"The decision to kiss for the first time
is the most crucial in any love story.
It changes the relationship of two people much more
strongly than even the final surrender;
because this kiss already has within it that surrender."
(German Biographer and writer)
Thanks to Susan Boyle, of recent British Idol fame, the word "gobsmacked" has become part of my vocabulary. It's not an every day word yet, but it's fun to say. I didn't really even know what it meant, so I looked it up. To be honest I was a little surprised to find it in the dictionary. But there it was right in between gobshite and gobstopper! Dictionary.com defines gobsmacked as "utterly astounded."
I was having a conversation the other day with one of my favorite people. She told me about meeting someone new. In her words, shortly after he "chatted me up" we exchanged "contact information." "I'm gobsmacked!" she said with a smile in her voice that's been a long time coming.
As I talked to her I realized that even though the language of romance has changed (chat me up?????) the feeling of connecting with someone on an intimate level must go back to the days of Adam and Eve in the Garden. There's nothing like those brand new moments of a relationship when the brain chemicals of boy and girl react to the sights and sounds and smells of something exciting and inticing.
Well, there is really. While love is intense in its newness, it can be just as powerful in its longevity. I love it when I see old people together who have been married for more years than I've even lived. Their familiarity is every bit as tangible as their original feelings once were.
I've seen pictures of my mom and dad on their honeymoon. The love that sparkled in their eyes was palpable. On the other hand I remember many years when that love seemed to have vanished and the hole that it left behind had to be navigated with precision. Life is hard and takes its toll on relationships. But the ones that last, that can weather the storms, leave those same two lovers looking into each others' eyes with something far more intense. When I look at the picture of my parents on their final anniversary before my mom passed away, I still get goosebumps at the way they looked at each other. There was more in the look that passed between them than words could ever say. But if I had to pick a word, I think "gobsmacked" would work.
I want to make it to that stage in my relationship with Sweetie. I want our shared hopes and dreams and trials to add to the brightness of the light that was lit when we first "exchanged contact information."
However, in all honesty, I kind of miss feeling "gobsmacked." I know its not a feeling that lasts. I know every new relationship will move beyond the everything-is-wonderful stage. It will move forward to something more permanent, or it will fall by the wayside. What makes astounding astounding is it's brevity is it not? After a while, astounding is will probably turn into a ho-hum kind of thing. That's not a bad thing, it's how love works.
Still, every now and then I watch Katherine Hepburn and Henry Fonda in On Golden Pond and I imagine my man saying, "you wanna suck face?"
I hope I don't respond with something stupid like, "not right now, I've got dishes to do." And that's what I think feeling gobsmacked is all about. Stopping what you're doing at any given moment to smile about something your Sweetie said or did, to send an e-mail, or text that lets the other person know you're thinking about them, to lose yourself in dreams and what ifs, to enjoy the chemistry. To believe in fairy tales and happy endings.
If it's true, as stated by Amanda Cross, that "romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze," my hope and prayer for all of us is that we'll feel gobsmacked today by love.