After a while of loving someone, you forget what ever made you start. You forget the snake pit that was your stomach for the two months before you even kissed. You forget that before they were yours, they were someone else’s, and nothing is as difficult to endure as that. Somehow, once you’ve loved someone for a long, long time, you stop loving them at all. Because it isn’t a feeling of love; it isn’t an act of love; it is only something that exists, but which you take no part in. You are no longer a participant in your own affections. You give it out freely. You cook them dinner and listen to the songs they like and cry when they don’t come to bed with you even though you like it better when you have more space. We do these things out of learned emotions. We respond how we have become used to responding. When they look at that girl on the street in a crop top, you run away. You spend all night ignoring them, remembering every time they’ve ever done you wrong, you cry your vision cloudy. Except, for what? It doesn’t really hurt. We make the decision to be hurt. We tell ourselves they were wrong to have done that, they were wrong to have done so many things. Where they have maybe left only a powder blue bruise, we punch and twist and hit on tables until it is dark as ink, until we have an excuse to be angry, until we have something to point to and say, “look, look what you’ve done.” Is love really this way? Are we all just pretending? Is the human condition so predisposed to adjustment that all things which we might call spontaneous are really set in stone? Are we all dried out? I, for one, have made a machine of my heart. I have written in the code so that when his eyes go there, my heart tightens; when he comes home late, I lose my voice; when he crawls into bed and tries to love me with his body, I try to love him back with mine. I don’t know if this is love, but I’ve got it down to a T.