 The Haywood Healthcare Foundation will host Casino Night at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Laurel Ridge Country Club in Waynesville.

4 The Strawberry Jam will be held May 14-15 at Darnell Farms in Bryson City. The festival will open at 10 a.m. daily.

5 The Cut Cocktail Lounge (Sylva) will host the “Honky Tonk Stud” contest with The Jon Hatchett Band at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 21.

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