The euphemism of “making love” was first invented to make everyone feel better about an act that is as purely physical as it is ludicrous: children on the floor trying to piece together a jigsaw puzzle when often the pieces are bent or broken or raw with scar tissue from past completions roughly severed. Love is an attempt to bandage wounds from years of living, to once again be as pampered as the helpless baby passed from hand to hand—to again be naked and vulnerable and yet secure in the unconditional protection we idolize as love.

Love is forever because something has to be, because we are not, because our only protection is in our huddled union with another flesh creature equally doomed but still somehow capable of affirming to us our own value. To be loved is to be worth saving and as woman A drives home from the supermarket with antibiotics for a sick little girl being doted over by her husband she doesn’t realize that anything could be wrong because she is serving love and all is well in the universe.

And that’s when woman A comes home to find her husband sprawled on the couch with her sister spread eagled on the floor because biology doesn’t care how in love we say we are. Love is created by man, broken by man, and institutionalized by man. Without it, Woman A comes home each night to an empty house and realizes she has stretch marks on her skin but there’s no one around to notice them any more. And in a few months she’s faded away and there’s no one to give a shit because without someone’s love we can’t exist. The world reminds us so with candy and flowers and pink hearts all affirming the same message: to love is to live.

But maybe woman A doesn’t fade away—maybe she spends every night watching Bridget Jones Diary and starts taking yoga classes at the Y and tells herself she doesn’t need a man to be happy—until she realizes she’s falling for her yoga instructor, because biological imperative is destiny and she can feel her inner clock beating—




So focused is she on this inner rhythm that she can’t hear her own warning. It will do her no good to have platitudes from this man as they work their way through the Kama Sutra. She’ll still hate herself.

My head hurts like a motherfucker, and my extremities are beginning to hurt, too. Smells like illness coming on to me. Fickityfuck. That's the last thing I need right now. For one thing, I have classes starting Thursday (project management); for another, I have a Valentine's Day hike scheduled for tomorrow night.

I could care less about missing work. "I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob."

I keep running across jobs that I could qualify for given some flexibility on the part of the hiring manager and some salesmanship on my part. I could increase my wages by as much as 50%. Having that in my hip pocket makes bullshit like my boss coming out with a new documentation standard a little less traumatic. So now, not only are we responsible for our project's life cycle from cradle to grave, we also have to write the documentation. I empty my nostrils in his general direction.

I want to go home and shiver on my recliner.

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