What I do remember was thinking about how the acorns were a metaphor for the relationship. "Random love," I called it to myself, as though some vaguely uncaring god was controlling our fortunes, and things would either work out or they wouldn't.

What happened is as I walked up the hill from her house, I would imagine that each acorn on the oak hill was a relationship. At the top of the hill was true love. As the acorns rolled up, things got better. As I walked with my bike I would kick them at random, and see how far they made it. The acorns would roll forwards and backwards; some fell off the path entirely.

I don't think a single acorn ever made it all the way up.

I started feeling bitter about the acorns that got desperately close, and even more bitter about the acorns that started just a few feet from the top of the hill. I sometimes turned around and maliciously sent them flying back into oblivion, having gotten so near to the true meaning that I had to stop them before they bested me.

Sure, it was crazy. We're all crazy, a little bit. I've had tendencies to do things like that since I was a kid.

Pretty soon I started seeing all sorts of things as metaphors for love. The pressure in my tires. Glowsticks thrown into the air on the college green that would soar eighty feet high and come crashing down. The lucky ones got caught in trees.

I told people.

"Love is random. If you pick any two people, there's a finite level of compatibility between them. You can just get really close, once in a while."

They thought I was crazy. A lot of people believed in true love, and believed that the one person out there that you could really be in tune with was actually pretty likely to live on your street. "Love is like that. You just get lucky sometimes."

I wouldn't have any of it, but sometimes I couldn't help but believe. There was something shining in these people's eyes, like this was what kept them going on the tough days: a perfect love somewhere out there to make everything worth it. Somebody they could get along with that would be free of the little arguments and fights that wormed their way into their home lives and their social lives and their most intimate relationships. I laughed at them then. I'm not so sure now.