How I accepted love without sense
I CAN'T believe I just got married.
As a young'un, seeing my peers fall passionately in lust in person and in mass media, I despised romantic love. I offered sour grapes backed up by rational arguments: "We're too young for substantial relationships." "The modern archetype of romance is a product of corporate advertising." "People should be independent, not codependent."
My arguments made sense, but in hindsight they were beside the point. The guys, like my peers, weren't interested in me, and I pre-emptively dismissed them. Instead of going along with the crowd or thoughtfully considering the merits of romance, I reflexively scorned what I thought everyone adored.
I hid from my peers and my parents how desperately I wanted to be wanted.
I didn't fantasize about being asked on dates or getting proposed to or marrying the love of my life. I simply ached to have people tell me and show me they wanted me in their lives. I still do.
The teenage Sumana would scarcely believe my social life. People hang out with me — voluntarily! Sometimes too many people come to a party at my place and there's not enough room. This is the most joyous, unexpected thing ever.
And I finally have the partnership I thought unimaginable 10 years ago. Leonard and I found each other out of choice and fell in love, and love being with each other.
We found each other through geekery. I read a Web site that linked to a Web site that linked to his blog, and I read it for years before we ever met. That was five years ago, and our love and our commitment to each other have matured and accreted ever since.
As an adult, I can live independently. So a chosen relationship, out of mature desire, means volumes to me. I'm still trying to find the balance between independence and relationship.
Leonard wrote, in offering to marry me:
"We see love between others thousands of times but only participate in it a few times. Can we hope to find a new kind of love? How would we know it if we did? The best we can do is to explore the deeps of one great love, always finding new aspects of it.
"Five years ago I stumbled upon a vast love which my lamp and map have still not charted. This is where I want to live, Sumana, among the crystals, the faraway noise of an underground city, the glimmering lights in the ceiling, with you. Marry me, Sumana."
And I responded: "Make It New, the man said, and I took it to heart, the one place I shouldn't have. I feared cliches because I was young, but life's too short for that game. Love is classic, fresh when the meme wars fade. Love is never played out.
"So now I choose to prune my decision tree, and blossom in love, and taste of this new fruit. We'll make meaning of our lives together.
"Leonard, you initiate me into the colors of the world. Your love sends me casting for words and throwing them away. I gladly accept your proposal of marriage, Leonard."
The unimaginable has happened. Not only does Leonard want me in his life, but I know I want him in my life! It's an embarrassment of riches, coming to someone who had prepped herself for starvation.
We've been married for several days now, and I still can't believe it. I've never been a wife before, and I'm not quite sure what's going to change now. I feel young and naive in the face of these millennia-old traditions, Indian and American.
So, sometimes wonderful things happen, more strange than I ever dreamed. Maybe I worked at it, but there's no way I deserve such a wonderful husband. But love doesn't make sense. That's what I missed.
Sumana Harihareswara lives with her husband in New York City and writes for Bay Area Living each week. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.