If I had one chance to love you, I would.
If I had one chance to love you, the sky would meet the ground and the two would shake hands for the first time in history. It would be earth-splitting, space-shattering. Worlds that had been forever at odds would come together like grade school friends on a pre-arranged playdate, and time and distance would be defied and offended and walk away with their arms crossed and rolling their eyes.
If I had one chance to love you, a million new stars would be born in that instant and they would speckle the entire blackened horizon, the dome above would resemble a snow globe more than ever before and all those fresh constellations would descend from space and flutter to the ground like snowflakes. No two would be the same. And we would bundle up and go outside and build a snowman out of fallen stars.
If I had one chance to love you, the moon would loosen on its hinge just enough to wobble back and forth and make the sky look like it was smiling. We would hear the squeaking noise as the crescent swayed on end like a creaky door. We would talk about WD-40 and how the squeaky wheel is the wheel that always gets the grease, or so they say, but then we would just let it go and look up and watch, because there are these rare and coveted moments in which love becomes a spectator sport, and we should cherish those.
If I had one chance to love you, a painting would be painted somewhere on the other side of the world and it would bear all the significance of what we were and what we are and what we’re going to be. We would probably never see it, but it would exist, because these things are universal. A poem would be written. It would be set to music and choreographed and performed in front of large audiences and one day we would be sitting in a diner or walking through a shopping mall and that song would be played on the radio, overhead, for all to hear. We would listen to it and recognize it and sing along. It would be ours, if I had one chance to love you.
If I had one chance to love you, I would kiss you on the cheek, because in spite of all the magical things about Eros, Affection is still my favorite of The Four Loves. It’s because Affection is characterized by not really being able to say for sure when it started, only knowing that it is in fact present. It is bred and developed through familiarity, it is gracefully gradual, and there is something beautifully unconditional about it.
If I had one chance to love you, we would watch movies. And suddenly the actors on the screen would freeze up mid-sentence, distracted, and turn their attention to something on the outside. We would be looking at them, and they would be looking at us. And they would stop acting and perhaps shout “CUT!” and they would watch us instead, because we would be more compelling than their developing plot, our love would be truer and more captivating than stories written specifically to sweep audiences off their feet. If I had one chance to love you, the movies would be watching us.
If I had one chance to love you, I wouldn’t think of pushing love away. I wouldn’t tell it to come back later, to take a raincheck, to meet me at the same time next year when things are different, when circumstances are better. When it knocks, you open. When it rings, you answer. Love doesn’t recognize the buzz of call waiting. And love, next time, is never exactly the same.
Life teases us with the number two door. We stand in front of it and we marvel at it. We stare it down until we bore little holes in its woodwork with our eyes and we can’t look away. We knock on it and try to visualize for a moment what might be behind it, and in all that concentrated effort we forget that not a minute ago we were walking, moving forward. And that we aren’t anymore.
When love is opposed, we always say we wish things were different, but what we forget is that there are all kinds of different — not just the kind we think we want. And if I had one chance to love you, I don’t know which kind of “different” would be required to warrant such a thing. But I wouldn’t wish “different” on anybody, because different doesn’t always equate to better.
And while all the things around us remain the same, maybe I do have one chance to love you after all. This one. The one I’m in, the hand I was dealt. There are no parallel universes. There is no identical scenario on the other side of the world where all the things that are “wrong” are altered like a light switch to be made “right.” There are degrees. There are variables. To love someone is to will the best for them. And love has a way of making itself the hero, even when it comes in the form of the villain. So I guess when you think about it, there is always a chance to love.