My lover, my roommate

If you’ve been reading my blog regularly or know me personally, you will have noticed that I am a sucker for all things ‘love’. I enjoy reading articles, books, and posts on this subject and am always fascinated to hear other people’s take on what the word means to them and what, in their experience, changes it from a mere noun to a verb beating with life and passion.

So when I recently came across an online article titled ‘14 Ways to Create the Best Relationship of Your Life,’ I had to take a peak. The article was good; the comments even better (nothing beats a collection of diverse voices offering different perspectives on the same topic). One comment however stuck itself like a sticky note in my head and stubbornly pleaded to be examined with greater attention:

“How about we rent a house together + split the cost & I live in one room and he lives in the “other” and we are lovers when we feel like it…He brings me chicken soup when I am sick. I bring him chicken soup when he is sick. Most of the time we just allow each other “space”…….”

My first reaction after reading this was ‘sign me up!’ It sounded like a clean and uncomplicated arrangement. What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is yours, and we can come to an agreement on what to share between us. The idea of having my room-my very own private life wrapped neatly in its own tissue paper and tucked carefully next to another neatly wrapped life-tasted enticingly of………freedom. It sounded so nouveau; so chic and worldly. Imagine the luxury of not having to put up with the mess, both material and non-material, of your lover. Imagine the convenience of not having to constantly share yourself with someone else!

The longer I visualized this living arrangement however, the more I started to doubt it. For one, the notion of being lovers when you feel like it kind of defeats the purpose of love itself. Is love meant to be clean and tidy and uncomplicated, or does its genuine existence come in the form of chaos, disorder, and a tangled mess of complicated emotions? Isn’t love the very definition of ‘whoever gets the privilege of sharing your worst also enjoys the privilege of sharing your best’? Despite the risk of pain that it carries, is it worth it to turn a romantic relationship into a roommate living arrangement?

I cannot profess to know the answer to these questions, but I know that the kind of love I believe in is based on the everyday, otherwise ordinary interactions with my partner. The subtle facial cues of thought and emotion, the body language that fuels chemistry…..heck, THE PRESENCE, are all that transform ‘me and you’ into ‘us.’ I am by no means advocating that we should be in each others’ faces all the times, and I happen to think that allowing each other personal space is, in fact, necessary. However if you have too much of it, your once prized tango-of-two can slowly become awkward and clumsy. Separateness can breed foreignness: the familiar can slowly evolve into the unfamiliar, and the one you thought you knew so well can gradually transform into a bewildering alien that you make love to. This is, I believe, how strangers are made in the most intimate of places.

There is a community of the spirit.
Join it, and feel the delight
of walking in the noisy street
and being the noise.
Drink all your passion,
and be a disgrace.
Close both eyes
to see with the other eye.